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2021 MacBook Pro M1 Max: Photoshop Filters

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MPG tested the Apple 16.2" MacBook Pro with M1 Max Chip Z14X000HR, a maxed-out model in all ways except 4TB SSD instead of the maximum 8TB SSD.


2021 MacBook Pro M1 Max

This set of tests with these Photoshop filters offers a general look at what kind of performance can be expected with commonly-used filters.

If below are out of date: view current Mac wishlist and all current OWC wishlists.

CLICK TO VIEW: Recommended Memory, Storage,etc

CLICK TO VIEW: Recommended MacBook Pro Configurations

Results: Photoshop Filters

Lens Corrections: Adaptive Wide Angle, Lens Corrections, Lens Flare
Pixellate: Color halftone, Crystalize, Facet, Mezotin, Mosaic, Pointillize
Noise: Add Noise, Despeckle, Dust and Scratches, Median, Reduce Noise
Blur: Blur Gallery
Various: Oil Paint, Emboss, Liquify
Distort: Pinch, Polar Coordinates, Ripple, Shear, Spherize, Twirl, Wave
Sharpen: Sharpen Edges, Smart Sharpen, Unsharp Mask

UPDATE: up to and into 2023, Photoshop had a lot of code optimized for M1/M2 chips and was rewritten for Apple’s Metal API, and is consistently fast on everything. See the results with the 2022 Macbook Pro M2 Max; the M2 Max is modestly faster.

The 2021 MacBook Pro M1 Max wins on every filter, so long as OpenCL is enabled.

Some filters are slightly faster witih OpenCL off, but Sharpen is hugely slower with OpenCL off. So much so that OpenCL should be left enabled.

Except that there is a nasty bug in Smart Sharpen that makes it unusable with OpenCL.

The slow Sharpen performance with OpenCL off turns shows a performance bug in Photoshop in that it is using only a single CPU core on the MBP M1 Max, versus multiple CPU cores on the Intel-based Macs. Indeed, running Photoshop in emulation as an Intel app on the MBP, the time is 3.2X faster in emulation than with native code, because most of the CPU cores get used.

As per Adobe engineering, Jan 2022:

Everything written in OpenCL is being rewritten for Metal on macOS this year. OpenCL and OpenGL are dead. I believe SmartSharpen is at the top of the list to move to Metal off of OpenCL.

Toggle to compare with OpenCL ON/OFF.

Photoshop CC filters
2021 MacBook Pro M1 Max vs 2019 iMac 5K, 2020 iMac 5K, 2019 Mac Pro
2021 MacBook Pro M1 Max
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