Big surprise, Apple’s new M1 Ultra isn’t really faster than an RTX 3090

When Apple announced the latest spin of its M1 silicon, the M1 Ultra, promised that the graphics performance of the integrated GPU was the best in the world. Even faster than the best desktop silicon, the Nvidia RTX 3090, not less. Now that select stores have had a chance to play with the M1 Ultra, which can be found in the new Mac Studio, it’s no surprise to learn that the performance isn’t as good as Apple claimed.

Verge has rated the new Mac Studiowhich comes on the M1 Ultra and M1 Max spins, in various tests and found that it is indeed slower, particularly when it comes to gaming.

Running the new Mac Studio (Ultra) on an RTX 3090 machine, the PC averaged 142fps versus the Mac’s 108fps. Meanwhile, the M1 Max managed an average of 86fps. They are not bad frame rates for the new chips, but spin as you like, they just aren’t faster.

Same goes for the Geekbench 5 Compute test, which has Mac Studio (Ultra) hitting 83,121 using OpenCL versus 215,034 for the RTX 3090. Things get a little better for Apple if they use the Metal driver instead of OpenCL, but only up to 102,156 , which is still less than half of the RTX 3090.

It’s fair to say that Apple’s new top chip uses less power than a full desktop PC with an RTX 3090, but as always, that’s only part of the story. The new M1 Ultra is definitely doing an impressive job for the power it consumes, but it’s not faster.

As the Verge continues to suggest in his full review of the new Mac Studioit’s the Max version of the chip, which doesn’t fuse two cores, which actually represents the best value even for more Apple-centric apps.

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(Image credit: Apple)
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Apple M1 Ultra System-on-chip CPU performance chart

(Image credit: Apple)

It’s great to see Apple moving forward in CPU design and offering a real alternative to traditional x86 architecture and, yes, delivering great performance per Watt in the process. But it needs to calm down on the promises of its silicon, especially when it comes to the performance of its graphics cores.

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