Benchmarks: Whatever Is Available

As we’ve had very little time with the Mac mini, and the fact that this not only is a macOS system, but a new Arm64-based macOS system, our usual benchmark choices that we tend to use aren’t really available to us. We’ve made due with a assortment of available tests at the time of the launch to give us a rough idea of the performance:

CineBench R23 Single Thread

One particular benchmark that sees the first light of day on macOS as well as Apple Silicon is Cinebench. In this first-time view of the popular Cinema4D based benchmark, we see the Apple M1 toe-to-toe with the best-performing x86 CPUs on the market, vastly outperforming past Apple iterations of Intel silicon. The M1 here loses out to Zen3 and Tiger Lake CPUs, which still seem to have an advantage, although we’re not sure of the microarchitectural characteristics of the new benchmark.

What’s notable is the performance of the Rosetta2 run of the benchmark when in x86 mode, which is not only able to keep up with past Mac iterations but still also beat them.

CineBench R23 Multi-Threaded

In the multi-threaded R23 runs, the M1 absolutely dominates past Macs with similar low-power CPUs. Just as of note, we’re trying to gather more data on other systems as we have access to them, and expand the graph in further updates of the article past publishing.

Speedometer 2.0

In browser-benchmarks we’ve known Apple’s CPUs to very much dominate across the landscape, but there were doubts as to whether this was due to the CPUs themselves in the iPhone or rather just the browsers and browser engines. Now running on macOS and desktop Safari, being able to compare data to other Intel Mac systems, we can come to the conclusion that the performance advantage is due to Apple’s CPU designs.

Web-browsing performance seems to be an extremely high priority for Apple’s CPU, and this makes sense as it’s the killer workload for mobile SoCs and the workload that one uses the most in everyday life.

Geekbench 5 Single Thread

In Geekbench 5, the M1 does again extremely well as it actually takes the lead in our performance figures. Even when running in x86 compatibility mode, the M1 is able to match the top single-threaded performance of last generation’s high-end CPUs, and vastly exceed that of past iterations of the Mac mini and past Macbooks.

Geekbench 5 Multi-Thread

Multi-threaded performance is a matter of core-count and power efficiency of a design. The M1 here demolishes a 2017 15-inch Macbook Pro with an Intel i7-7820HQ with 4 cores and 8 threads, posting over double the score. We’ll be adding more data-points as we collect them.

Apple Silicon M1: Recap, Power Consumption M1 GPU Performance: Integrated King, Discrete Rival
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  • darwinosx - Wednesday, November 18, 2020 - link

    Money talks and bullshit walks. Reply
  • lilmoe - Tuesday, November 17, 2020 - link

    Not sure how you came to this conclusion with such a poor and unprofessional review. It seemed to me that AMD is killing it on all fronts, but the folks here made it really hard to tell with all these purposefully misleading charts.

    AMD wins. Come 5nm with Zen4 on laptops, poof goes all the drivel currently in the tech media.

    It's disappointing to see this from Andre non-the-less. Very poor quality, and very misleading benchmarks.
    Reply
  • ws3 - Tuesday, November 17, 2020 - link

    Stage One: denial Reply
  • Hifihedgehog - Tuesday, November 17, 2020 - link

    Stage One: Comparing Apples to Apples, or 5nm to 5nm. AMD 7nm Zen 2, not even their latest and greatest, is doing admirably against a 5nm product. Pit Zen 3, still held back by 7nm, against it which is a good deal faster than Zen 2 and you have a totally different outcome. Pit Zen 4 where the Zen microarchitecture is given the legs to run with 5nm and it's no contest. Reply
  • defferoo - Tuesday, November 17, 2020 - link

    show me a 5nm Zen 4 CPU to test against then, oh, it doesn't exist. I guess we can't do that comparison yet. what matters here is availability, and Zen 4 won't come for another year, M1 is here now.

    the closest thing to apples to apples now is to use the same TDP for comparison. stack up the Ryzen 7 4800U against the M1 in a Macbook Pro (~15W). M1 is faster in both ST and MT despite the 4800U having 8 cores with SMT.

    when AMD was kicking Intel's butt on the 7nm process and Intel was on 14nm, nobody said, "but you need to compare like to like!" except for Intel fans. now it's Intel/AMD vs. Apple, and only those in denial are demanding a fair comparison on the same process node.
    Reply
  • YesYesNo - Tuesday, November 17, 2020 - link

    I don't see the M1 having faster multicore than the 4800U, which benchmark am i missing? Reply
  • Kuhar - Wednesday, November 18, 2020 - link

    You are absolutely right! All that hype around M1 was just overexaggerated. Reply
  • defferoo - Wednesday, November 18, 2020 - link

    Spec2017 MT in this very article, Geekbench. We should not over index on one very specific benchmark (Cinebench r23) when we have more comprehensive ways to measure performance. Reply
  • halo37253 - Tuesday, November 17, 2020 - link

    Actually the Ryzen 4800U is not only beating the M1 in MultiThread in cinebench. But doing so with similar power usage. This is Zen2. Zen 3 will easily compete with apple silicon in terms of performance/watt, and in most cases beat it. At 7nm no less. Only makes we wonder why Apple is so willing to fracture their already pretty small Mac OS fanbase.

    The 4800U in 15w mode uses around 20-25watts of power running cinebench, vs the m1 using around 22watts. Sure it doesn't have the lead in single thread performance, but pretty close when the m1 is running x86 apps. Zen3 as we know is a massive improvement in this area. And the 4800U single thread wise is largely clock limited to keep it in check power usage wise.

    I just dont see apple beating out AMD any time soon.

    The 4800u still uses GCN graphic cores, so expect a huge gain when they move up to RDNA or RDNA2 (Hopefully they jump to 2).

    Apple does have years of experience building tightly integrated SOCs, and this is where this chip shines. It clearly shows how well ARM can perform. But this is about as cutting edge as apple has been able to get their chip. AMD's focus is still mostly on the data center, so the fact their mobile devices do so well is a testament to how well suited Zen is to scale down.

    Geekbench is a joke of a benchmark and was only ever good comparing devices in the same family. There is wide score changes with the same hardware when taking into the OS its running on. Never use it to compare different CPU Archs or even two different operation systems.
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, November 17, 2020 - link

    @halo37253 I suspect you're largely correct based on what we're seeing in the benchmarks here.

    Of course, the answer to why Apple would do it is clear: they love vertical integration. They'll eventually be able to translate this into power/performance advantages that will be difficult to assail with apps written specifically for their platform.
    Reply

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