Over the course of the last week, we have seen multiple reviews of Mac Studio being posted, and nearly all of them compare Mac Studio to the NVIDIA RTX 3090 discrete GPU, which is the top of the line GPU, mainly for gaming. You may have noticed that in most if not all of
these videos, the RTX 3090 easily outperforms Mac Studio’s M1 Ultra (The provided graph is from Luke Miani’s video). The RTX 3090 is clearly providing significantly more performance than the GPU performance of an M1 Ultra, which leads many of these reviews to conclude saying Apple lied about their chip outperforming the 3090. Let’s find out if they actually lied.
Did Apple lie?
The truth is, not really. It is just a very clever way of making you think that the M1 Ultra is faster than the 3090, when in reality, it isn’t. I re-watched the entire M1 Ultra presentation, and this is what Johny Srouji (SVP, Hardware Technologies at Apple) said, “The M1 Ultra provides faster performance than the highest-end GPU available while using 200W less power.”
The last few words are very important here, what this actually means is, that when the M1 Ultra’s peak performance is delivered, it outperforms the 3090 at a point when the 3090 is using exactly 200W more power than the M1 Ultra. Honestly, this is extremely confusing, and very vague. This graph doesn’t actually provide any valuable information, it is more of deceiving you into thinking that it is more powerful than the 3090.
As MKBHD mentioned in his review, the 3090’s graph should extend further because in Apple’s graph, the peak point of the 3090’s relative performance per watt, isn’t actually its peak performance, it can happily go on to delivering way more performance, while also consuming a lot more power.
No, the M1 Ultra in Mac Studio is not more powerful than an NVIDIA RTX 3090, in fact, it is far from its peek performance, and I personally think this graph falls somewhere between lies and clever marketing, probably closer to the latter. But regardless of it not outperforming the RTX 3090, the M1 Ultra still does provide respectable performance, and surely beats out anything else in its price bracket, we’ll have to wait a couple years till Apple comes out with something that is the better than the RTX 3090, and I’m sure that day, is not too far away.