Intel claimed earlier this month that its new Alder Lake Core i9 processor outperforms Apple's M1 Max in benchmark tests. As with all manufacturer claims, it is meaningless until it is independently tested.
These tests, conducted with a hefty MSI GE76 Raider laptop, reveal that Intel's claim is technically correct - but with some significant caveats.
The GE76 Raider with the Core i9-12900HK processor gets an average multi-core score of 12,707 on Geekbench 5, whereas the 16-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 Max chip has an average multi-core score of 12,244. In this comparison, the Core i9 processor is around 4% faster than the M1 Max chip.
One of the most important considerations is power efficiency. PCWorld measured the new GE76 Raider's power demand from the wall while running the CPU-only Cinebench R23 benchmark and discovered that the Core i9 was constantly around 100 watts, with a small surge to 140 watts.
AnandTech discovered the M1 Max chip's power drain from the wall to be roughly 40 watts while running the identical Cinebench R23 benchmark on the 16-inch MacBook Pro.
Battery life suffers as a result of the Core i9's higher power consumption; according to PCWorld, the new GE76 Raider managed over six hours of offline video playback.
Apple claims that the latest 16-inch MacBook Pro has a battery life of up to 21 hours for offline movie playback. Despite changes in display brightness and other aspects, the 16-inch MacBook Pro definitely has longer battery life.
The GE76 Raider is a 17-inch gaming laptop that is slightly more than an inch thick and weighs nearly 6.5 pounds. The new 16-inch MacBook Pro, on the other hand, is 0.66 inches thick and weighs 4.8 pounds.
When it comes to graphics, the differences are obvious when you pair the Core i9 with an expensive Nvidia RTX3080 Ti GPU. The PC achieves an OpenCL score of 143,594 versus 59,774 for the M1 Max. However, that isn't an apples-to-apples comparison. Things appear drastically different if you use Intel's onboard integrated GPU. Intel only receives a score of 21,097 there.
For Cinebench R32 (a decent test of 3D modeling performance), Macworld didn't have an M1 Max machine to compare to the Intel one, but even with a high-end GPU, Intel only managed a score of 15,981 against the M1 Pro's 12,381, so it seems likely that the M1 Max would win this one.
Overall, it looks that Intel's claim that its new Core i9 chip is faster than the M1 Max chip is correct, but Apple is unlikely to be disappointed with its decision to switch to its own power-efficient chips for thin-and-light notebooks like the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. And with the M2 chipset to be released later this year, Apple is only getting started.