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Apple M1 MacBook vs PC Desktop Workstation for Adobe Creative Cloud

Written on November 17, 2020 by Matt Bach


Recently, Apple announced that it would be transitioning a number of their products from Intel processors to their own chips based on the ARM instruction set. This is very interesting for a number of reasons, but we (and many others) are interested first and foremost in what this will mean for performance.

Here at Puget Systems, we don't sell or even look at laptops all that often, but this is a big enough change that we are interested in doing some quick analysis ourselves. We are not set up for examining things like battery life, keyboard/screen quality, etc., however, so we are going to leave laptop vs laptop comparisons to other reviewers that are better equipped for those comparisons. What we will instead do is see how the new 13-inch MacBook Air and MacBook Pro compare to a number of PC desktop configurations to evaluate how the performance is relative to a desktop.

Apple M1 MacBook vs PC Desktop workstation

One thing to note is that we do not have pre-launch samples of the new Apple M1 MacBook Air or MacBook Pro, so these tests were not performed by Puget Systems. But, there have already been a number of results uploaded to our public benchmark database that we can use instead which removes the need for us to get in these laptops for direct testing (although we do have a MacBook Air coming in for benchmark development)

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Test Setup

Listed below are the specifications of the systems we will be using for our analysis:

MacBook Air
CPU Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU
Memory 16GB
Storage 512GB SSD
Price $1,449 [Configure]
MacBook Pro
CPU Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU
Memory 16GB
Storage 512GB SSD
Price $1,699 [Configure]
Puget Systems PC - AMD Ryzen 5800X
CPU AMD Ryzen 7 5800X
RAM 2x DDR4-3200 8GB (16GB total)
Storage 500GB SSD
Price ~$2,400 [Configure]
Puget Systems PC - AMD Ryzen 5950X
CPU AMD Ryzen 9 5800X
RAM 4x DDR4-3200 16GB (64GB total)
Storage 500GB SSD
Price $3,500 [Configure]

Obviously, this is not going to be a comparison based on similarly-priced configurations. Here at Puget Systems, we tend to start at mid-range options and go up from there, so we do not have anything at the sub-$2,000 price point to use. In addition, we have not moved all our internal testing over to the new Adobe application versions, so we are limited to the results in our public benchmark database that matches the benchmark/application versions used by whoever uploaded the MacBook results.

However, one thing we will also do is to provide the specs for a system that scored roughly the same as the new MacBooks. Our goal isn't to show that a PC or desktop is going to be faster than a MacBook (desktops will always be faster than a laptop), but rather to help provide context for how fast these new ARM-based MacBooks are with the current software that is available from Adobe compared to our current and past workstations.

Photoshop Performance Analysis

Full Benchmark Results: MacBook Air | MacBook Pro | 5800X Desktop | 5950X Desktop

Starting off with our PugetBench for Photoshop benchmark, our two desktop configurations are certainly faster (almost 2x faster in most cases), but for a mobile platform that is roughly half the cost, the new MacBooks hold up pretty well.

As for a desktop configuration that is roughly the same performance as these MacBooks, we found a couple that performed roughly in the same ballpark:

  • Overall Score: 716 | Specs: Intel Core i5 8600 w/ NVIDIA GTX 1060 [Full results]
  • Overall Score: 649 | Specs: Intel Core i7 6700k w/ NVIDIA GXT 1060 [Full results]

These systems are both fairly old now, with the Intel Core i7 6700K having launched back in 2015. In other words, it would be reasonable to expect that these Apple M1 MacBooks perform about on par with a decently configured desktop PC that is around 4-5 years old.

After Effects Performance Analysis

Full Benchmark Results: MacBook Air | MacBook Pro | 5800X Desktop | 5950X Desktop

Next up is the PugetBench for After Effects benchmark. Here, the desktop configurations take a larger lead, coming in at 2.1-2.3x the performance of the MacBook Air in particular. In addition to the higher performance from the Ryzen CPUs, the fact that the desktops have a discrete GPU also makes a big difference. In fact, the "GPU Score" is around 3.5x higher on the desktops which, considering GPU acceleration is becoming more and more widely used, is a very significant factor.

As for a desktop configuration that is roughly the same performance as these MacBooks, here are two that performed roughly in the same ballpark:

  • Overall Score: 671 | Specs: Intel Core i5 6600k w/ AMD R9 390 [Full results]
  • Overall Score: 730 | Specs: AMD Ryzen 7 1700 w/ NVIDIA GXT 1060 [Full results]

Once again, these systems are both fairly old now, with the Intel Core i7 6600K having launched back in 2015. The AMD system is a bit newer (~2017), but at that time Intel had a strong lead in applications like After Effects, so most Ae users would likely be using an Intel platform. That means that the new Apple M1 MacBooks again perform about on par with a decently configured desktop PC that is around 4-5 years old.

Premiere Pro Performance Analysis

Full Benchmark Results: MacBook Air | MacBook Pro | 5800X Desktop | 5950X Desktop

Last up is our PugetBench for Premiere Pro benchmark which has a bit more interesting results than the other two benchmarks. Not only is the "GPU Score" almost 5x higher on the desktops, but even exporting is around 4x higher. Our export tests includes exporting to ProRes as well as H.264 with the ProRes exports benefiting from the higher CPU power and the H.264 exports benefiting from having a discrete GPU.

Live playback is also much higher on the desktops, averaging around 2x the performance of the MacBooks. However, this is one test we intend to update since around half of the tests have become too "easy" for modern computers. If most configurations are able to play the media at full FPS, then there is no way to show relative performance between each configuration. If you instead only look at the more intensive multicam playback tests, the desktops are again about 4-5x faster than the MacBooks.

As for a desktop configuration that is roughly the same performance as these MacBooks, we found a number that performed roughly in the same ballpark:

  • Overall Score: 391 | Specs: Intel Core i7 7700 w/ NVIDIA GTX 1070 [Full results]
  • Overall Score: 531 | Specs: AMD Ryzen 7 1700 w/ NVIDIA GXT 1050 Ti [Full results]

It was actually difficult to find desktop results that were as low as the MacBooks (although there are plenty of laptops in the same range), but both of these CPUs were released in 2017. However, the Ryzen system, in particular, is significantly faster than the MacBooks, so it is likely that a decently configured desktop from 2016 would be in line with the new MacBooks. In other words, it would be reasonable to expect that these Apple M1 MacBooks perform about on par with a decently configured desktop PC that is around 3-4 years old.

Conclusion: Apple M1 MacBooks vs PC Desktop

From a performance standpoint, the new Apple M1 MacBooks do fairly well considering that they are using a complete processor based around the ARM instruction set and software that is likely not fully optimized yet. But compared to a typical desktop workstation from Puget Systems that is around 2-3x faster on average (albeit at a higher cost), they certainly can't keep up.

These units only cost around $1,500 as configured, however, so the fact that they are half the performance shouldn't be unexpected since they are also half the cost. What will be very interesting to see is how performance will shake out as Adobe improves support for native Apple Silicon and when (or if) Apple launches a higher-end laptop - or even better, a more powerful desktop variant than the Mac Mini.

Another way to look at it is that these new MacBooks (and presumably the Mac Mini) are roughly equivalent to a desktop that is around 4-5 years old. So if you have a PC from 2015 or 2016, be aware that these MacBooks likely won't be any faster. Comparing laptops to desktops in somewhat of an "apples to oranges" comparison since they are really different tools for different jobs, but if you are thinking about moving from a desktop to an Apple MacBook, hopefully, that provides a bit of context for what you can expect in terms of performance.

Overall, this move to ARM is very interesting, and something we are going to be keeping a close eye on. We have recently seen what can happen when two companies (AMD and Intel) are highly competitive, and throwing a third player into the mix should only be a good thing for both Mac and PC users.

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Tags: 5800X, 5950X, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, After Effects, Apple M1, MacBook
Matthias Walter

Hey Matt - thanks for the review - for me, the interesting part would be how Lightroom Classic performs on these devices. Any plans running through those benchmarks?
Best, Matthias

Posted on 2020-11-17 17:54:07

Unfortunately, Mac support for our Lightroom Classic benchmark probably isn't happening anytime soon. To get all the tests working on Windows, a LOT of it has to be done from an external automation utility, and with all the security "features" MacOS has, that kind of testing is prohibitively difficult to do. We have been trying to get the Adobe devs to add more native support in the plugin API for the things we want to test, but it is hard for them to dedicate the resources required when they already have so much other work going on (and most of it affecting vastly more of their end users).

Posted on 2020-11-17 18:20:35
Asaf Blasberg

Did you try DaVinci Resolve? They have a new version 17.1 optimized for the M1, as well as FCP 10.5 which is also now optimized for M1. I agree that it will definitely be VERY interesting to see the scores for *optimized* apps including Premiere Pro and Photoshop (since the ones you tested are non-optimized and is using Rosetta 2 emulation which I have no doubt slows them down a bit) and how much of this performance gap of 2x will Apple be able to close :) Thanks again for this great article!! :)

Posted on 2020-11-17 19:17:47
Matthias Walter

ok - no worries - understand. From a single core performance perspective I expect it to perform pretty well in the field - sifting through gfx 100 files is a pain on my surfacebook pro 2 ;-). Just ordered a Macbook Air fully loaded for my mobile work...

Posted on 2020-11-17 19:35:09

Keyboard Maestro on the Mac works fine in Big Sur and is Apple Silicon native. You should give that a try

Posted on 2020-11-25 18:48:04

Keystrokes, mouse move/click and even menu navigation we already have figured out. The problem is things like window/text detection, screen/pixel checksums, and the like. Being able to see what is on the screen and react to it is very difficult on MacOS without changing a ton of security settings and installing additional utilities. Both of which we really don't want to make people have to do since it can open up their system for exploits.

Posted on 2020-11-25 18:56:10

Check out Barefeats.com for the Lightroom Classic figures. They also show comparisons for the new universal (rather than translated) apps with hardware in the same category.

Posted on 2020-11-21 19:24:22

Took a look at their articles, and the only thing I am seeing is a Lightroom Classic test for "Enhance Image". I'm guessing that is actually the "Enhance Details" feature, which I honestly have never heard anyone say they use outside of when it was first released. It uses the GPU wayyy more than anything else in Lightroom, and has pretty much no bearing on performance in the tasks people do every day (import, export, culling, previews, adjustments, etc.).

Glad to see apps like Lightroom being tested more, but in this case I don't think it is a meaningful test of Lightroom performance.

Posted on 2020-11-23 17:54:31
Nic Ollis

Thanks for the great review, I really hope you guys dive into how the new M1 works in some ML workflows. I've seen some interesting reports about the floating point performance is better than Zen 3 but with the lack of Intel's MKL or AVX-512 how will it perform with simple data processing and other task? Clearily its not going to be able to beat a large data processing task on an intel chip or GPU. However, for simple data review before getting deep into a project I'm curious how a M1 performs.

Posted on 2020-11-17 19:07:19

Wow a very surprising result. A low-TDP laptop chip didn't beat AMD's power-hungry monster of a 16 core CPU?? Well Apple is rubbish, aren't they? The only option is to buy a big black box from Puget systems. Forget portability and the tradeoffs you make with a laptop! Just buy a 65 litre rucksack and you can take it anywhere.

Also no mention of the fact Creative Cloud currently runs under Rosetta 2?

Posted on 2020-11-17 19:23:30

someone didnt read the conclusion at all.

Posted on 2020-11-18 03:45:40

I-diot didn't even read the purpose of the review - to compare against desktops because this is a desktop focused website! Its also to counter all that marketing over-hype about how the M1 beats desktops when it really just matches 3-5 year old desktops!

But looks like these i-Stupids will get huge butthurt when they buy their M-whatever i-whatever to replace their old desktops ... only to find that its the same! Lol!

Posted on 2021-03-16 11:34:16

Tks for the tests, if you can, test again when they sw have native versions.

Posted on 2020-11-17 22:16:39

Thanks for the review. However I find it weird to compare MB air to higher end desktop PC with 5950x and 3080, and to say it’s on par with 5y.o laptop. Why not to compare to some modern laptop with mid range GPU? Or at least desktop system that has some mid range GPU/6-8 cores CPU. The performance of GTX 1070 is high, which M1 reaches in some tests, but the conclusion is confusing. And the fact that it runs it all with Rosetta 2 should be mentioned. It’s impressive that it can handle x86 pro apps, and you don’t say if it’s stable and if something doesn’t work.
Also, why not to include DaVinci resolve with both native and Rosetta tests? This would be nice indication.

Posted on 2020-11-18 10:39:23
Brian Seegmiller

Not only that but let's see how many streams of 4,5 or even 8K video you can play back with out any dropped frames.

Posted on 2020-12-01 15:50:50

Honestly, we probably aren't going to do anything more with these MacBooks. Heck, even these results are not ones we did ourselves; they were pulled from results published to our public benchmark database. We have one on the way, but that is more for benchmark development than performance testing.

In the end, we don't sell laptops, so we can't devote a lot of time to them since there is really no return on our investment. Our testing is all funded by workstation sales, and we don't make anything based on view count like other sites that make their money via ads. In this case, we were curious to see how the performance compared to a desktop for our own curiosity (and to cut through a lot of the hype from other sources), and figured it might help put the performance of these new ARM units in perspective for someone else as well.

Posted on 2020-12-01 17:05:34
Jose Ramos

The article is very useful for many people. Thanks for the time and effort in providing us with elements of judgment in computer hardware. One common belief of the general public (at least where I live) is that a laptop is better than a tower PC. A few days ago I was building a general use PC and the client’s wife said: “but, a laptop is better”. I had to explain her from a repair cost/performance/obsolescence point of view why the tower PC was better when you don’t need to use your computer away from home. Most photographers I know believe that an Apple laptop is way better than anything else for their work. I was giving a workshop in computer hardware for photography when a photographer said: “then is not good to use Apple for photography”. I was only beginning the workshop with the choice of monitor: P3 vs. sRGB/AdobeRGB and the photographer had already realized that a laptop is not the right tool. “No wonder my shots look too saturated compared to my clients when I look at them in the McBook instead of their computers”, was another comment. While some photographers may have some time to delete pictures after an assignment using a laptop editing is, more often than not, done after they come back from their photo session.

M.A. Educational computing
B.S. Computer Repair, Installation and Networks.
Diploma: Computer programming

Posted on 2020-12-03 06:59:51
Daniele Bernardini

I might be wrong but the above tests ran through Rosetta 2. A real test should compare native applications to native applications. Like with the upcoming Photoshop Beta.

Posted on 2020-11-18 11:35:05
Nathalie Esther Rodriguez

Unfortunately, AE, Premiere Pro, etc. (besides PS and LR) is rumored to come out mid-2021. I'm still doubtful about the RAM difference actually performing 'quicker' than a 32 or 64.

Posted on 2020-11-18 15:58:13
Daniele Bernardini

Agreed, but I don't buy a computer for the performance it will have in the next 2 months. The way this is presented is a bit misleading. Rosetta is not even mentioned in the article.

Posted on 2020-11-18 16:23:15

I find this article a bit bizarre... Is anyone truly asking the question about these machines will keep up with a high end desktop computer in export tasks? Sure - there is all the hype around the single core scores, but the frame of reference is so far removed from any real point of comparison.

Perhaps if you had at least included a recent 15" Intel Macbook Pro as comparison. My main desktop is what I crunch most of my rendering on pushing out 270fps for XOCN export, but my MBP will push out 50fps - which will do when I can't bring my main gear. If the new M1 can get near the existing Intel high end laptop numbers with the first CPU out of the door, and under x86 emulation no less, then I will finally start seeing this move from Apple as more than just a bit of competition. Everythinbg I am seeing so far makes this CPU look incredibly impressive. I'm just waiting for the frame of reference I properly understand.

Posted on 2020-11-18 14:42:04

This is an SoC (CPU+GPU+RAM) that tops out at ~25W. The CPU in the Air's M1 sucks 10W @ 3.0GHz and scales back to 7.5W @ 2.3GHz. And is being compared to CPUs that run under normal load at 105W. This is the point most people don't get. Apple isn't shooting for "highest performance", they are designing these for "highest performance per watt."

What I'd really like to see, is the M1 MacBook Air compared against other fanless PC Laptops.

Posted on 2020-11-24 19:49:20

3 months later, and these comparisons have been done a few times. But I happened to watch this yesterday, and happened to re-read this today, so here is a link to the M1 mini vs a fanless 5900x: https://www.youtube.com/wat...

Posted on 2021-03-02 17:55:44
House North

This was VERY helpful. Everyone is going to complain about the results and how you should compare it to this or that. However, lot of people trying to understand the M1 and how AE / PP are running Rosetta 2 vs high end windows builds. The title of the post couldn't be more accurate. Literally have been waiting for something like this since the 11th.


Posted on 2020-11-18 15:10:24
Nathalie Esther Rodriguez

Couldn't have said it any better! Would love a comparison between Mac Mini 2020 (2018 really), 3.2GHz 6‑core 8th‑generation Intel Core i7, 512 SSD, 32 RAM. I usually use Photoshop, Lightroom, After Effects, and Premiere. If anyone happens to have an answer or some sort of clue, let me know please!

Posted on 2020-11-18 16:02:48

Thank you for this. Has anyone done Davinci Resolve renders for fun yet?

Posted on 2020-11-18 21:01:37
Julien B. O.

I think Rosetta should at least be mentioned in the article. We will see improvements in the coming months, albeit obviously not enough to catch up with the desktops.

Posted on 2020-11-18 23:49:35

Seems very disingenuous to wait till the very end of the article to mention that the Macs are not running native software and are running through a translation layer, which puts them at huge disadvantage. When Adobe releases native ARM builds, folks should expect at least 30 to 50% performance increases from these numbers. I can't wait to see what the ARM chip in the 16-inch Macbook Pro offers, this is just the beginning! I look forward to future tests by Puget!

Posted on 2020-11-19 00:33:00

We definitely talk about that in the article multiple times in both the intro and conclusion. For example: "What will be very interesting to see is how performance will shake out as Adobe improves support for native Apple Silicon..."

Posted on 2020-11-19 01:39:15

You quoted from the end of the article, which I acknowledged. Where are the other times in the article where you mention this, I've re-read this twice and I can't find any other mention of this, especially in the intro. Even still, it's a very unclear way to communicate the huge disadvantage this software is at. Support for Apple Silicon is binary. Either they have re-compiled for ARM, or they haven't. "Improving" support doesn't really make sense in this context. Either they support the ARM instruction set or they don't, Adobe currently doesn't. The only reason these run at all is because Apple "improved support" for x86 apps, by effectively tricking them into running without requiring any support from the developers.

Posted on 2020-11-19 18:31:05
Jose Ramos

When people use a specific brand for the first time they often get emotionally attached to the particular make and their fidelity is fierce. But, who can tell a writer where to place anything so they can quickly feel a consolation about their beloved favorite product? If it is mentioned anywhere in the article is fair enough.

Posted on 2020-12-03 07:28:04

This is just a stupid article to begin with. No one's seriously considering throwing out their expensive workstation for a laptop or Mac mini. It's just not even remotely a sensical comparison. Obviously, the workstation will beat Apple's slowest, entry-level chip.

No one seriously thought the MacBook Air would beat the Ryzen 5950X in multi-core...

When they announced the chip, they made it very clear that this will be the slowest chip they make. Everything else will get faster from here. They still have the new 16" MacBook Pro, iMacs, and Mac Pro to announce over the next 2 years.

Posted on 2020-11-30 04:32:06

Looks like the Apple Silicon Build of Lightroom Classic just dropped today! Would be awesome to see a re-test!

Posted on 2021-06-08 23:08:06

While true, I believe Apples is making the claim even when using Rosetta 2 is still faster than in natively run applications using intel, which I found hard to believe.

Posted on 2020-11-23 12:25:01

It's been found to be true with some apps, but not all.

Posted on 2020-11-30 04:42:57
Shriganesh Bollakpalli

Hey, I just wanted to know how Apple managed to get more than 25k threads for just 8 cores in their GPU?

Posted on 2020-11-19 03:33:28

GPU architectures are different to CPU architectures in terms of what individual threads can do. In many cases, all the threads in a core are running the same instruction(s) at any given clock so the number of concurrent threads that can run is limited by the size of the register file. Read up on barrel processors if you want to know more -- the paradigm is used in other GPUs (such as Mali) as well as some older CPUs and things like Xeon Phi.

Posted on 2020-11-20 17:47:57

Obviously the PugetSystems model will be faster given the price and products included in it but I'm still impressed that this little machine, crippled by a non-native NLE and an onboard GPU even tracks against the PugetSystems machine. That's a helluva first impression. I'm curious to see how this shakes out for more powerful Macs in the future and how its ripples cause this kind of tech to filter out into the realm of AMD and Intel. Will we see ARM-like offerings from them in the future with similar SOC tech? The 21st century just arrived.

Posted on 2020-11-19 16:02:17

We were very impressed too! For a little 13" laptop (and fanless to boot on the MacBook Air) even this early performance is pretty darn good for what they are. I'm sure there will be some rough spots as Adobe and others move to native ARM support, but if nothing else hopefully this will make Apple a true third competitor in the CPU market. AMD competing (and beating) Intel is already a big win for consumers, and if Apple can apply pressure as well, that is good for everyone!

What I'm really curious to see is if Apple transitions any of their desktops like the iMac Pro or Mac Pro. My gut says that they are a long ways off from making their own processor that can keep up with the higher-end Intel and AMD CPUs (not to mention all the hardware acceleration we enjoy with GPUs, Quick Sync, etc.), but I hope they give it a shot!

Posted on 2020-11-19 18:23:46

I guess you don't follow Apple much. Not surprising for a company pushing PC workstations, I guess. (With most video editors using Macs.)

Apple said they will transition all Macs (including the pro desktops) to ARM over the next 2 years. And yes, the chips have hardware accelerated video encoding and decoding, and this has already been tested by others.

Posted on 2020-11-30 04:26:15

Apple recently released a tensorflow fork supporting hardware acceleration on macs. Based on other people's reports, intel's iGPU and AMD gpus seems to work. Would puget be testing machine learning benchmarks on the new macs?

Posted on 2020-11-20 00:04:13

I believe Dr Kinghorn was interested in doing some testing over in the HPC Blog https://www.pugetsystems.co... , but to be frank, it isn't a huge priority for us. We do have a MacBook Air on order (ETA... sometime in the future), but that is more for benchmark development work. He might borrow it for a day or two to see what he can get relatively quickly, but since Puget Systems doesn't sell Mac products (or laptops), it is really hard to justify spending more than a minimal amount of time on testing that isn't going to do much for generating workstation sales.

Posted on 2020-11-20 00:06:46
that isn't going to do much for generating workstation sales

So... why would anyone take your articles here as unbiased when you readily admit your only goal is to sell your computers?

Obviously, you'd never publish a test showing that something else beats the systems that you sell.

Posted on 2020-11-30 04:45:01
Barry Ferguson

I'm 4 months late but I'm loving how dense this dnywlsh kid is

Posted on 2021-04-07 20:07:23

Sorry you feel that way. He openly admitted that he isn't going to make the Mac look good because it won't help them sell workstations. The vast majority of editors use Macs. Maybe you'll listen to Linus Tech Tips. He's far from an Apple fanboy, and recommended the M1 Macs and was amazed with their performance and efficiency.

Posted on 2021-04-08 00:30:07

Please could you run this command in terminal:
sysctl -a | grep machdep.cpu.features
I really like what simd m1 has (SSE4.2, AVX1,AVX2,etc) , and what virtualization it has (VMX)

Its quite fast, but the no support for gfortran, or open source compiler yet. Intel compiler has not support Catalina, and next future.

I don't think M1 Will be won against high wattage desktop chip. For portability, it may fun and fast,but I don't think it will be beat a high end more core puget workstation.

By the way, could you run autodesk AutoCAD mac trial on that M1. I don't know how the bench autocad maybe some lisp will do.

Posted on 2020-11-20 18:46:52

We don't have one of the new MacBooks yet - these results are all pulled from our public database. We do have one on order, but no idea when it will actually arrive.

Posted on 2020-11-20 19:05:01

Davinci Resolve 17.1 native for M1 is up to beta 2. It can be found at https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/support/ under latest downloads.

The question I really have - which I hope you can answer - is, in terms of real life performance and not just benchmarks - what is the equivalent Nvidia/AMD GPU that compares to the performance of the M1's graphics performance.

Posted on 2020-11-21 03:44:58
Dustin Lee Bursley

Could you please test this versus a laptop with the same specs?
For instance a laptop with Ryzen 9 with a 3080 or a 2080?
Thanks for the benchmark work.
-Dustin Lee Bursley

Posted on 2020-11-23 18:05:09
Ace McLoud

The M1 Mac mini draws 20W under load, those other systems probably need several times that when idle, and 200W-400W under load.
Twice the performance with >10x power usage is a joke.

Posted on 2020-11-25 14:05:49

And an easy bake oven can reach more than half the temperature as a normal oven. Doesn't mean anyone is going to use it to cook Thanksgiving dinner. Just because something is cheaper or more efficient doesn't mean it has the power to handle real professional workflows.

Posted on 2020-11-25 17:05:22
Ace McLoud

No True Scotsman fallacy.

Posted on 2020-11-25 17:21:52

And yet, it gets the point across that power efficiency, lower cost, and many other factors don't matter if the performance isn't enough to let people get their work done efficiently. A bit more money to pay for the power draw difference is nothing compared to how much more work can be done with a PC.

Same with the overall cost - a few grand more upfront pays for itself extremely quickly in a production environment if it makes people more efficient and effective. Computers are relatively cheap compared to labor costs.

Posted on 2020-11-25 18:13:02
Ace McLoud

And there are many other "professional workflows" for which the PC Systems in the comparison are helplessly underpowered, so that argument gets you nowhere.

I was solely commenting on the shockingly bad power/performance ratio of those systems.

Posted on 2020-11-25 20:07:00

People are editing raw 8K footage on these systems without dropping frames. That's not a real professional workflow?

Show me an Intel integrated GPU that can do that.

Posted on 2020-11-30 04:46:46

More like 179 watts underload. But keep in mind that those desktop cpu where made with absolute performance in mind, we still don't know how a 16 core desktop apple silicon would behave. The people who are buying a 5950x (who cost nearly as much as a whole macbook) are not in the market for a macbook pro 13. It's going to be so much slower in 3d rendering, that the lower power cossumption is not going to be worth the time wasted. If you are only using photoshop sure, it's not that big of a deal.

Keep in mind that the 5950x got twice as many core (16 vs 8) as the 5800x but only consumme 4 more watts. And the adobe suite doesn't scale well with cores. If you do 3d rendering the 5950x is going to be twice as fast as the 5800x while only using 4 more watts. So it's not like AMD doesn't have a special sauce of their own .


Posted on 2020-11-27 07:34:07
Ace McLoud

Here's that system running under load, including the GPU:


400W. The GPU in the puget systems will draw 100W more.

That's 500W total, even worse than my rough earlier calculation.
Let's say the Mac mini draws 25W, these systems have 20x the power consumption. For 2-3x the performance.

Don't get me wrong, I fully appreciate the difference between those systems. The current M1 Macs lack many features you would want on a high end workstation, RAM and 10GE for example. There is no debate about the power and performance though.

Posted on 2020-11-27 10:21:43
Олег Малярчук

Hi, can you look how much of ram takes 16bit 50+mpx photos takes with photoshop? Thanks

Posted on 2020-12-01 12:58:44
Chris Miller

Thank you for this.. There's a bunch of YouTubers claiming these new M1 machines are crushing high end workstations, particularly in tasks like editing 8k RAW/Fusion footage in DaVinci, so these benchmarks are definitely enlightening, and surely disappointing to the iSheep... but what I am really waiting on is some proper testing on Resolve, specifically on its M1 optimized version, compared to a proper video editing workstation... if we believe anything we watch on YouTube, these little M1's are crushing high end workstations in Resolve. Puget, please include M1 Resolve in your next benchmark.

Posted on 2020-12-02 19:29:56
Ace McLoud

Can you link to any of those videos where the claim is made that a MacBook Air crushes "high end workstations"?

Posted on 2021-01-24 11:23:56

This is such a weird result as when I use any productivity app on even an older non M1 Mac - it runs super smooth but when I run it on my Fairly powerful gaming rig it runs pretty awful..

Real world experience seems to vastly differ from just some benchmark test numbers.

Posted on 2021-03-13 10:02:04
Taylor Wilkes

Are you planning on updating these tests now that Adobe software runs natively on the M1 chip and not through Rosetta? I would like to see new numbers since everyone and their brother seems to have claims of major performance increases. I'd like to see where the actual performance falls into line compared to desktop computers.

Posted on 2021-03-23 14:00:00

The issue is that most plugins (including our benchmarks) don't work on the native M1 app versions. Not sure if they ever will either, since Adobe is starting to move over to their new UXP API framework from the older CEP version. They might enable support for CEP plugins at some point in the future, or we might have to wait for UXP to be developed enough that we port over our benchmarks. At the moment, however, there are a number of critical features not present in the current iteration of UXP. Plus, that would only help for Photoshop since none of the other Adobe apps we test support UXP yet.

Until then, we would have to manually run all the tests, which frankly we can't justify the time investment to do.

Posted on 2021-03-23 16:36:45

Not to worry, Tom's Hardware just did it for you with PugetBench for Premiere Pro 0.95.1 and Premiere Pro 15.4.1, saving you the work. As I showed in the screenshot in my post above from today, the overall score for the M1 Max (1168) beats the 3080-equipped Alienware x17R1 (872) and 3060-equipped Zephyrus M16 (924) laptops, and about equals the 16-Core Ryzen 5950X/3080 Ti (1196) desktop.

Posted on 2021-10-23 06:01:40
Faizan Mostak

To be honest the M1 is still the first generation and the fact that they still pull some competition if this is what apple is making on there for generation god knows how well M1X will preform.

Posted on 2021-08-15 20:34:15

Peta Pixel used Puget Systems' older Beta v0.8 benchmark (because it still features the Photo Merge test) with a later version of Photoshop that has native support for Apple Silicon (https://petapixel.com/2021/.... With an M1 Mini (which performs very nearly the same as the M1 MacBook Pro) the score using native Photoshop was 47.3% higher than under Rosetta 2 (888.8 vs 603.4).

Extrapolating to Puget's above test, one would expect that, if you repeated it with native Photoshop, the M1 MBP's score would be 659 x 1.472 = 971. That's a score of 971 for an $1100 Mac Mini (16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD) desktop vs. 1070 for a $2400 Puget Systems desktop (Ryzen 5950X, 16 GB RAM, 500 GB SSD, RTX 3080). The RTX3080 is definitely far more powerful than the GPU in this low-end Mini. But that aside, doing the test apples-to-apples (native Photoshop for both the Mini and Puget Systems desktops) paints a far different picture than the one shown above.

If Apple releases a higher end (M1X) Mini, it will be interesting to see how it compares with the Puget Systems builds.

Posted on 2021-10-15 05:08:15

Eagerly awaiting the new tests among the M1 Pro and M1 Max CPU's with the varying GPU counts

Posted on 2021-10-19 06:27:00

Wow, the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips just came out and, at a minimum, doubled the CPU performance of these chips! That, coupled with the fact that these apps have now been recompiled for Apple Silicon, should mean that they beat your systems in most of these tests! Are y'all planning to do this again with the new Macbook Pros?

Posted on 2021-10-20 23:04:53

PugetBench for Premiere Pro 0.95.1 and Premiere Pro 15.4.1 for the M1 Max, run by Tom's Hardware on Oct. 22, 2021. The overall score for the M1 Max (1168) beats the 3080-equipped Alienware x17R1 (872) and 3060-equipped Zephyrus M16 (924) laptops, and about equals the 16-Core Ryzen 5950X/3080 Ti (1196) desktop.


Posted on 2021-10-23 05:58:01