M1 Max The Fastest Laptop Chip Ever?

The M1 Max is a smartphone SOC on steroids. Every smartphone has a GPU. The typical ARM Mali GPU might have an option for one GPU core, or two GPU cores, or four GPU cores of the same version. The four core GPU is fairly powerful.

M1 Max Takes CPU Performance to The Next Level.

Instead of a powerful 4-core GPU, you have the options of an 8-core, 16-core, 24-core, or 32-core GPU—the latter two options being those of the M1 Max.

On the CPU side of things, a “normal” big.LITTLE ARM smartphone CPU might have four high efficiency cores running at maybe 1.8GHz with four high performance cores running at 2.4GHz—but with the M1 Max there are merely two efficiency cores and ten high performance cores running at 3.2GHz.

Apple’s M1 Max
M1 Max

250% more cores running at 150% of the clock speed of a “normal” flagship smartphone SOC. This is performance factor 375% faster than the best smartphone SOC out there.

So, the question is, Can a 10-core performance SOC at 3.2GHz beat the best 8-core CPU that Intel and AMD have to offer? The Intel and AMD mobile chips advertise turbo clocks approaching 4.6GHz so they should still blow the M1 out of the water. Right?

Well, actually no. The base clock for the 5800H actually is 3.2 GHz just like the M1 Max! The 5800H can turbo to 4.4GHz on two of its cores for short durations, but then reverts to something closer to 3.6GHz. And that is assuming that the chip is not being forced to thermal throttle.

The 10-core M1 Max can run at 3.2GHz all day long because it is a 5nm design and uses far less power. The other huge advantage of the M1 design is its fixed width instruction architecture, which traditionally has been known as “Harvard” architecture. Because it does not use variable width instructions like x86, M1 can much more easily accomplish out-of-order execution in its operations pipeline. Operations that do not have dependencies can be pulled out of the queue and completed quickly and thus do not have to wait. Because the instructions are of a fixed width the speculative execution algorithm knows immediately where the instructions end and the data begins. All instructions without dependencies can be immediately performed by any available core.

Intel and AMD have nothing to combat M1 Max huge performance advantage.

Not only does the M1 have industry leading CPU and GPU performance it has huge sections of the SOC dedicated to handling encoding and its high refresh rate screen. ProMotion takes the load off the CPU and GPU in handling the HDR screen at fantastic resolutions (3456×2234 ☺ easy to remember 3,4,5,6 by 2,2,3,4) basically 4K HDR screens at 120fps-on a LAPTOP! Mind blowing. The CPU doesn’t have to worry about it, ProMotion takes care of it. The M1 Max has TWO ProMotion chips! So your external monitors can be 4K@120fps as well. I’m mindblown.

The insane part of this whole thing is that this M1 Max with its 64GB of Unified Memory is roughly the size of a credit card! A whopping 57 Billion transistors with 64GB of RAM in one tiny palm-sized package. The magnificence of this piece of electronics is utterly staggering!

A desktop PC with a 12-core Ryzen 9 5900X, a RTX 3070 Ti, and a Samsung 980 PRO SSD would probably beat or match this little SOC in most workloads. That would easily be a $3000 PC even before you purchase a 4K 120Hz monitor. The 4K 120Hz monitor is easily a $1000 option.

So, yes, figure on a full M1 Max matching the performance of any $4000 desktop PC and don’t even try to compare it to an existing laptop.

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