M1 Ultra Doesn't Beat Out Nvidia's RTX 3090 GPU Despite Apple's Charts

Despite Apple's claims and charts, the new M1 Ultra chip is not able to outperform Nvidia's RTX 3090 in terms of raw GPU performance, according to benchmark testing performed by The Verge.

m1 ultra performance chart
When the ‌M1 Ultra‌ was introduced, Apple shared a chart that had the new chip winning out over the "highest-end discrete GPU" in "relative performance," without details on what tests were run to achieve those results. Apple showed the ‌M1 Ultra‌ beating the RTX 3090 at a certain power level, but Apple isn't sharing the whole picture with its limited graphic.

The Verge decided to pit the ‌M1 Ultra‌ against the Nvidia RTX 3090 using Geekbench 5 graphics tests, and unsurprisingly, it cannot match Nvidia's chip when that chip is run at full power. The Mac Studio beat out the 16-core Mac Pro, but performance was about half that of the RTX 3090.

m1 ultra benchmark the verge

But it seems that Apple just simply isn't showing the full performance of the competitor it's chasing here.

It's sort of like arguing that because your electric car can use dramatically less fuel when driving at 80 miles per hour than a Lamborghini, it has a better engine -- without mentioning the fact that a Lambo can still go twice as fast.

The ‌M1 Ultra‌ is otherwise impressive, and it is unclear why Apple focused on this particular benchmark as it is somewhat misleading to customers because it does not take into account the full range of Nvidia's chip.

apple silicon chips
Apple's ‌M1 Ultra‌ is essentially two M1 Max chips connected together, and as The Verge highlighted in its full Mac Studio review, Apple has managed to successfully get double the ‌M1 Max‌ performance out of the ‌M1 Ultra‌, which is a notable feat that other chip makers cannot match.

Related Roundup: Mac Studio
Buyer's Guide: Mac Studio (Caution)
Related Forum: Mac Studio

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Top Rated Comments

januarydrive7 Avatar
29 months ago
No one saw this coming.
Score: 82 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hoodafoo Avatar
29 months ago
Apple's marketing team needs to be let go
Score: 70 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CWallace Avatar
29 months ago
I suppose it is possible that in the chart displayed in this article, Apple is saying an M1 Ultra at ~100 watts matches a 3090 at ~300 watts. However, pushing the 3090 to it's near-500W maximum would allow it to pull significantly ahead as the benchmarks run by The Verge showed.
Score: 58 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gsurf123 Avatar
29 months ago
Forget the actual results. The worrisome part for Nvidia is Apple has a chip that is quite good and might overtake them at sometime even though it is not a discrete graphic card. I mean this stuff is built into the chip. Everyone used to laugh at built-in graphics. Not so much anymore.
Score: 50 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Danfango Avatar
29 months ago
RTX3090 energy cost per year including host machine: £981/year

M1 Ultra energy cost: £148/year

Even if it’s half the speed that’s a win.
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
xnu Avatar
29 months ago
It wouldn't be a Mac if its graphics were not half as fast as a PC. I love Macs BTW, just saying.
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)