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Performance review with M1 Pro and M1 Max

Norbert Kucsma
Graphisoft
Graphisoft

 

Apple_M1-Pro-M1-Max_Chips_10182021_big.jpg.large.jpg

Apple introduced the update to their first SoC for the Mac, the M1 Pro and M1 Max, that focused on professional users in October 2021. The M1 Max is the most powerful version of the M1 generation, followed by the M1 Pro. Both processors have the same number of CPU cores, while the M1 Max has more graphics performance with double the GPU cores and memory bandwidth.

The article will focus on the performance of Archicad in different M1 chips. Please keep in mind Archicad is still running on Apple ARM platform through Rosetta 2. More information about Graphisoft’s support with Apple ARM processors can be found here.

General performance of the M1 Pro/Max

The underlying architecture of the processors does not differ from last year’s Apple M1 System-on-a-Chip (SoC), but their performance is greatly improved. As these chips target professional users, the CPU performance has been boosted with double the high-performance core (in the high-tier models for both M1 Pro and M1 Max).

Powering the graphics side, we have up to 16-core GPU in the M1 Pro and up to 32-core GPU in the M1 Max.

With M1 Pro, we can configure it with up to 32GB of memory, whereas this number goes up to 64GB in case of M1 Max.

These help to bring the performance of the M1 Pro and M1 Max closer to the level of high-end prosumer laptops and desktops. While the performance of these new chips is increased greatly compared with the first M1, they still have a very good level of power efficiency.

Compatibility

Since there were not a lot of changes in the architecture of the M1 Pro/Max vs the original M1, there won’t be any difference in terms of compatibility with our products. Please note that they are still using Rosetta 2 to run on these processors.

CPU Performance

Archicad uses the CPU for most operations (like Processing Elements, Generating 2D Views, Rendering). We performed the same sets of tests to compare the performance of different M1 and M1 Pro/Max variants, as well as an Intel-based iMac 5K as a reference. Their specifications can be found below:

  CPU RAM HDD GPU
iMac 5K 2017 7th Gen Intel Core i7 4.2 GHz (4-core) 32GB 512GB SSD AMD Radeon Pro 580 with 8GB of GDDR5 memory
MacBook Pro M1 13" 8GB M1 with 8 CPU core 8GB 512GB SSD M1 with 8 GPU core
MacBook Pro M1 13" 16GB M1 with 8 CPU core 16GB 512GB SSD M1 with 8 GPU core
MacBook Pro M1 Pro 16" 16GB M1 Pro with 10 CPU core 16GB 512GB SSD M1 Pro with 16 GPU core
MacBook Pro M1 Pro 16" 32GB M1 Pro with 10 CPU core 32GB 1TB SSD M1 Pro with 16 GPU core
MacBook Pro M1 Max 16" 64GB M1 Max with 10 CPU core 64GB 1TB SSD M1 Max with 32 GPU core

The M1 Pro and M1 Max (with 10-core configuration) share exactly the same architecture and clock speed, thus if we consider raw CPU performance, there should be no difference between them. For long and intensive tasks where multithreading is utilized, the M1 Pro/Max’s finishing time is up to 45% faster than the original M1, and it even surpasses the Intel-based Macs in some tasks.

M1PM_HQresult1.png

M1PM_HQrender.png

Memory

With a maximum configuration of 64GB of memory from the M1 Max, working with large projects is a lot more feasible now thanks to the larger memory. We saw a noticeable improvement in handling large projects when enough physical memory is provided and less swap memory is used.

M1PM_Largeproject1.png

M1PM_Largeproject2.png

GPU Performance

Redshift rendering and 3D navigation are greatly benefited from the extra GPU power.

From the test, we can see a much shorter rendering time with Redshift.

M1PM_redshift.pngWhen it comes to 3D navigation, due to the system limitations, we consider 60 Frame-per-second as the highly recommended level, whereas 30 Frame-per-second is acceptable for smooth navigation.

With small to medium models, the M1 Pro can easily handle 3D navigation.

M1P_navigationmed.pngWhen it comes to large projects, we might see some stuttering behavior since the GPU struggles to render the frames smoothly. However, 24FPS is still an acceptable result. Meanwhile, the M1 Max with 64GB of memory can handle large projects with ease.

M1MP_navigationlarge.png

Limitations

The M1 Pro/Max has overcome most of the original M1 processor's limitations. However, there are a few things that may pay attention to when choosing:

  • The M1 Pro is limited to 32GB of memory. If you need more than that, the only option is to go with M1 Max with 64GB of memory.
  • External GPUs are not yet supported on this platform.
  • Windows ARM emulation is supported on Apple Silicon for Mac via some third-party solutions, however, the performance of Windows ARM is not yet verified.

Recommendation

You may consider buying a Mac with an M1 Pro chip if:

  • 32GB of memory is enough for your workflow
  • The rendering solutions you are using do not rely on GPU performance
  • Battery life is essential, as the M1 Pro should last longer than the M1 Max

The M1 Max can be beneficial if:

  • You need 64GB of memory for your projects
  • You use rendering solutions that require GPU performance
  • You want the latest, strongest processor from Apple in a portable form factor

 

Comments
hpenbeoglu
Booster

Hi! Thank you for testing these.

 

When do you plan to finish your tests?

Gerald Hoffman
Booster

It looks like the Mac lineup will be steadily dropping Intel Processors to using their own. Does Graphisoft have any timeline of adapting Archicad to these new processors? Rosetta is not a solution in the long run.

David Shorter
Advocate

Its a pity that Vectorworks has stolen the march over Archicad (just watched a VW YouTube video showing up tp 5 times the speed over Intel). When will an M1 version of Archicad be available for beta testing?

Remember users will be buying new computers (both existing and new users) and they will expect a lifespan of around 4 to 5 years. It would not be appropriate for them to purchase Intel based machines.

maberit
Participant

Sad to say that I have to agree with the above comments. We've had Monterey BETA for many months now and Apple Silicon for even longer. I don't think AC 23, 24 and 25 fully supported on Monterey and Apple Silicon (even via Rosetta 2) was a big ask in these time frames? 

 

When can we expect to see a universal binary version of AC? There will be a long period of crossover between Intel and Apple Silicon, and managing 2 versions of the same app (and the potential conflicts therein) is a headache nobody needs! 

Chris Grantham
Enthusiast

I just received my new machine late last week, and I have to say I am pretty impressed with AC speed gains that came with it.  Granted I was on an older spec'd out iMac before this, but it seems like a substantial jump.  That said I am pretty excited to see what it will look like when GS has a fully ported over version for the M1 chips. 

 

Over the weekend I have been doing testing on projects as far back as 22 and have found a reasonable amount of success.  Yes, there are some graphical glitches in the UI but nothing radically different from the issues that we saw in Big Sur with the older versions.  There is also a crashing bug when you quit, but there are workarounds.  

 

The new Redshift rendering engine seems to be working well although I feel like I am starting from scratch when it comes to the settings as the resulting images look quite different from the Cinerender image.   I was very worried that Twinmotion was not going to be supported due to the Epic/Apple spat over Fortnight, but am delighted to find that 2021  screams along!  I did finally get the fan to kick on as I added a bunch of trees, but that seems to be expected. 

 

While all of this does not amount to any formal testing and is purely anecdotal, I think that most people can safely move forward on purchasing a new machine.   While GS may not take full advantage of the chipset with a rosetta build, you should still see a jump in performance.  Knowing that an M1 build is probably not far off is encouraging.  I have no idea what the implications of having two different builds working on the same model will be as @maberit mentioned.  So this should be taken into account as offices begin to upgrade workstations.  I will say the Rosetta build and a regular old intel version have no problems working on the same teamwork file together.

 

Hope this helps! 

4hotshoes
Expert

I can't see that there would be a problem with a build for M1 and Mac Intel when we already have a build for Windows machines too. It is good to know that it does run well enough without any official endorsement form Graphisoft. Although, it would be nice to hear that GS has been running it with or without problems. Status update GS?

JiriAus
Participant

I returned my 2021 MacBook M1 Pro 16" after seeing noticeable performance drop in most operations in Archicad 23 and increased artefacts in 3D navigation. I'm back to my 2019/20 MacBook Pro 16" for now (and upgraded AC25) - money way better spent. All operations on my current setup are smooth. Don't think CAD/BIM will benefit hugely from increased performance - we just need better UX which is on the Graphisoft's side. Faster processors and RAM will probably only positively influence speed of renders - if you do those. I don't.

Karl Ottenstein
Moderator

@JiriAus That's a shame that the M1 Pro didn't perform for you.  You realize that AC 23 is not supposed to work with Monterey anyway, right?  We have a loaded 2019 MBP 16" and I think it's a fine machine for quite a few more years anyway, other than the fan noise when multiple monitors are connected.  So, I think you'll be happy with your decision to stick with it.

 

In contrast with your M1 impression, read this evaluation of the M1 Max from @Ebatte who sounds totally pleased:

https://community.graphisoft.com/t5/Setup-License-forum/ArchiCAD25-bug-on-Monterey/m-p/320458#M31410

 

 

Minh Nguyen
Graphisoft Moderator
Graphisoft Moderator

Dear All,

 

Thank you very much for your interest in this topic. Personally, I can't wait to learn more about these new chips 🙂

 

We had the based M1 Pro for a very short period of time, and the initial impression was quite positive. With Archicad 25, there was some noticeable performance gain even with 16GB of memory. We plan to conduct more thorough testing soon (with the M1 Max as well) and will share with you the result in this article.

 

Best regards,

Minh

Gerald Hoffman
Booster

Nguyen thanks for the comment but the question no-one seems to be addressing directly is whether Graphisoft is going to optimize AC for Apple silicon as some other programs have done. This would make it clear to users that Graphisoft is committed to supporting the platform. From reports I have seen on other software that is optimized for Apple SoC there is a significant performance boost which is always helpful when working with big files.

 

Best regards,

Gerald

Minh Nguyen
Graphisoft Moderator
Graphisoft Moderator

Hi Gerald,

According to our plans, a full commercial release of Archicad natively running on the ARM architecture is to be expected in 2022, as we have announced in this article.

Best regards,

Minh

Gerald Hoffman
Booster

Hi Minh,

 

Thanks for the speedy response. Sorry I missed that article. I'm happy now. 😁

Cheers,

Gerald

hpenbeoglu
Booster

Does this mean we can use Archicad 26-27 on iPad pro? 😉 Maybe with a touch-friendly user interface?

Blue
Participant

Hi! Can you estimate when the testresults will be done and published? December? January?

Karol Argasinski
Contributor

Hi,

I run tests on Macbook M1 Max 14inch (10 CPU cores / 24 GPU cores, 32GB RAM) and Archicad 25. I have to say, Macbook is performing really well with:

  • specific tasks around receiving/sending data;
  • documentation synchronization and creation of layouts/sheets is significantly faster than my workstation PC which on paper is way better;
  • Publishing drawings/files is fast (like, really).

BUT, there is unfortunately huge BUT, which are really slowing performance and are a no-go's during daily professional work:

  • I work a lot (in practice on every project) with pointclouds. The performance of a clean file with loaded 1GB pointcloud (E57 type), is slower than my 2014 MBP 15 (i7/16gb/750M). Super bad and super sad about that (That was main reason why I wanted an upgrade). @GRAPHISOFT  please, take that into an account :);
  • Rendering on Cineware or Redshift gives the same results (in time), but still, Redshift looks worse at the same vizualization profile (i.e. using indoor or outdoor medium physical setting gives worse results in quality and time on Redshift).

All "tests" (more practical checks) were done on AC power, not battery, so it should be the best possible I guess. Hope it can be fixed soon.


Best regards,
Karol

David Shorter
Advocate

Thanks Karol, very interesting.

The Point Cloud issue has been documented previously so no surprise there. 

The Redshift doesn't surprise me as it appears to be very video card specific (won't run on my 2014 MBP)

Geoff Briggs
Advocate

Those of you who attended one of the Graphisoft Roadmap webinars learned, if listening closely, that AC26, which will finally offer native support for Apple silicon, will not be released until Q3 of 2022. October was mentioned. So it will have been 18 months since the first M1 was introduced, and a year since M1 Pro/Max was introduced. Truly inexcusable.

 

In my case I have an old but well running iMac that cannot be upgraded past Hight Sierra, which will not run AC25. So Graphisoft left me in the no-win situation of a) not upgrading to the latest version, which I have already paid for, b) running Archicad on an M1 and suffering the consequences, c) buying “new” but outdated hardware, or d) switching to Windows, which would also involve new hardware. I chose b, but I’m not happy about it, any of it.

 

And of course the MacOS support has been a day late and a dollar short too.

 

Abysmally poor planning by Graphisoft. 

joelsdg
Enthusiast

Karol, 

Just a quick question, are you using the macOS Monterey that came preloaded on your new MacBook?

 

Joel

 

 

Karol Argasinski
Contributor

Hi Joel,

Yes, it is. Also if there are updates, I always run them.

kjk
Participant

Hi,
I need to buy a new MacBoo Pro, so I'm interested in Archicad performance with M1 Pro and M1 Max, but there is little information about it.

Is it possible to know when approximately you will publish the test results, please?

4hotshoes
Expert

I was just reading up on a comparison of the M1 Max chip in the MacBook Pro ($3,400) to the Intel Mac Pro ($5,600) and the M1 Max beats the more expensive Intel on many tests or at least matches closely in ability and speed. I have no idea how this effects Archicad yet. But the M1 Max is looking like a very strong improvement.

 

https://appleinsider.com/articles/21/11/01/compared-m1-max-16-inch-macbook-pro-versus-mac-pro

aentun
Participant

Hi, 

 

I need to change my 2013 MacBook Pro, would it be wise for me to buy a new M1 Pro or Max now using Archicad 25 and 26 when released (upgrade program), or does a Windows laptop suit Archicad best?

If it was Mac, would it be the M1 Pro or Max? The price difference is substantial.

Thanks,

 

Antonio

 

 

Koji
Contributor

any new tests with the m1 max processor? I would like to know how the number of graphics cores improves the render time.

 

Also excited to see M1 ULTRA in action into the MacStudio computer.

 

Hope to see soon Archicad running native in Apple chips.

kjk
Participant

Hi,

I am interested in the performance with M1 Max too me. 

@Norbert Kucsma and @Minh Nguyen did you make some test and you publish results in next days? Or if didin't, why did you test only M1 Pro?

Thanks for attention and have a nice day.

 

spekoun
Participant

Hi, I can run some tests on my M1 MAX, Graphisoft would share some scene. Redshift runs great for my projects of family houses. Great benefit is, that does not run ventilators, even if a render and work same time. 

David Shorter
Advocate

Still very far behind the upgrade to M1.

Just watched the Apple Event 8th March. I note that  Vectorworks got at least two mentions to the whole Apple community. How many did Graphisoft/Archicad get? a full ZERO.

2 years and counting. Very sad

pazpat
Beginner

@David Shorter 
I agree.
It's quite a shame for such a huge (and expensive) platform like AC if you compare it to a seemingly smaller one as blender or basically any other software firm that's aiming at a somewhat creative field. Every year when we get this paper thingy into our office for a new version or when I see this somewhat outdated early 2000s way of presenting the new version I wonder why they don't put the money into some development or other user oriented stuff.
I feel like AC will, at some point, loose the younger-ish architecture community if they keep going that route. For my part: Every time I talk to students I advise them to learn alternatives instead but to keep in mind that most offices are not run by people like them 🙂 
I really wish they would not just focus on hyper-large-building-making-offices but also stay in touch with smaller firms.

joaomarquesfranco
Participant

it's very telling that the 'Performance review with M1 Pro and M1 Max' doesn't have the m1 Max; speaks volumes about the care and dept of this review. The lack of mention of a native version and m1 ultra is a disgrace.

 

But don't worry, they will sell you 'huge improvement' if you buy Archicad 26, maybe not even updated natively.

 
p.s Nobody uses xeon CPUs and quadro GPUs, if you insist in targeting that ridiculous niche you will lose market share.
 
Minh Nguyen
Graphisoft Moderator
Graphisoft Moderator

Hi All,

 

The results for both the M1 Pro and M1 Max are updated in this article.

If you have any further questions please let me know!

 

Best regards,

Minh

Koji
Contributor

I found this video from Archicad center in Denmark, very illustrative about performance of M1 max in Archicad workflow compared to intel i9 MacBook Pro.

 

https://youtu.be/4KeleQhSbws

 

 

hpenbeoglu
Booster

Hi Minh,

 

Can you please include MBP 16" intel i9 and Mac Studio with M1 Ultra in the comparison? Also some windows-intel devices?

Karl Ottenstein
Moderator

Thanks for the updated data, Minh, and thanks Koji for the Denmark video link to visualize the difference.  Very nicely done video!

 

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