Image: Apple

Benchmarks for Apple’s new M1 Pro- and M1 Max-equipped MacBook Pro models have begun surfacing from various tech outlets. One of the more comprehensive reports comes from AnandTech, which shared some benchmarks offering insight on how the new chips might handle modern games. The metrics reveal that even the more powerful M1 Max with up to 32-core GPU has trouble coming anywhere close to NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3080 laptop GPU in games such as Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Borderlands 3, although that might not be shocking considering they’re x86 titles. Other tests such as the GFXBench 5.0 Aztec Ruins benchmark suggest that Apple may not have been exaggerating with its claim of the M1 Max offering graphics performance “comparable to that in a high-end compact PC pro laptop.”

AnandTech on Shadow of the Tomb Raider:

Image: AnandTech
Image: AnandTech

[…] the M1 Max in particular is CPU limited at 1080p; the x86-to-Arm translation via Rosetta is not free, and even though Apple’s CPU cores are quite powerful, they’re hitting CPU limitations here. We have to go to 4K just to help the M1 Max fully stretch its legs. Even then the 16-inch MacBook Pro is well off the 6800M. Though we’re definitely GPU-bound at this point, as reported by both the game itself, and demonstrated by the 2x performance scaling from the M1 Pro to the M1 Max.

AnandTech on Borderlands 3:

Image: AnandTech
Image: AnandTech

[…] Borderlands 3 ends up being even worse for the M1 chips than Shadow of the Tomb Raider. The game seems to be GPU-bound at 4K, so it’s not a case of an obvious CPU bottleneck. And truthfully, I don’t enough about the porting work that went into the Mac version to say whether it’s even a good port to begin with. So I’m hesitant to lay this all on the GPU, especially when the M1 Max trails the RTX 3080 by over 50%. Still, if you’re expecting to get your Claptrap fix on an Apple laptop, a 2021 MacBook Pro may not be the best choice.

Apple announced its M1 Pro and M1 Max chips last week, noting that they were the most powerful chips that the company had every built. The M1 Max features 10 CPU cores, up to 32 GPU cores, and up to 64 GB of unified memory.

Source: AnandTech

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4 Comments

  1. Well, I can’t think of any native M1 games that aren’t just iOS mobile ports. All of the "OS X" stuff on Steam that is running, is running via x86 emulation.. and even beyond that, many OS X games were created as just a DX -> Metal wrapper similar to Wine: CrossOver comes to mind.

    So I would fully expect even if the M1 had a 3080 GPU native, it would still lag behind significantly in this test.

    OS X isn’t a gaming platform, and hasn’t been billed as such since Microsoft bought Bungie. iOS is Apple’s gaming platform.

  2. I remember seeing a story recently that Steam is/will be running natively on M1 soon without Rosetta. Don’t hold me to that, I skimmed it pretty quick.
  3. I remember seeing a story recently that Steam is/will be running natively on M1 soon without Rosetta. Don’t hold me to that, I skimmed it pretty quick.

    Hmm maybe. But I don’t think it would take much to re-compile Steam: a good bit of it is just a HTML wrapper and some OS calls for file management. There are things like the streaming server/client that could benefit a good deal… but that stuff works pretty well even in emulation right now. I use Steam Link all the time on my MBP.

    That, and just because Steam is native doesn’t mean any of the Games will go native.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for things going native. I often buy games that have native OS X ports just to support the platform. But honestly, OS X is so far behind the gaming scene that it’s a lost cause. Linux has pulled ~way~ ahead of OS X, and now that OS X has gone ARM; unless Windows starts going ARM as well in a very big way (which I don’t think it will apart from some ultra-mobile devices), it’ll just fall even further behind than it already has.

    Apple may as well just allow native running of iOS apps and call it good. They kinda sorta had it for a bit and then pared it back.

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