M1 Max vs Nvidia RTX 3080 comparison shows Apple lags in gaming benchmarks

AnandTech recently did a detailed rundown of the new M1 Max and M1 Pro chips, and it included an M1 Max vs Nvidia RTX 3080 comparison in gaming benchmarks. The RTX 3080 in this comparison was part of an MSI GE76 laptop, and in gaming comparisons, it left the M1 Max and M1 Pro in dust.

Even though the GPUs in M1 Max and M1 Pro chips perform very well when it comes to productivity and content creation use cases, and compete against the best of the best, the overall package that macOS and MacBook Pro offer does not compare very well against gaming machines.

Apple M1 Pro M1 Max

Gaming on M1 Max vs M1 Pro vs Nvidia RTX 3080 vs AMD 6800M

AnandTech first compared the GPU in M1 Max against the Nvidia 3080L using GFXBench 5.0 Aztec, and the numbers were very similar.

M1 Max vs 3080 As per the benchmarks, 3080 scored 315, while the M1 Max chip scored 309.3. This is the first time that Apple has put out anything that competes against discrete GPUs, and it is mighty impressive.

However, things take a major turn when it comes to gaming. AnandTech used Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Borderlands 3, both of which are x86 games, and use Rosetta translation layer to run on macOS. While Shadow of the Tomb Raider was playable at the highest quality at respectable frames, Borderlands 3 was almost unplayable on the M1 Pro.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider averages 140fps on 3080L, while it averaged 85fps on M1 Max and 47fps on M1 Pro. This shows that the 32 core GPU in M1 Max provides almost double the performance of the M1 Pro.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider Borderlands 3 M1 Max M1 Pro 3080

When it comes to Borderlands 3, the performance was less than ideal. At badass settings rendered at 1080p, Nvidia RTX 3080L scored 100fps, AMD 6800M scored 75fps, while M1 Max averaged just 42fps, and M1 Pro averaged 26fps.

Borderlands 3 M1 Max M1 Pro 3080

This could be attributed to poor optimization for the Borderlands 3 port for macOS. However, when you put into perspective the state of AAA games on macOS, both Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Borderlands 3 show that you should not expect any miracles. If you are into PC gaming, a Windows machine is still the way to go.

Unlike the M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro announcement, Apple did not showcase gaming performance during the M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pro launch event. The primary comparisons were around benchmarks, video editing, and code compilation performance, so Apple does not seem to be in any mood to let developers and users take advantage of all this raw performance when it comes to AAA games. Perhaps things might change at WWDC 2022.

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