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Dell XPS 17 9710 with RTX 3060 Laptop GPU shows Geekbench OpenCL supremacy over M1 Max-powered Apple MacBook Pro 16, but Apple silicon still has the efficiency advantage

Apple M1 Max uses a 32-core GPU that can compete with current top-end Nvidia laptop GPUs depending on the workflow. (Image Source: Apple)
Apple M1 Max uses a 32-core GPU that can compete with current top-end Nvidia laptop GPUs depending on the workflow. (Image Source: Apple)
Several Geekbench OpenCL listings of new M1 Max-powered Apple MacBook Pros are now available. In one such comparison with a Dell XPS 17 9710 laptop powered by the Core i7-11800H and an RTX 3060 Laptop GPU, the RTX 3060 seems to have a 51% advantage over Apple's offering. However, Apple's implementation is able to achieve the present score at a much lower power consumption compared to the XPS 17 9710.

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Apple's recently announced MacBook Pro 14 and MacBook Pro 16 have begun shipping, and it is likely that several testers may have got their devices already gauging by the steady number of benchmarks we've been seeing of late. The Geekbench database, too, is being steadily populated with several M1 Max compute scores

These scores make for some interesting comparisons. In this case, we have a face-off between a Dell XPS 17 9710 featuring a Core i7-11800H and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU and a MacBook Pro 16 with the M1 Max SoC. According to the listing, the M1 Max appears to be sporting 64 GB of unified memory, 10 CPU cores, and 32 compute units.

Comparison of OpenCL performance between these two systems shows the Nvidia RTX 3060 Laptop in the XPS 17 9710 to be 51.3% faster than the M1 Max's GPU in the Geekbench 5.4 OpenCL benchmark.

Previously, we had seen the M1 Max just inching past the RTX 3060 Laptop in GFXBench, though we were not exactly sure which TGP variant of the Nvidia card was actually used in that test. In that article, we had noted that the advantages of these GPUs can vary depending on the exact workflow. That is exactly what seems to be happening here. 

Geekbench reports the number of compute units in the M1 Max as 32. Now, there is no standardized definition for what a core and compute unit are when it comes to GPUs and Geekbench's use of the term "compute unit" here may actually refer to the core count that Apple is alluding to in the specs.

That being said, we do know for a fact that an M1 SoC's core is made of 16 execution units with eight compute units each. So, a 32-core M1 Max will have 32*16*8 = 4,096 streaming multiprocessors (SM). In the case of the RTX 3060 Laptop GPU, the 30 compute units translate to 3,840 SMs.

SM count alone does not translate to real-world benefits. GPUs are incredibly complex pieces of silicon, so a GPU with a lower SM count may perform poor in one test and excel in another. Irrespective of performance numbers, the take home message here is how Apple has managed to scale performance and efficiency in a manner that's previously unheard of before.

While compute performance may give a very superficial overview as to what to expect from the chip, the only way to assess true performance is to subject it to a bevy of benchmarks, which is something that we look forward to doing in the coming weeks.

Pre-order the Apple MacBook Pro 16 with M1 Pro SoC on Amazon

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Dell XPS 17 9710 RTX 3060 Laptop vs. Apple MacBook Pro 16 M1 Max in Geekbench 5 OpenCL. (Source: Geekbench)
Dell XPS 17 9710 RTX 3060 Laptop vs. Apple MacBook Pro 16 M1 Max in Geekbench 5 OpenCL. (Source: Geekbench)

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Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam - Managing Editor - 1503 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2012
Though a cell and molecular biologist by training, I have been drawn towards computers from a very young age ever since I got my first PC in 1998. My passion for technology grew quite exponentially with the times, and it has been an incredible experience from being a much solicited source for tech advice and troubleshooting among family and friends to joining Notebookcheck in 2017 as a professional tech journalist. Now, I am a Lead Editor at Notebookcheck covering news and reviews encompassing a wide gamut of the technology landscape for Indian and global audiences. When I am not hunting for the next big story or taking complex measurements for reviews, you can find me unwinding to a nice read, listening to some soulful music, or trying out a new game.
contact me via: @Geeky_Vaidy
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 10 > Dell XPS 17 9710 with RTX 3060 Laptop GPU shows Geekbench OpenCL supremacy over M1 Max-powered Apple MacBook Pro 16, but Apple silicon still has the efficiency advantage
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2021-10-22 (Update: 2021-10-22)