This Windows Laptop Challenges the Speed of Apple's M1 MacBook Pros

The Apple MacBook Pro M1 has shown impressive results. With the latest round of software optimizations for the M1 processor, it seemed to be unbeatable. However, Gigabyte is demonstrating incredible results. The combination of Intel and Nvidia seems to be offering better performance than a top-spec Apple MacBook Pro M1

A recent video from Armando Ferreira tests and compares the performance of the new Gigabyte Aero 15 laptop. Some of the key specifications of the laptop includes an Intel i7 processor, 32GB of RAM, 1 TB SSD M.2, and the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070. The Gigabyte laptop is priced at a similar point to a fully specced Apple MacBook Pro M1, making this a relatively fair comparison. 

In the tests, both laptops perform admirably; however, the Gigabyte is definitely ahead. This was especially the case when comparing results from DaVinci Resolve, which has been optimized for both the M1 and the Gigabyte laptops. The optimizations in DaVinci helps to produce a more apples-to-apples comparison, and the results from the Gigabyte laptop are remarkable, to say the least. 

What's even more interesting is how the Gigabyte laptop compared against a $22,000 Apple Mac Pro. In DaVinci Resolve, the Gigabyte laptop performed better than what the Mac Pro did in Final Cut Pro X. This is no doubt an incredible feat and demonstrates just how quickly technology is improving. 

Check out the full video linked above to see all the results. 

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Indy Thomas's picture

While I am no Apple fanboy, the impressive performance of the first generation Apple silicon hints at an evolution that will leave the x86 architecture wanting.
The Intel processors are splendid yet are seemingly long in tooth. The advantage of tying OS and processor as Apple can seems to give them the freedom to realize a lot of performance without the burden of legacy support.

Salty Cremepuff's picture

There's more to the picture than the processor here. When it comes to PC hardware, Intel isn't at the top of the CPU market in performance anymore. That would be AMD who are actually in a better position than Intel to respond to Apple this since they make both CPU's and GPU's (although I suppose Intel has just recently started making their own GPU's too). Whatever the case, I suspect that the performance here can largely be attributed to the discrete Nvidia GPU in the Gigabyte in contrast to the anemic GPU integrated in the Apple system. I'm curious to see what Apple's solution will be for actual workstation performance will be when they carry this architecture over to their high end products and how they opt to handle the GPU issue.

From a work standpoint, the benefits of this architecture would have to be so much greater than x86 for me to make the switch because there's just a lot of value in the modular nature of current PC's. If a component fails, I can just go out and buy a new one (minus the current supply stupidity), replace it myself, and be back up and running in a few hours max. If the entire system is essentially on a single chip (or a major portion of it) like in Apple's M1 architecture, it basically means any failure of anything on that chip means buying almost an entire computer again as opposed to just the cost of the failed component. It also means that a user is unlikely to be able to service anything so you're kind of at the mercy of your warranty and service center schedule. I know that a lot of people don't have a problem with this since many people don't fix their own computers, but it would bother me quite a bit.

Roc Wurst's picture

Too be fair, you can’t replace the CPU or GPU in most laptops so the Apple SoC M1 really shouldn’t be an issue there.

Also remember these are Apple’s cheapest laptops with integrated GPUs. We need to wait till Apple releases the M1x-powered pro laptops which will probably have discrete GPUs like the current 16” Macbook Pro.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

I don't believe they'll go discrete GPU's because the whole Apple Silicon premise is everything (CPU, GPU, and memory) are integrated.

Salty Cremepuff's picture

Who do you think they'll be sourcing their GPU from and do you not think that having extremely powerful computer parts that are going to generate tons of heat in that kind of proximity to each other is going to be a problem? I would think that any powerful GPU from a powerful CPU would have to be separated simply to avoid thermal throttling of both components if nothing else. It's not like they're going to be watercooling their computers. You can undervolt them to try to reduce the heat, but that will only get you so far in such a situation.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

You're thinking legacy systems and their restrictions and their limitations. M1 is a totally different ballgame.

Salty Cremepuff's picture

I'm not talking about the laptops here. Laptops are a nightmare to service even on the PC side. I'm talking about their desktop systems. If they want to scale up the M1 architecture to workstation-level systems, user serviceability is going to be a real issue.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

This article is about laptops, so, I'm not sure why you are throwing in desktops into the mix. You're not going to bring a desktop from job site to job site; or on a plane, train, or bus.

Salty Cremepuff's picture

The comment I was replying to was about the potential of the M1 architecture as opposed to the older x86 architecture and my comment was about my skepticism that the benefits of it would scale up to workstation usage as so many people assume it will. For use in laptops, absolutely there are real benefits and for low to mid-range computing requirements, it's already proven itself to be an excellent value. A lot of people, however, are assuming that x86 is dead because of what the current M1 products are doing and I'm not really sure that's going to be the case because we haven't really seen any high end products using the architecture yet. Maybe they will come out and maybe it'll blow the competition away. Maybe it won't. As it stands, the M1 series is great, but I'm not so sure that it's the future of computing the way so many people are making it out to be.

Jim Tincher's picture

What you are missing is the how the new M1 architecture scales.... and that is what Apple's design is... scalable. It's what Apple's future is, they generally aren't too concerned about Intel's design limits or limitations, that's up to Intel to figure out.

Indy Thomas's picture

I am very aware of AMD. My point is that both AMD and Intel are making x86 processor variants while Apple has gone clean sheet with the M1. Moreover, their tight binding of processor and OS is only possible by them as they own both components while everyone has to dance with MS.
AS for GPUs making a difference we need to compare apples to apples (no pun intended).
As Apple develops their processors I am sure we will see workstation level processors and machines.
We will also see very tightly controlled machines much like a phone with a keyboard. The conceit of upgrading will be dead and we will be trading in computers like phones. Many will crab about it but it will soon be like guys complaining about not being able to churn their own butter.

Alexander Petrenko's picture

2 kg of hardware vs 1.4 kg.

Andrew Eaton's picture

The M1 will have much better battery life...

Salty Cremepuff's picture

Probably, but Intel isn't exactly known even in the PC world for their power efficiency and Nvidia's 3000-series GPU's aren't really energy efficient either-they're just powerful. If your primary interest is a machine's computing power though, I do wonder why battery life would be a concern. I get why it might be if you're writing reports on a commute, but are there a lot of people rendering video projects or 3D animation on battery power? Everyone I know stays plugged in when doing work like that.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

--- "are there a lot of people rendering video projects or 3D animation on battery power?"

That's the beauty of these Macs, they are the same performance level plugged in or not.

B C's picture

That’s up to the user on any Windows laptop. You can decide if you want it to run full bore or optimize for longer battery life.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

With the M1 you can run full bore and still get longer battery life without having to manually adjust the power settings.

Salty Cremepuff's picture

The question is: Why would you?
It's certainly a great feature, but how much does this ability actually help people in real use cases? Usually the type of tasks that are truly taxing on the CPU and GPU are also the type of tasks you're not likely to be doing out in the field anyway. It's the type of stuff you do back in the studio or hotel room.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

What? You're not making any sense. Almost sounds like you are downplaying the M1's ability to be at full performance and still have great battery life and asking why would anyone would want that. I think it's safe to say, everyone would want that. That's the beauty with the M1, you can be out in field doing CPU and GPU taxing projects. The only reason you are assuming nobody is doing it is because it wasn't possible before the M1. Now, it is.

Salty Cremepuff's picture

It's certainly possible that the M1 will open up new workflows, but people generally aren't doing CPU or GPU taxing tasks out in the field. You're not rendering your videos or 3D animation while you're out somewhere on location. If you're talking about stuff like culling through your Lightroom catalog or run-of-the-mill editing in Photoshop, those are hardly taxing tasks and not what I would be talking about. Out of curiosity, what CPU or GPU taxing tasks do you envision being done in the field that isn't being done now?

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

--- "Out of curiosity, what CPU or GPU taxing tasks do you envision being done in the field that isn't being done now?"

Oh, let's say, full on photo editing, video editing for hours and hours and hours. It may seem trivial, until you need it. No anxiety of finding a power outlet. Work anywhere, airports, planes, buses, restaurants, taxi, park bench, etc. The key thing to keep in mind is the M1 is at full performance the whole time.

davidlovephotog's picture

Damn it! I demand to pay for over priced apple stuff? Not really.

Luca Santirocco's picture

"The Apple MacBook Pro M1 has shown impressive results"
Ok, so I need to ask for a replacement of my M1 cause I can't see these results. :(

AJ L's picture

Yes, yes. You can make a computer that’s faster than an M1. This is not surprising. The point of the current M1 models isn’t to be the fastest computer you can find.

My M1 Air was $850, refurbished, weighs nothing, runs on battery all day and is competitive with much larger computers. That’s why it’s good.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Looks like they dropped the price by $100. They are now $899 brand new.

Roc Wurst's picture

It would have been helpful to have noted that the Gigabyte laptop has an absolutely aweful battery life of 5 hours compared to the M1 MacBook Pro of over 30 hours (playing a video non-stop in both cases). And the MacBook Air is only a tiny fraction slower and is two thirds the price of the Gigabyte laptop.

These are Apple’s cheapest laptops - just wait until they release the M1x powered pro laptops and I think we’ll be seeing the Gigabyte laptop thrashed in termed of speed as well as battery life.

Dave Dundas's picture

Anyone can forever argue that products that don't exist yet, will be better than those that do, that's kind of a nothing-burger of a statement. Increased battery life is definitely a point in favor of the M1 (although Apple officially only claims 18 hours, not the 30 you claim), but I seriously doubt that most ppl rendering important projects in Davinci, are running on battery power only very often in the first place. Also, you left out the fact that the Gigabyte laptop is a 15" and the Mac is only a 13". When you move up to the next size Mac, (16"), you can't have an M1 it seems, and it costs more than the Gigabyte laptop by almost $1500.00.

Roc Wurst's picture

The 30 hour video playback with wifi off benchmark was a real world video playback benchmark by PC world if I recall.

My point is this is the bottom of the range M1-powered laptop from Apple that is significantly cheaper than this Gigabyte unit - the fact that it almost has the same performance as this high end gaming laptop while still delivering incredible battery life and still stays cool despite not having a fan (in the case of the MacBook Air model) is what is remarkable.

Of course the upcoming 16” M1x powered MacBook Pro will be more expensive than this PC laptop, it’ll be from Apple after all, but we’re all looking forward to how much it will leapfrog the Gigabyte laptop in performance and battery life as well as thermal management.

Talk about putting the smack-down to Intel.

Dave Dundas's picture

You're still talking about comparing products that don't exist, to those that do. I don't see the claimed "smack-down" here at all... 🤷‍♂️ Yes, the battery life is impressive, but your "stays cool" claim seems to be disputed from the amount of articles and videos stating there's a problem, but I suppose it could be a use-case issue. Also, a 1 inch screen difference is hardly a factor to claim I'm comparing radically different laptops, that 1 inch shouldn't be a $1500.00 difference, assuming you really wanna compare apples to apples (Or Apples to Gigabytes if you prefer :) ). To be clear, that 1500.00 difference is comparing existing products, the M1 isn't available in that form factor yet, it's safe to assume that will cost much more than the non-M1 version, which is already $1500.00 more.

Salty Cremepuff's picture

You're assuming that the benefits of the M1 architecture will scale. Without actually seeing it, I wouldn't simply assume this. The current M1 chip is pretty much designed for efficiency across the board so it's unsurprising that it has long battery life. One of the trade-offs here is that they are using a piss weak integrated GPU that likely has low power requirements to match its lack of capability. How will they integrate a more powerful GPU? Will they license a Nvidia chip? Are Apple going to create their own GPU? Will they be able to integrate a 3000-series chip into the M1 architecture? Will it have to be a discrete GPU? If it's a discrete GPU, how much of the unique benefits of the M1 architecture (where everything is on a single chip) get sacrificed in using a discrete card? Apple have done a really good job so far, but there are a ton of questions as to what this begins to look like when you start to use serious components. Is this just an architecture for laptops and low end desktops or can this be scaled to compete with the likes of a Threadripper with a high end graphics card? There's a lot of speculation, but not much in the way of concrete answers that I know of.

Robert Escue's picture

I have watched a ton of videos about Apple's M1's and the "speed" of them, some comparing them to PC's and laptops, others just going on about how amazing they are. Most of the reviews are the same where the performance of M1's are touted and the disadvantages of having one is mentioned almost in passing like the lack of ports as compared to a typical PC laptop and the M1's total lack of upgradability.

While Armando speaks to the basic configuration of the evaluation machine Gigabyte sent him, he fails to mention is that you can add a second M.2 SSD to the Aero. If you are looking to optimize the performance of a machine such as this or simply looking for more storage, this is a big deal. Also according to Gigabyte, the Aero can be expanded to 64 GB of memory, making this a pretty powerful laptop:

Two of the more interesting videos I watched is Linus Tech Tips talk about the lack of cooling on the M1 MacBook Air and how performance suffers because of it:

The other big issue is the M1's swapping to SSD as explained here. While Created Labs found a fix for it by using Apple native applications, if you happen to use applications that are not Apple native, the swap writing issue will continue:

Last year I replaced my Lenovo Z50 with a Hewlett Packard Omen 15 gaming laptop with an 8-core Ryzen, 16 GB of memory, a 1 TB SSD and an nVidia Geforce 1660 GPU for $1349.00 before tax. The machine could be upgraded to 32 GB of memory and I could install a second SSD which I did, so the total cost of the machine is around $1670.00. I find the machine nice and fast. This machine also has a lot of ports including three USB 3 Type A, one Type C, Gigabit Ethernet, mini Display Port and an HDMI as well as an SD card reader. When I use my machine I use two of the ports, one for a mouse because I don't like trackpads and a second for an XQD card reader.

Looking at the cost of an Apple's M1 offerings, a MacBook Air in the same configuration would cost $1649.00 and a MacBook Pro would cost $1899.00, except in the case of the Apple machines this is the beginning of the money you would be spending. In my case when I am at home my machine is plugged into a wired network. To do that with an M1 would cost me $30.00 for the dongle and use one of the two available Thunderbolt ports. To add an SD or XQD card reader would use the second Thunderbolt port meaning if I wanted to use a wired mouse, I would have to look at buying a Thunderbolt hub just so I can make the M1 laptop(s) usable the way I use a laptop. For people who buy a laptop so they can edit on the road, that means you will be carrying around cables and dongles in order to get your work done, and I haven't got to the storage issue. If you want more storage than the M1's offer, you are now looking at an external SSD and yet another dongle!!!

I don't see the benefits of owning or using an M1 other than cool styling, light weight, long battery life and macOS. While I use UNIX and Linux at work, it really doesn't impact me for my personal computing needs. Windows as an operating system is just fine and the applications I need, Photoshop, Premiere Pro and Photo Mechanic are readily available and run just fine. I don't see Apple products as competitive against PC laptops if you are looking for maximum bang for your bucks.

Finally, the issue of benchmark results against a Mac Pro. I find this interesting how multiple people have tested M1's against Mac Pro workstations that have the ability to have terabytes of storage installed in them and high performance I/O options faring not so well against consumer grade hardware. Considering how I use machines of a Mac Pro's caliber at work to backup terabytes of data daily (Dell Xeon based servers running RedHat Enterprise Linux and Veritas NetBackup) I would love to see detailed configuration data of the Mac Pro's in order to understand why they don't perform better.

Roc Wurst's picture

You’re missing the point Robert. We’re not talking about all the possibly valid but peripheral issues you raise.

The amazing thing is that these cheaper, bottom of the range M1-powered Apple laptops are close to the performance of this top end gaming laptop while still delivering vastly more battery life, much better thermal performance, lighter weight, significantly less memory requirements etc.

It raises the question of just how much Apple’s upcoming more expensive, high end M1x powered laptops will blow PC laptops like this Gigabyte unit out of the water when they arrive later this year.

That is what has Intel running scared.

Terry Holderbaum's picture

“ light weight, long battery life”

This is my thing. I am a Windows sysadmin who travels from site to site, sometimes unpredictably. In my use case, lightweight, and long battery life trumps most other concerns. Comparing the M1 in any current configuration to a battlestation is besides the point.

Here is the point. Where is the version of this gigabyte laptop that beats the MacBook M1 while also being less than 3 pounds (including charger) and having a practical 10-12 hour battery life while also costing $1200?

I will wait.

Now if travel weight and battery life were not my primary concerns, then yes. I can find faster computers. But for this application they completely are.

Greg Wilson's picture

The new M1 Air is absolutely insane. Whole day of video calls, coding and management work and still 40% of battery after 8 hours! I don't think the previous-gen PC is able to provide this kind of experience.

Mihnea Stoian's picture

Please keep in mind that Apple only replaced their ENTRY-LEVEL Air, Pro and Mini with the M1 chip offerings, and are still selling Intel versions alongside. These models, as launched and where in the product line they are, are NOT meant for professional use, yet here we all are comparing them to high-end Intel/AMD offerings because of what they can actually achieve. This to me speaks volumes as to where this architecture is going.
I sold my X1 Carbon with an i9 Intel CPU and got the basic Air while I wait for the M1X/M2 Pro models to come out, and have come to seriously think about exactly how much more I need, when this - the ENTRY-LEVEL model can already do so much! Yes, it doesn't have the strongest GPU capabilities, and yes, 2 ports (really, apple?!), but it's more than a match for a Dell 15 with discrete GPU, completely silent (no fan to speak of), and with the Lenovo thunderbolt dock I have left over from the X1, it connects to everything in one cable (something the X1 sucked at, still).
I'm just a desk-jockey by day and infrequent photographer by night, so my needs are definitely not the same as a seasoned pro, but then again, if you're a photo editor, then don't get a laptop as your main computer ;)

Terry Holderbaum's picture

Here is what I am going to say about this. The key metric to me is shoulder weight. Meaning, how much does the laptop and the things I need to bring along weigh?

For my current Windows laptop, that’s a 5.5 pound laptop, accompanied by a 1 pound charger because the battery life lasted just 3.5 hours new. After 2 years it is practically 1.5 hours.

For my MacBook Air, that’s a 2.7 pound laptop, with an actual observed 12 hour battery life. If I want to bring the charger, that’s another .4 pounds.

Can you beat it? Yes for some criteria. But the total package, on every bullet point? no not even close.

Look at it this way. Apple will still sell you MacBook pros and Airs with intel. But aside from additional ports and the desire to drive multiple 4K usb c displays, why would you ever buy them, when the M1 spanks them raw? And if ports and displays are your thing, then Apple is likely to address that in the next month or so.

AJ L's picture

I have a Dell XPS 15. Great laptop. Fantastic for photo editing. The 4K display has excellent gamut, the 4-core i7 is more than enough and it has a Geforce card. But I bought an M1 Air too, for the same reason you give - it takes several pounds off my shoulder when I'm on the go for work. The battery lasts all day, and if I want a charger for backup I can bring a combo USB that does my phone too because the computer only wants 30 watts.