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M1 Max vs RTX 3080 Laptop GPU: Apple SoC excels in synthetic benchmarks but flounders alongside the M1 Pro in gaming tests

The Apple M1 Max can easily keep up with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop GPU in synthetic benchmarks. (Image source: Apple/Nvidia - edited)
The Apple M1 Max can easily keep up with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop GPU in synthetic benchmarks. (Image source: Apple/Nvidia - edited)
The Apple M1 Pro and M1 Max SoCs have been thoroughly tested by AnandTech with some dramatic but also unsurprisingly familiar results. While the M1 Max rubbed shoulders with Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop GPU and AMD’s Radeon 6800M in synthetic benchmark testing, both it and the M1 Pro were left floundering in game tests.
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There seems to be little doubt that the new Apple M1 Pro and M1 Max are impressive processors that should have future MacBook Pro owners rubbing their hands with glee – especially if those future owners are graphic designers, content creators, or professionals who need a lot of compute performance. Those looking for a bit of casual gaming on the 2021 MacBook Pro laptops should also be well served with the integrated GPU options, but hardcore gamers should keep looking in the usual places for their particular computational fix.

Some very thorough early testing carried out by AnandTech has backed up a lot of the already leaked benchmarks concerning the M1 Pro and M1 Max. While synthetic benchmarks show the Apple Silicon, especially the M1 Max, in an extremely favorable light the same cannot be said for game tests. But Apple hasn’t designed the MacBook Pro 14 or MacBook Pro 16 for gaming, otherwise there would be much more RGB lighting on show, so there is that fact to keep in mind. Content creators and Mac professionals will see these results as magnificent while gamers and people who just don’t like Apple will see the results as proof that Apple Silicon is overrated.

The site sort of proved the claim that the Apple M1 Max can keep up with a powerful RTX 3080 Laptop GPU. In GFXBench 5.0 Aztec Ruins High1440p Offscreen, the M1 Pro performs quite well and is even ahead of an RTX 3060 Laptop GPU inside an Intel reference device (CPU: Core i9-11980HK). The M1 Max really shakes things up by overtaking AMD’s best in the form of the Radeon 6800M (CPU: Ryzen 9 5900HX; Asus ROG Strix G513QY) and coming very close to the RTX 3080 in the MSI GE76 Raider with i9-11980HK. The MacBook Pro 16 with M1 Max churns out 309.3 FPS compared to 315.0 FPS for the RTX 3080-based Raider.

GFX Bench results. (Image source: AnandTech)
GFX Bench results. (Image source: AnandTech)

But then AnandTech puts the 2021 Apple Silicon through some gaming tests: Shadow of the Tomb Raider (1920x1080; highest + TAA) and Borderlands 3 (1920x1080; DX12, badass). As can be seen in the images below, the M1 Max (MacBook Pro 16) and M1 Pro (MacBook Pro 14) join the M1 (Mac mini) at the bottom of the comparison pile. The RTX 3080 Laptop GPU is +64.71% and a shocking +138.10% faster, respectively, than the M1 Max in the above two games. Of course, there are numerous caveats to apply to this situation, not least that the M1 processors all require much less power than their greedy Nvidia and AMD rivals (potentially up to 100 W less).

Shadow of the Tomb Raider. (Image source: AnandTech)
Shadow of the Tomb Raider. (Image source: AnandTech)
Borderlands 3. (Image source: AnandTech)
Borderlands 3. (Image source: AnandTech)

The benchmarking course finishes on a high for the M1 Pro and M1 Max though, with a run on Adobe Premiere Pro via Puget Bench 0.95.1 once more reminding just how astonishing the latter chip is when it comes to productivity-based tasks. It scores 955 points in the standard test, with the source pointing out that 1,000 points “would match a high-end, RTX 3080-equipped desktop”. That's a desktop PC mentioned there, against the MacBook Pro 16 laptop. So when Apple states that the M1 Max offers “performance similar to that of the highest-end GPU in the largest PC laptops” it’s true. Sort of.

Order the Apple MacBook Pro 16 on Amazon

Adobe Premiere Pro. (Image source: AnandTech)
Adobe Premiere Pro. (Image source: AnandTech)

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Daniel R Deakin
Daniel R Deakin - Managing Editor News - 2496 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2012
My interest in technology began after I was presented with an Atari 800XL home computer in the mid-1980s. I especially enjoy writing about technological advances, compelling rumors, and intriguing tech-related leaks. I have a degree in International Relations and Strategic Studies and count my family, reading, writing, and travel as the main passions of my life. I have been with Notebookcheck since 2012.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 10 > M1 Max vs RTX 3080 Laptop GPU: Apple SoC excels in synthetic benchmarks but flounders alongside the M1 Pro in gaming tests
Daniel R Deakin, 2021-10-25 (Update: 2021-10-25)