Apple M1 Ultra gets flattened by GeForce RTX 3090 in synthetic and gaming benchmark comparison
There were likely plenty of wry smiles, especially from GeForce RTX 3090 board owners, when Apple recently produced an interesting graph for its M1 Ultra that showed how it slayed the Ampere alternative in relative performance. There’s no doubt at all that the Apple M1 Ultra is an astonishing chip that will definitely be a huge selling point for the new Mac Studio machine, but it seems unlikely anyone really expects the GPU part to offer RTX 3090-level and beyond performance. New tests produced by The Verge, backed-up by existing runs on Geekbench, confirm that Nvidia’s board is still top dog here.
The Mac Studio review from The Verge compared a 20-core M1 Ultra with 64 GPU cores against a desktop powered by the aforementioned RTX 3090 and an Intel Core i9-10900 (both systems had 64 GB RAM). Bearing in mind, Apple’s test system for its M1 Ultra performance graph actually featured a much-more powerful CPU with the Intel Core i9-12900K, although these tests are all about the GPU part anyway. Results recorded by the source were as follows:
|Test||GeForce RTX 3090||Apple M1 Ultra (20c/64c)||% advantage for RTX 3090|
|Geekbench 5 OpenCL||215,034 points||83,121 points||+158.7%|
|Geekbench 5 Metal||-||102,156 points||-|
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider @1080p||142 FPS||108 FPS||+31.48%|
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider @1440p||114 FPS||96 FPS||+18.75%|
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider @4K||-||60 FPS||-|
Data taken from The Verge's Mac Studio review
It’s not unsurprising that the Mac Studio with M1 Ultra falls behind in the frame-rate test, although the results are still more than impressive: 60 FPS @4K in Shadow of the Tomb Raider is not to be sniffed at. But the Apple silicon is trounced by the GeForce RTX 3090 in the OpenCL synthetic benchmark, and there are enough test entries on Geekbench now to show that this is not an outlier result.
Apple’s marketing text for the M1 Ultra comments in the notes that “performance was measured using select industry‑standard benchmarks”, and there is the fair argument that the new chip performs exceptionally well considering the much-lower power draw. But a little more transparency would go a long way in what seems to be a typical marketing maneuver in the tech world.