Apple M1 MacBook vs PC desktop workstation for Adobe Creative Cloud

This is a very interesting article comparing four different machines on how they tackle specific tasks using Adobe software. Definitely a test on the Pro side of things.

The four machines:

  • Apple M1 MacBook Air with 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU, 16GB RAM
  • Apple M1 MacBook Pro with 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU
  • AMD Ryzen 7 5800X, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 GPU, 16GB RAM
  • AMD Ryzen 9 5800X, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 GPU, 64GB RAM

Note that second two machines are desktop machines, coming in at $2400 and $3500 respectively, with the last machine built with 64GB RAM. And those two desktop machines feature external GPUs.

In a nutshell, the desktop machines outperform the M1 Macs. Lots of reasons for this, and not really a fair comparison, since the Macs are laptops, and the desktop machines have discrete GPUs, and are much more expensive.

But I did find the comparison worth seeing.

From the conclusions:

From a performance standpoint, the new Apple M1 MacBooks do fairly well considering that they are using a complete processor based around the ARM instruction set and software that is likely not fully optimized yet. But compared to a typical desktop workstation from Puget Systems that is around 2-3x faster on average (albeit at a higher cost), they certainly can’t keep up.

These units only cost around $1,500 as configured, however, so the fact that they are half the performance shouldn’t be unexpected since they are also half the cost. What will be very interesting to see is how performance will shake out as Adobe improves support for native Apple Silicon and when (or if) Apple launches a higher-end laptop – or even better, a more powerful desktop variant than the Mac Mini.

That last bit sticks out to me. Will we see a higher end M1 laptop with more RAM? Will we see an M1 Mac Pro? If we do see a desktop Mac Pro, will it feature a discrete GPU?

[H/T Evadne W]