Initially surprising news based on testing suggests that Apple’s original Silicon M1 Pro chip may actually outperform the latest M3 Pro when running popular DAWs including Ableton, Pro Tools, and even Apple’s own Logic.
The issue seems to be that the latest chipset is not being fully utilised by these pieces of software, but it’s very interesting to see that this might actually result in worse performance than on an M1 Pro.
Of course, everyone’s setup is different and results will vary considerably based on many factors including the exact system, memory, plugins and other software being used, and so on.
Apple’s M3 Pro chips are not simply sped-up versions of previous Silicon versions, but the architecture has been changed again. Because of two different types of core — energy saving and high-performance — it may be that although there can be greater energy efficiency, there may also be a dip in overall performance if settings aren’t tweaked, or software doesn’t currently take advantage of the new architecture.
It’s probably not something most musicians, recording engineers, producers and other pros really want to be thinking about on top of everything else. It’s not unreasonable to presume that a more modern, faster chip will perform better across the board.
It seems some DAWs were already set up to utilise additional cores, including Reaper and Cubase, so it’s highly likely that this is something which can be updated in due course. It’s a little surprising that Apple’s own Logic Pro isn’t maxing performance on newer Silicon chips when required, but presumably this will come (if it hasn’t already — this story originally broke in late November last year.)
This may not tell the whole story and there are still plenty of tweaks which can be utilised to improve DAW performance on any system.