Lab – Apple MacBook Pro M1 vs PC: what performance on battery?

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Judit Llordes
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Apple proclaims loud and clear that its new MacBook Pro M1 Pro and Max do not suffer any loss of performance when running on battery power. We wanted to check by putting them against PCs equipped with Intel, AMD and Nvidia GeForce.



Apple MacBook Pro 16 2021 (M1 Pro 10/16)


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  • Fnac.com 2 749,99
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  • Cdiscount 2
  • Top Buy 2
  • LDLC 2 758,96
  • Materiel.net 2 758,96
  • eBay 2 749,00
  • Amazon 2 979,00
  • Boulanger.com 2
  • Rakuten 2 979,00
  • Macway 2 979,00
  • Ubaldi 2 979,00
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  • Darty.com 2 979,99
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How the Lenovo Legion Slim 7 15ACH6 (RTX 3060, AMD Ryzen 9) Pricing Chart Works


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We have just passed the M1 Pro SoCs and AMD Ryzen 9 and Intel Core i9 processors on our test bench to compare them. Apple has hit hard by coming to compete with the best models of the competition, even if some software is not in its favor.


However, we know that the performance of Intel/AMD processors and Nvidia graphics cards drops when a computer is running on battery power. Apple maintains that its new MacBook Pro 14 and 16 suffer no loss in this sense, which would upset the habits of users by offering them much more mobility.

So we wanted to check if Apple's claims are accurate and how badly the performance of laptops is affected when unplugged from their power outlet. For this article, we used the same computers as before, namely:

  • A Lenovo Legion 7S equipped with an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX processor, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card and 32 GB of RAM
  • An MSI Z16 Creator with an Intel Core i9-11980HK, an RTX 3060 also and 32 GB of RAM
  • An Apple MacBook Pro 16 M1 Pro (10 CPU cores and 16 GPU cores) with 32 GB of RAM


The Legion 7S under CineBench R23.

Apple vs AMD vs Intel

In all the tests we conducted, the Lenovo Legion 7S and the MSI Creator Z16 were largely impacted while running on battery power. Synthetic benchmark scores are 20-40% lower for AMD, while processing times in real 3D, video or photo applications are about 20-35% longer. On the Intel PC, it's a little better with some software and worse with others. Losses are also high with working times rising by 15 to 55%.



In synthetic benchmarks, the scores are significantly lower on battery power for the MSI and the Lenovo.

If we compare the processing times by activating hardware acceleration on Blender, Premiere and Photoshop, it's even worse. The Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics cards work in slow motion and we go in the worst case from around 5 min of processing on Premiere with the Lenovo Legion to almost 25 min (i.e. 446% increase)! It therefore seems that unlike the MSI Z16 Creator, the Lenovo Legion hardly takes advantage of its GPU on Premiere by being unplugged, a driver problem or a deliberate desire by Lenovo to save battery power.


By running on battery, the MacBook Pro does not budge.

At Apple, the results are so close on battery and unplugged (not even 1% difference in the majority of cases) that we can consider that the difference is not significant. Calculating our overall CPU index shows how unplugging the different models affects performance.



Intel and AMD PCs perform much worse when unplugged.

For those who would like more details on the results obtained, here is the detail for each software:

10 images

Autonomy in intensive use

Secondly, we evaluated the autonomy of these PCs and Macs in a full stress test on CineBench R23. Because if Apple laptops do not slow down, it seems interesting to us to see if this has a greater impact on autonomy than for laptops. Here are our results:


The MacBook Pro M1 is doing better and without losing performance.

Compared to our two test PCs, the MacBook Pro 16 M1 Pro lasts just half an hour longer, which is appreciable. A result that is all the more interesting since, as we have demonstrated, this is also done with performance similar to that obtained on the mains, which is not the case with portable PCs. So, obviously, the autonomy as such is not huge, the MacBook Pro having lasted only a little more than two hours, or about eight times less than in classic use (video, navigation). But we must not lose sight of the fact that this is an extreme use case that is not necessarily representative of “professional” use on the move. However, this makes it possible to consider using the device for half a day for use combining heavy tasks and conventional tasks, without the need for a nearby electrical outlet.


The three computers in full stress test.

Apple winner by KO

We have to give back to Caesar what is Caesar's: Apple has succeeded in the daring bet of offering performance equivalent to its MacBook Pro M1 Pro (and a fortiori M1 Max), whether they are used on battery power or plugged into the mains. The Californian giant thus puts an end to a quarrel which opposed Intel and AMD on the ground of who would have the least loss of performance on battery and clearly imposes itself on this aspect. A great victory which is also accompanied by an autonomy which, if it takes a serious blow, remains clearly superior to the laptops tested here.

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