The presentation of the new Apple M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max chips last week surprised us all, but not because of the modest—even disappointing—improvement in CPU performance, but because of the leap that their GPUs have taken. chips. And if there is a particularly striking chip, it is the M3 Max. That, of course, raises questions.
Promising benchmarks. In recent hours, performance tests have appeared that seem to make it clear that the M3 Max has a really promising integrated GPU.
‘Baldur’s Gate’. In a performance test with ‘Baldur’s Gate’, a user shared how a MacBook Pro based on the M3 Max was capable of achieving 77.4 fps in 1440p resolution and high detail. Only the Alienware M18 gaming laptop with a Core i9-13900Hx and an RTX 4080 was able to surpass it, and just barely: it achieved 78.1 fps in the same conditions. Things were getting even more interesting because according to that same user In 1080p resolution the M3 Max behaved comparable to a desktop PC with an AMD Ryzen 7800X3D CPU and an RTX 4090 graphics card.
More comparisons. Other users they shared the results of these chips in the GFXBench Aztec Ruins test and the Apple M3 Max shined again in said benchmark, being only 7% slower than a dedicated RTX 4080 graphics card. The results in GFXBench from another user showed again how apparently close this integrated chip is to that graphics card. Jose Saez-Merino, 3D artist, indicated also how a complicated scene in Octane Render 2023.1 had taken 42 seconds to render on an RTX 4090, just one minute on an RTX 3090, and one minute and 45 seconds on a MacBook Pro with an M3 Max.
Mac for gamers? That power makes one wonder if Apple is thinking about attacking the gaming market once and for all. It already dominates the mobile segment with the App Store and Apple Arcade, and in fact, according to some studies, that division alone generated more revenue in 2019 than Sony, Activision, Nintendo or Microsoft. This chip and that integrated GPU outline a hypothetical boost for video games on Macs, something that Apple has never paid attention to.
The pieces are there. The truth is that Apple already has the pieces available to solve that puzzle. It has an integrated chip that seems to be able to compete with state-of-the-art dedicated graphics, but for a few months it has even had support for DirectX 12 in macOS 14 Sonoma, something that would allow developers to easily port Windows games to macOS. . That Hideo Kojima visited Apple Park in May 2023 also caused rumors to skyrocket, and in fact there is also room for a hypothetical Apple Steam Deck.
And there is also Asahi Linux. If Apple doesn’t want to offer that option directly, perhaps others will do it another way. The Asahi Linux project managed to offer support for 3D acceleration on Apple chip GPUs some time ago, and in June they announced support for OpenGL 3.1. All this joins the maturity of Proton, the project that allows you to enjoy thousands of Windows games directly on Windows. Support for the M3 will take at least six months, said Hector Martin, project leader, but the option will still be there.
Image | Manzana