CPU ST Performance: Not Much Change from M1

Apple didn’t talk much about core performance of the new M1 Pro and Max, and this is likely because it hasn’t really changed all that much compared to the M1. We’re still seeing the same Firestrom performance cores, and they’re still clocked at 3.23GHz. The new chip has more caches, and more DRAM bandwidth, but under ST scenarios we’re not expecting large differences.

When we first tested the M1 last year, we had compiled SPEC under Apple’s Xcode compiler, and we lacked a Fortran compiler. We’ve moved onto a vanilla LLVM11 toolchain and making use of GFortran (GCC11) for the numbers published here, allowing us more apple-to-apples comparisons. The figures don’t change much for the C/C++ workloads, but we get a more complete set of figures for the suite due to the Fortran workloads. We keep flags very simple at just “-Ofast” and nothing else.

SPECint2017 Rate-1 Estimated Scores

In SPECint2017, the differences to the M1 are small. 523.xalancbmk is showcasing a large performance improvement, however I don’t think this is due to changes on the chip, but rather a change in Apple’s memory allocator in macOS 12. Unfortunately, we no longer have an M1 device available to us, so these are still older figures from earlier in the year on macOS 11.

Against the competition, the M1 Max either has a significant performance lead, or is able to at least reach parity with the best AMD and Intel have to offer. The chip however doesn’t change the landscape all too much.

SPECfp2017 Rate-1 Estimated Scores

SPECfp2017 also doesn’t change dramatically, 549.fotonik3d does score quite a bit better than the M1, which could be tied to the more available DRAM bandwidth as this workloads puts extreme stress on the memory subsystem, but otherwise the scores change quite little compared to the M1, which is still on average quite ahead of the laptop competition.

SPEC2017 Rate-1 Estimated Total

The M1 Max lands as the top performing laptop chip in SPECint2017, just shy of being the best CPU overall which still goes to the 5950X, but is able to take and maintain the crown from the M1 in the FP suite.

Overall, the new M1 Max doesn’t deliver any large surprises on single-threaded performance metrics, which is also something we didn’t expect the chip to achieve.

Power Behaviour: No Real TDP, but Wide Range CPU MT Performance: A Real Monster


View All Comments

  • Hrunga_Zmuda - Monday, October 25, 2021 - link

    Everything you just wrote is wrong.

    The Maxed out computer in in the 6K range. They start at $1999, quite in range of gaming machines from MSI and others. (And they are faster than the fastest MSIs.)

    Barely any sales? They are the #3 computer maker in the world. And they are growing way faster than the competition.

    Such thinking was legitimate 10 - 20 years ago. But not any longer.
  • sirmo - Monday, October 25, 2021 - link

    The full M1 Max starts at $3099 that's on the 14" model. On the 16" model it's $3499. Reply
  • valuearb - Tuesday, October 26, 2021 - link

    14 inch MBP w/M1 Max & 32 Gb RAM, 512Gb SSD is $2,899. Reply
  • nico_mach - Tuesday, October 26, 2021 - link

    I think they overstated it, but it's a legitimate concern.
    Most gaming PCs are less than $2k. We can assume that Apple will release more Mac Minis, which would be cheaper than these, but will they be powerful enough? Will they support multiple monitors well? These are open questions. Apple clearly has different priorities and it seems that they don't want to court gamers/game publishers at all anymore.

    Also, if you compare benchmarks, there are places where AMD is very close simply from being on the most recent TSMC production line. They have a huge competitive advantage now: Intel fell behind, AMD is not well capitalized and fab space is very limited. They are on the top of their game, but also a little lucky. That won't last forever.

    Though with MS having their heads in the clouds, it might last forever. The pandemic could be a last gasp of sorts, even if gamers don't want to give up our PCs. Just look at those prices and new efficiency regulations.
  • sharath.naik - Monday, October 25, 2021 - link

    There is also the big elephant in the room.. Soldered SSDs .. every MAC has a shelf life of 3000 writes. I donot see how spending 4000$ on a laptop that dies after a fixed number of data writes is sensible choice to any one. Reply
  • valuearb - Tuesday, October 26, 2021 - link

    That’s a myth. Reply
  • yetanotherhuman - Tuesday, October 26, 2021 - link

    3000 writes, full drive writes maybe. It's certainly not a myth that SSDs die. They die. If they're soldered, they're taking everything with it. That's not misleading at all. Reply
  • web2dot0 - Tuesday, October 26, 2021 - link

    You know what’s a myth. SSD dying. Can’t you tell me the last time a SSD died on you?

    Every single ssd I’ve owned still works perfectly to this day.

    Hard drives? They have died on me.
  • Oxford Guy - Friday, October 29, 2021 - link

    'Can’t you tell me the last time a SSD died on you?'

    I have a stack of dead OCZ drives.

    I had an Intel that had the file corruption bug. It was eventually patched.
  • flyingpants265 - Sunday, October 31, 2021 - link

    Are you simple? SSDs absolutely die. Every single one of them will die after enough writes. Some will even die after only like 100TB of writes which is just filling the drive 100 times. Reply

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