How Does an M1 Mac Compare to a PC for Photo and Video Work?

Apple's M1 Macs caught the attention of a lot of the industry, and while they blew old Intel Macs out of the water, PCs are still around too, of course. So, how do M1 Macs hold up against PCs for photo and video work? This great video comparison takes a look.

Coming to you from DPReview TV, this great video comparison looks at the performance between an M1 iMac and an Intel PC. In this case, the iMac is a 24-inch model with an 8-core M1 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and a 256 GB SSD, which currently retails for $1,699. The PC is a Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED model with an 11th generation i9, NVIDIA RTX 3080, and 32 GB RAM, which currently retails for about double the price of the $3,449. As you might expect, at double the price, the PC outpaces the Mac in some of the tests, but that being said, you get a larger screen (though the PC is portable, of course). Still, even though the PC sometimes outpaces the Mac, that isn't to say the Mac is a slouch; as we have seen, the M1 models offer highly impressive performance, particularly for their relative cost, and are likely all a lot of photographers and videographers need. Check out the video above for the full rundown. 

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Stuart C's picture

Not really into the inevitable pissing contest that accompanies any Mac v PC debate… but as a dual user who has just replaced my old MacBook with an M1 MacBook Pro, I’m hugely impressed.

Oh and the much maligned Touch Bar is actually fantastic.

This is exciting time’s for computing if this performance is to become the standard, even on lower end machines.

S M's picture

Man I really wish I had this kind of response to the M1 lineup. I am literally returning the MacBook Pro, completely specked out, tomorrow because how slow it was with Lightroom and Photoshop compared to my 40gb ram iMac from 2017. I'll probably jump back in with the 16 inch MacBook Pro is released with hopefully more ram. But I was way less impressed than I thought I would be.

Stuart C's picture

I don’t use Adobe products so can’t comment on their performance, but Capture One (20 running on Rosetta) and Affinity photo have been a revelation. I dare say the optimised version will be even better but I’m not upgrading just yet.

I didn’t even realise I could do things like update the luma range on a mask in real time, because it was that slow on my old machine.

I guess if you have a fully specced iMac with that much RAM installed then you’re not going to see much difference, if at all. I’ve been using a fairly modest MacBook Pro from 2015 so it’s a 100% upgrade.

Luca Santirocco's picture

I have an M1 and a PC (3700-6900-64gb-nvme all for 2200$) and it's day and night.
Simply the M1 can't be compared to PC with CaptureOne, Resolve or Adobe Collection.
I'll wait an M2 but for now I can suggest M1 only to people who want to stay in Apple ecosystem

Stuart C's picture

I can only speak from personal experience, which is what I am doing, Capture One 20 running through Rosetta performs admirably, even with a 24” 4K monitor and Wacom tablet attached, my laptop is still flying.

You may not feel the same and that’s fine, but as I said, I’m just speaking from personal experience of how I’ve been using it.

AJ L's picture

Leave him be. Here’s one of these anti Apple reverse-fanboy kids trying to rile you up.

Stuart C's picture

Yes, a look at the previous comments seem to suggest something might be a miss.

Stuart C's picture


S M's picture

Thanks for the response Stuart. Maybe now is the time for me to make the move over to CaptureOne and Affinity Pro. Adobe is sucking the life out of me

Stuart C's picture

No probs, I don’t want to get drawn into bitching about Adobe as I’ve never used it so don’t feel it would be right. I have however seen a lot of people who do use it growing more frustrated and I’ve also read that they keep lumping changes onto their old base architecture that isn’t optimised for use on modern systems.

I started about 4yrs ago as a photographer with just Affinity photo as a cheap way of getting editing software, I soon realised just how powerful it is and I wouldn’t change it now. I then added Capture One after I got a good deal on the perpetual license, and when I got to the skill level of properly editing RAW files, then doing final touches in Affinity. I use the edit with plugin to round trip between the two and it works pretty well for me.

As far as video editing goes, I haven’t done loads but I used my partners teacher discount to get the Apple software suite so Final Cut Pro does everything I ever need and more.

Fabrizio Russo's picture

I think the comparison is not balanced, in order to make a realistic test I think that the windows PC must have an i7 (10th or 11th generation) with 16Gb of RAM and not 32.

Stuart C's picture

I think it’s brilliant… not because I like people comparing Macs and PCs, it’s just a really easy way to prove who all non photographer computer nerds are on sites like DPreview and Fujirumors etc.

You know the ones, they claim to ‘need’ all these features or they are ‘switching to Sony’ or they claim A is ‘blowing B out of the water’…. Yet weirdly they will never show anybody evidence they have ever clicked a shutter.

These wars are a blessing, because the chameleons all lose their camouflage.

Sam Sims's picture

I love all the desperados getting impatient that the Sony A7IV hasn’t been announced yet. It’s as if their current camera(s) is suddenly no good anymore. My A7III will be good enough for me for years to come.

Stuart C's picture

Yep, and funnily enough my X-T2 is still creating great pictures even after both the T2 and T4 made it completely irrelevant… imagine my shock when the on/off button still worked the day after those other cameras were released

chris bryant's picture

Didn't you know when a new camera is announced all current ones are immediately useless and obsolete. And who wants to use obsolete equipment?

Sam Sims's picture

Mac and PC both have good and bad points. Sadly Mac have had quite a few bad points in recent years, most notably hard wiring in components so there’s no chance to upgrade hardware later. PC’s can run into more hardware compatibility problems (especially when upgrading Windows) but there’s more choice between multiple PC brands. Apple have an all in one closed system which is great for reliability but if they’re not providing Pro M1 spec’ed Macs, people are stuck.

Saying that I got a spec’ed out Mac Mini earlier this year and so far with Capture One it has been working extremely well. Just a shame the 16Gb ram cannot be further upgraded later.

Greg Edwards's picture

I don't have an issue with most of the hardware being "hardwired" or soldered. It does mean paying the "apple tax" for extra ram up front, but it's not so bad.

However, I really, really wish they wouldn't use glued-in batteries. The specs of my 2015 15" mpb are still great, but getting the battery replaced this year was a royal PITA, not to mention expensive.

I'd be more than happy to sacrifice a little weight and slimness for an easily replaceable battery.

L B's picture

Current M1 devices are a very nice performance upgrade from previous Apple intel consumer devices. Heavily lifting still requires pro level specs none of which are in any of the current M1 apple products. No matter Youtube hype, those that need real horsepower with the new Apple SOC technology should wait until the next round of M1 machines come out. Whoever thought 8GB of M1 integrated ram was the new 64GB ram is watching way too much Youtube.

Stuart C's picture

Correct, but for the 99% of people who are editing photos that don’t need ‘real horsepower’, these M1 devices will provide everything they need and more, me being one of them.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

--- "Whoever thought 8GB of M1 integrated ram was the new 64GB ram is watching way too much Youtube."

I'm pretty sure you just made this up. No proper reviewer would have made that statement.

Timothy Roper's picture

It wasn't that long ago that some were speculating that Apple would abandon the desktop market altogether, starting with their "pro" models. So for anyone who was worried about that, we can breathe a sigh of relief. The M1 (and beyond) looks fantastic.

Greg Edwards's picture

Not mac vs PC, but Luke Miani did a real life comparison of the base model M1 iMac vs the vastly more expensive intel iMac Pro recently. The M1 performed quite well, all things considered.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

M1 keeps getting compared to machines (PC and other Macs) costing twice as much.

The fan noise from Chris's PC is ridiculously loud.