Blender Begins Testing Metal GPU Rendering on M1 Macs

The free and open source 3D creation tool Blender this week began testing Metal GPU rendering for its Cycles renderer on M1 Macs running macOS Monterey. Blender said Metal support for Macs with Intel and AMD GPUs is under development.

blender metal rendering

Image Credit: @Jonatan on Twitter

Metal GPU rendering for Cycles can be tested in the Blender 3.1 Alpha and was made possible by a contribution from Apple, which recently joined the Blender Development Fund to support continued development of the 3D creation tool.

Blender said Metal GPU rendering in the Alpha build "is in an early state" and no timeframe was provided for the final release of Blender 3.1.

Apple's support for Blender has been praised by users of the 3D creation tool, as it marks the return of macOS as a completely supported Blender platform. Blender had not supported GPU rendering on Macs since Apple implemented its Metal framework.

Tags: Metal, Blender

Top Rated Comments

Populus Avatar
7 months ago
I’m so happy to read this, not only because it’s another big software on it’s way to run natively on the Apple Silicon macs, but also because Blender is becoming a big actor on the animation scene (I could say one of the most important softwares in 3D)... and it is open source!!! And I love open source software.

PS: This means support for Intel macs as well, because we’re talking about the graphics API, which is shared among all macs
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
terminator-jq Avatar
7 months ago
This is actually an area where Apples unified memory can show major advantages over a traditional GPU. GPU rendering often requires a high amount of VRAM and nowadays 4K textures and digital scans are becoming more of a norm especially when rendering for photorealistic projects like architecture.

There’s also the benefit of thermals. On a regular PC and especially in the laptop space, powerful GPUs generate a lot of heat which then causes major throttling. The M1 chips stay cool which allows for peak performance for much longer.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ? Avatar
7 months ago
Very nice! Glad to see this
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Grohowiak Avatar
7 months ago
Once stable this will be a game changer.
Some of the time improvements are insane already.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MauiPa Avatar
7 months ago

$1200 Lenovo Legion Slim 7 with 3060 at 70W is 2.6x ('https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/3d-rendering-on-apple-silicon-cpu-gpu.2269416/post-30676733') faster on BMW render than $3K+ MBP M1 Max. Desktop RTX is even faster at <10s.

16.39s - 3060 70W mobile (OptiX Blender 3.0)
20.57s - reference 6900xt (HIP Blender 3.0)
29s - 2070 Super (OptiX)
31s - 3060 70W mobile (OptiX Blender 2.93)
42.79s - M1 Max 32GPU (Metal supported Blender 3.1 alpha)
48s - M1 Max 24GPU (Metal Blender 3.1 alpha + patch)
51s - 2070 Super (CUDA)
1:18.34m - M1 Pro 16GPU (Metal Blender 3.1 alpha + patch)
2.04m - Mac Mini M1 (Metal Blender 3.1 alpha + patch)
2:48.03m - MBA M1 (Metal supported Blender 3.1 alpha)
3:55.81m - AMD 5800H base clock no-boost and no-PBO overclock (CPU Blender 3.0)
5:51.06m - MBA M1 (CPU Blender 3.0)
all fine and good of course, but isn't this why they are developing native software? So you were not expecting these results?
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Icelus Avatar
7 months ago

Blender 3.0 CPU :
84secs

Blender 3.1 Metal GPU only :
50secs

Blender 3.1 Metal GPU+CPU :
36secs

https://devtalk.blender.org/t/cycles-apple-metal-device-feedback/21868/14
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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