We’ve now tested every version of Apple’s M1 processor, from the first M1 chip in the 13-inch Macbook Pro all the way up to the M1 Ultra in the new Mac Studio, and the chip’s performance scaling is incredible. The M1 Ultra fuses two M1 Max chips together to give you a processor with 20 CPU cores and 64 GPU cores, and up to 128GB of RAM, it’s one of the fastest processors we’ve tested .
We asked what tests you’d like to run on the M1 Ultra, and we’ve collected a pretty extensive list, including machine learning tests like Adobe Lightroom and Premiere Pro, Davinci Resolve and Fusion, 3D modeling in Blender, TensorFlow, and Pytorch , and even some games.
Surprisingly, the M1 Ultra does appear to be about twice as fast as the M1 Max in most applications. How much overhead is required to shuffle data around such a large chip, it rarely affects CPU performance. GPU scaling doesn’t perform that well. Typically 40-80% faster than the M1 Max, the M1 Ultra is still fast, but not as impressive as the CPU when it comes to scaling.
The M1 Ultra performs best when its hardware accelerator can kick in. These are the parts of the chip that are built to accelerate specific tasks, namely video rendering and AI processing. In one test processing ten 8K video clips, the M1 Ultra did the job in just 29 seconds with its accelerator able to help. Although it has a 16-core AMD 5950X processor and an Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti graphics card, it’s about twice as fast as the PC we tested.
Apple’s M1 ecosystem does feel unfinished at times. There are more weird bugs than I expected, and software compatibility is still an issue, but it’s improving rapidly. The M1 Ultra wasn’t always faster than my PC, but it was two or three times faster in some tests, and there were only a few cases where it was significantly slower. If you use Apple and need a high-end desktop, there’s really no decision, and for anyone else looking for a workstation, the M1 Ultra Mac Studio is a serious contender.
Check out the video above for the full details of our testing.
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