The M1 Ultra is faster than the GeForce RTX 3090, says Apple. Not by mistake, tests show

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When Apple introduced its M1 Ultra twin chips earlier this month, it promised the performance of today’s fastest graphics at one-third consumption. The chart boasted that the M1 Ultra would be even more powerful than the GeForce RTX 3090, but while Apple needed about 100 watts of power, the Nvidia card went over 300 watts.

At the end of last week, the first reviews of the top configuration of Mac Studio began to be published, and the apple company’s claims were refuted. We summarize several different results in the table for clarity. It is a mix of computer and game tests.

M1 Ultra tests focused on GPU
Test M1 Ultra RTX 3090 Performance
Geekbench 5 GPU 102 156 points 215 034 points 48% The Verge
Shadow of the Tomb Raider 4K 125 fps 142 fps 88% The Verge
Total War: Warhammer II 108 fps 167 fps 65% Gizmodo
Pugetbench GPU 118 points 181 points 65% Petapixel
Blender Bench 1081 points 5710 points 19% Blender

Unfortunately, there are not many reviews that would compare both GPUs; after all, we will not find so many universal benchmarks on the market that would be able to measure differences between different platforms universally and reliably. However, these results show that the M1 Ultra achieves at best 88% of the performance of the RTX 3090 in one game test. Which is paradoxical, because no one will buy Mac Studio games.

In Geekbench’s GPU calculations, the M1 Ultra had only a half score, and in Blender’s 3D rendering, only a fifth. It is possible that the programs are not well optimized for the M1 Ultra, however, M1 chips have been on the market for two years and the Ultra model does not require any special care.

Click for larger imageApple’s chart is confusing in itself, but it also lies

So where does Apple’s words that the M1 Ultra equals the RTX 3090 come from? We don’t know. In any case, the difference is already in theoretical performance. Nvidia says its best card handles up to 36 TFLOPs with FP32 accuracy. Apple lists 21 TFLOPs on its top model, so it can handle 58% of what it rivals on paper. Paper values ​​comparing a number of floating point calculations usually say nothing about real performance, but here they are close to what the testers have measured in practice.

The M1 Ultra could theoretically surpass the RTX 3090. We don’t have proof of that yet, but if a job requires more than 24 GB of video memory (GeForce limit), Apple can benefit from using 64 or more shared memory with the CPU. 128 GB. Mac Studio will also have a big edge when working with video, but it has special accelerators for this, so it’s not a comparison of GPU performance.

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