Friday, Jan 28, 2022, 11:11 Hardware

New Benchmarks: Intel's New Core i9 Beats The M1 Max – But Not Without A Cost

Apple saw itself heavily praised after the release of the new MacBook Pro, which arrived alongside the M1 Pro and Max chips. Meanwhile, Intel received a good deal of ridicule – after all, a complete newcomer and former Intel partner had just managed to outdo the company at its own game, chip development. The new M1 chips were praised not only for their extreme energy efficiency, but also for the incredible performance of the high-end variants. Earlier this month, Intel made the bold declaration that it was back in the game – with a mobile chip faster than Apple's new ARM-based SoCs (System on a Chip). Intel alleged that its newest and 12th generation of chip could even outperform the current M1 Max – although not exponentially more powerful, the company still claims a not insignificant difference in performance. Now, the first benchmarks concerning the matter have been released by PCWorld. The benchmark was run with a 12th generation Core i9-12900HK ("Alder Lake") Intel chip on a MSI GE76 Raider laptop equipped with a high performance Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti. This pretty much places the notebook within the most powerful notebook class available to consumers, and well out of the price range of most users. Notebooks with such specifications are normally sought out solely by extreme gamers. What's especially exciting for Apple users, is to see how well the Intel-based notebook including a massive, active cooling system performs against an Apple M1 notebook with a much more energy efficient passive cooling system – and the CPU benchmark results are likely to be a little bit surprising.

Intel Back At The Head Of Mobile Chip Pack... Sort Of
The Core i9's 14 core processor does manage indeed to outperform the 10 core M1 Max. The benchmarks show 3.5% more performance for each individual core of the 12th generation Intel processor in comparison to Apple's SoC. Overall, however, the Core i9 only performs about 5% better than Apple's most powerful M-chip. The top-tier Nvidia graphics card equipped in the Intel-based notebook does, of course, perform significantly better than the M1 Max's graphics the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti is, after all, a high-end gaming GPU. Despite the slight advantage seen by Intel's new Core i9 in the CPU benchmarks, very few users are likely to notice any difference whatsoever during practical usage – however, every single percentage does count during a benchmark.

Check out the single core CPU benchmarks and Open-CL GPU benchmarks here:

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MacWorld Comparison


A Victory For Intel – At First Glance
Although it does look as if Intel is yet again ahead in terms of performance and has won this battle, the company is still losing the war when it comes to comparing all of its newest chip's specs to Apple's. During the tests, the Intel chip computer used around 100 to 140 watts, whereas the MacBook Pro with M1 Max used only 40 watts. This disparity, of course, has a huge impact when it comes to machine battery life. The Intel-equipped MSI GE76 Raider's 6 hours of battery life pale in comparison to the MacBook Pro's ability to deliver 17 hours of uninterrupted video media.



The MSI GE76 Raider is heavily reliant upon its internal cooling system.


On one hand, Intel has yet again managed to produce the "fastest" chip – but it's no competition for the M1 Max given pricing, overall performance categories, and product tier. Intel's new chip is intended only for heavily upgraded, high-end gaming systems – and although Intel does technically have the right to declare itself back at the "front of the line" with regard to speed – it doesn't have the right to do so in terms of overall performance or versatility. The M1 Max is an incredibly powerful chip intended for productivity and professional usage, whilst still being capable of holding its own when it comes to gaming – it is not designed for usage in a high-power gaming system, it is designed to be extremely energy efficient, whilst still being a competitive chip for high-end professional fields requiring some extra power. Thus, the fact that it even performs as well as it does against a chip designed for pure power, delivering only 5% less overall performance whilst also requiring more than 50% less energy – what Apple has accomplished with the M1 Max is incredibly impressive, and Intel still has its work cut out for it. Intel's current chip might be better than Apple's when it comes to usage in high-end, luxury gaming machines where every bit of performance matters to the customer – but that's about it, and even then it only just barely outperforms the M1 Max.

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