Apple's M1 Max bests AMD Radeon Pro W6900X in Affinity GPU benchmark

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MacBook Pros, fastest GPU, Mac Pro, Apple Silicon, in-depth assessment, M1's

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Apple’s top-of-the-line M1 Max, which powers the company’s new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros, outperforms AMD’s $6,000 W6900X discrete GPU at some tasks in the Affinity Photo benchmark.

According to Andy Somerfield, lead Affinity Photo developer, the M1 Max is the fastest GPU he has evaluated using the benchmarking suite. The integrated graphics solution topped scores put in by AMD’s W6900X, a 300-watt card that was tested as equipped in a 12-core Mac Pro.

In a multi-day Twitter thread, Somerfield chronicled Serif’s development of GPU compute support for Affinity, photo editing software that has grown from a desktop tool to a powerful mobile editing app. Specifically, Serif saw promise in early Apple Silicon designs on iPad, which for the first time allowed the app to tap the GPU for certain processes.

Somerfield says Apple’s latest chip, M1 Max, ticks the three boxes that make a GPU “ideal” for Affinity: high compute performance, fast on-chip bandwidth, fast transfer on and off the GPU. M1 Max’s compute performance and data transfer rates are especially well suited for Affinity Photo, making MacBook Pro a good choice for users of the app.

“The #M1Max is the fastest GPU we have ever measured in the @affinitybyserif Photo benchmark. It outperforms the W6900X – a $6000, 300W desktop part – because it has immense compute performance, immense on-chip bandwidth and immediate transfer of data on and off the GPU (UMA),” Somerfield said in a tweet Monday.

While not specified, the developer is believed to be referencing an M1 Max with 32-core GPU, Apple’s most performant specification.

As noted by 9to5Mac, which spotted Somerfield’s post, the W6900X comes equipped with 32GB of GDDR6 memory capable of 512GB/s data transfers.

In addition to outstanding GPU performance, M1 Max put in the highest “Vector (Multi CPU)” score, a metric important for Affinity Designer. The chip also put in a top score in Affinity’s “Combined (Single GPU)” test, which evaluates silicon suitable for Affinity Publisher.

The results offer a glimpse into the potential of M1 Max, which is becoming increasingly clear as more publications get their hands on the new hardware. Earlier today, AnandTech published an in-depth assessment of both chips, finding that the new designs build on M1’s foundation to deliver impressive real-world improvements ideal for professional tasks.

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