Faced with Macs with dedicated cards, the GPU of the Apple M1 is not ridiculous to play

We have seen several benchmarks of the CPU built into the Apple M1, Apple’s new chip for Apple Silicon Macs, but less of the eight-core GPU it integrates. Like the noted a reader during the weekend, however, we find the results of performance measurements carried out with the app GFXBench Metal, specializing in the evaluation of the 3D capabilities of a device, with a focus on games.

These measures, also relayed through Tom’s Hardware are visible at this address. They don’t say anything about which games will or won’t be compatible, but they are useful for comparing the Apple M1 to other machines. Here is how the GPU of the new Apple Silicon Macs compares to the older Intel Macs they will replace:

GFXBench test results with Metal, the Apple API, on a Mac with Apple M1 (blue) and on three latest generation Intel Macs. All tests are in ” offscreen », Which means that they do not depend on the definition of the screen (figures in images per second).

The graphics are clear: Apple’s GPU leaves far behind the graphics chips integrated into Intel processors that the manufacturer had previously used on its entry-level Macs. It makes sense, Apple’s new chip has been designed specifically to tackle GPUs integrated into processors and do much better than them. It’s even supposedly the fastest integrated GPU in the world, according to the manufacturer.

But what is the Apple M1 worth compared to a dedicated graphics card? To find out, we compared these results to the 16in MacBook Pro and 27in iMac, each time from the most recent generation, each time with their base GPU. It is almost the same, an AMD Radeon Pro 5300 in mobile version for the laptop and “standard” for the iMac, which explains the difference in performance between the two devices.

GFXBench Metal test results for Apple M1 (blue) and two Macs with dedicated graphics card (figures in frames per second).

This time, the Apple M1 gives way and finds itself behind the two Macs. But the gap is not as big as one might have feared. Compared to the 16-inch MacBook Pro, Apple’s GPU does between 4 and 12% worse according to the tests. In games, we can therefore expect fairly close performance compared to this laptop, but the iMac with its non-mobile card widens the gap and displays around 33 points of difference on each test.

It is undeniably less good, but we must also remember that the Apple M1 does not try to compete with dedicated GPUs. It’s an entry-level chip that consumes very little – we’re talking about a 10W TDP for the entire chip, CPU, GPU and all of its other components included – and it’s not that far away that of the dedicated graphics chip supplied by default with 16-inch MacBook Pros. When we know that it displays a TDP of 50 W and that it has 4 GB of dedicated memory, this puts the scores obtained by the Apple M1 into perspective.

This is already a very good result and the manufacturer should have in his laboratories a more powerful model capable of competing with dedicated GPUs. We can’t wait to see what it could be …

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