Benchmarks Show MacBook Pro's M1 Max Performs Like An RTX 3060 Laptop In Games

MacBook Pro
We can see the shiny tips of the pitchforks and the glow of torches already, so let's begin by saying this—we're fully aware people aren't lining up to buy Apple's new MacBook Pro laptops strictly to play games (if at all). Be that as it may, Apple chose to compare its revamped MacBook Pro models to PC gaming laptops when discussing its new M1 Max and M1 Pro chips, so there is definitely some interest in how it holds up. The answer is, purportedly about as well as a GeForce RTX 3060 laptop.

We're strictly talking about games here. For sure, the M1 Max and M1 Pro are impressive slices of silicon, designed in-house at Apple. The larger of the two packs 57 million transistors into a large chip, with up to a 10-core CPU and 32-core GPU. It also boasts up to 64GB of unified memory, 400GB/s of memory bandwidth, and various other odds and ends.

That said, the Mac platform is not the ideal choice for gaming, though you can actually game it. How well, though, depends on the title and hardware. And as it applies to a MacBook Pro outfitted with the burliest M1 Max available, here's a partial snapshot...

MacBook Pro M1 Max Gaming Benchmarks
Source: Dave2D

Popular YouTuber Dave2D got his hands on both the MacBook Pro 16 and MacBook 14 and posted a video review and tour. It's well worth eight and a half minutes of your time, when you have the chance to check it out. In the meantime, what you see above is a look at his results depicting GPU performance, and those are some interesting numbers.

The MacBook Pro with its M1 Max hardware seems to really excel in synthetic graphics tests, but doesn't turn heads in actual games. Or at least that is the case in Tomb Raider, running at 1440p with the settings on High.

At that configuration, the M1 Max averaged 83 frames per second, which is a touch better than a low-power GeForce RTX 3060 laptop, which benched 79 frames per second. Meanwhile, a 100W GeForce RTX 3080 laptop reached triple-digits, averaging 112 frames per second. So it performed roughly the same as a GeForce RTX 3060 laptop (5 percent faster, actually), while the GeForce RTX 3080 laptop is 41.8 percent faster.

Apple's M1 Pro lagged behind, as we would expect, averaging 57 frames per second. The mobile GeForce RTX 3060 is 39 percent faster, while the GeForce RTX 3080 laptop is 96.5 percent faster.

"The M1 Max has the kick of about abut an RTX 3060, maybe a low wattage 3070, but certainly not a 3080. I was hoping for that, that's kind of what they [Apple] alluded to in their charts. But because it has unified memory and it has unified cache, it can absolutely keep up with the 3080 and maybe even excel in certain applications," Dave2D notes.

So there's your general takeaway. Hopefully we'll get a chance to test the new MacBook Pro laptops ourselves.