Apple’s M1 chip features the fastest integrated graphics, as per the company, and the latest benchmarks show this claim to hold up against Nvidia’s GeForce 1050 Ti discrete graphics card. M1 outperforms budget discrete GPUs from both Nvidia and AMD, however, this does not actually mean much when it comes to real-world performance.
M1 chip beats old discrete graphics cards and water is wet
Apple’s new unified memory architecture in M1 chip allows for data in memory to be utilized by the CPU, GPU, and other coprocessors, without requiring any copying. This allows all systems on the chip to access the same fast memory and removes a number of bottlenecks. This, along with an 8-core design, ability to execute 25,000 concurrent threads, and perhaps more features which we do not know much about yet, contribute to the fast 2.6 TFLOPs performance.
As per GFXBench 5.0 results, this puts it ahead of discrete budget graphics cards from a few years ago, such as Nvidia GeForce 1050 Ti, and AMD Radeon RX 560. Tom’s Hardware spotted this first and shared the scores for Aztech, Manhattan, driver overhead, and other benchmarks, as following:
Tom’s Hardware labeled this as M1 chip shredding the competition, however, we respectfully disagree with this exaggerated claim. These benchmarks only compare the graphics chips with Metal API performance, and there’s a possibility that any other graphics API might put M1 in a bad light. Metal is highly optimized by Apple for its own hardware and operating system. Another issue with this comparison is that it puts the M1, an integrated chip, head-to-head with budget graphics cards from many years ago, which does not really hold up well. Even Intel’s latest integrated graphics chips would hold up better against older budget graphics cards.
Lastly, despite a service like Apple Arcade, Macs have historically provided the poorest gaming performance possible. You can play the same game on Windows on an Intel Mac, using Bootcamp, and you will get better framerates and performance. The same game will have considerably worse performance when played on macOS. It is certain that even macOS Big Sur would not sort this issue as Apple’s focus has never been on Mac gaming, even though it advertises games on the Mac App Store, and even mentioned them in its M1 Mac keynote.
Apple has started shipping its new M1 MacBooks to customers today, and they are also available for pick-up from Apple Stores. We are likely to see detailed reviews show up later today which would shed more light on performance and technical information about the chips that Apple has not shared, such as wattage, and more.