Intel i9-12900K vs Apple M1 Max

Intel i9-12900K is the preferred choice of gaming enthusiasts and graphics professionals. Apple M1 Max is Apple’s high-performance processor that was recently released on May 7, 2022. We look at the key factors of the performance of the Intel i9-12900K and the Apple M1 Max. The M1 Max is already being shipped on Apple notebook computers.

CPU Specifications

In terms of CPU specifications, you will notice that the i9-12900K has better processing powers and capabilities.

  • Intel i9-12900K comes with 16 cores. 8 of these are performance cores and the other 8 are efficiency cores. The performance cores can work between a frequency of 3.2 GHz to 5.10 GHz. The efficiency cores can work between 2.4 GHz to 3.9 GHz frequency.
  • Apple’s M1 Max has 10 cores. 8 are performance cores and the remaining 2 are efficiency cores. The performance cores can work between 600 MHz to 3220 MHz frequency. The efficiency cores can operate between 600-2064 GHz.
  • Intel follows the Intel 7 process for manufacturing the i9-12900K. This translates to a 10 nm process. Apple uses the more advanced 5 nm process in manufacturing the M1 Max chips.
  • Due to the more advanced manufacturing process of Apple M1 Max, Apple is able to pack 57 billion transistors on the M1 Max processor chip.
  • i9-12900K supports LGA1700 socket. This socket has 1700 pins for faster communication between the CPU and motherboard. Apple’s M1 Max has an M socket.

In terms of processor cache size, an M1 Max outscores the i9-12900K.

  • Intel i9-12900K has an L1 cache of 64 KB per core and Apple’s M1 Max has an L1 cache of 192 KB per processor core.
  • i9-12900K has an L2 cache of 14 MB. Apple M1 Max has an L2 cache of 24 MB.
  • i9-12900K has an L3 cache of 30 MB. Apple M1 Max has an L3 cache of 48 MB.

A higher cache has a remarkable impact on the efficiency of the processor. The higher number of cores on the i9-12900K is another thing that cannot be ignored.

CPU Scores

We compare the CPU scores of i9-12900K and Apple M1 Max. This offers a broad indicator of how each processor has been performing, given the fact that M1 Max is one of the fastest chips around.

  • Intel i9-12900K has a single core CPU pass mark score of 4210. Apple’s M1 Max has a single core CPU PassMark score of 3850.
  • However, things change when you take into account the higher number of cores on Intel i9-12900K. For all the 16 cores, the CPU PassMark score for i9-12900K is 41164. M1 Max has a CPU PassMark score of 22526 for all the 10 cores. You could note that the higher number of processor cores resulted in a better PassMark score for Intel i9-12900K


The total memory capacity of the Apple M1 Max is higher than I9-12900K.

  • i9-12900K can support 2 memory channels. Each memory bank can be 64 MB in size. Therefore, an i9-12900K can support a maximum RAM of 128 GB. Apple M1 Max comes with 64 GB of internal memory. The Apple M1 Max can support up to 8 memory channels. This effectively implies that the M1 Max can support a maximum memory of up to 512 GB. Apple’s M1 Max blows out the Intel i9-12900K when it comes to memory capacity.
  • i9-12900K supports DDR5 RAM 4800 MHz memory and the Apple M1 Max supports DDR5 RAM 6400 MHz. This makes for a faster RAM throughput on the M1 Max chip.
  • i9-12900K can achieve a maximum memory bandwidth of 76.8 GBps. An Apple M1 Max can easily achieve a memory bandwidth of up to 400 GBps. Apple M1 Max, clearly, outdoes the i9-12900K in terms of memory bandwidth.
  • i9-12900K can support ECC RAM; M1 Max does not support ECC RAM.

The memory or RAM performance of an M1 Max is definitely better than the i9-12900K.

Display Specifications

  • i9-12900K comes with integrated graphics that are based on Intel UHD 770.
  • The GPU’s base to Turbo frequency range for i9-12900K is 350-1550 MHz.
  • Apple M1 Max comes with 32 core GPU.
  • M1 Max’s base to Turbo frequency lies between 450-1296 MHz.
  • At 60 Hz, an M1 Max can give a maximum display resolution of 6016 x 3384. The max display resolution on i9-12900K is 7680 x 4320. 
  • i9-12900K supports up to 4 display monitors.

From the perspective of gaming enthusiasts, an i9-12900K offers better display performance.

Laptop or PC

i9-12900K is a processor that has been designed for building your own PC or desktop. Apple M1 Max is a chip that goes on to the Apple Mac laptops. Overall performance of an i9-12900K based desktop will be always higher than that of the Apple M1 Max.

Power Consumption

Apple’s M1 Max is more power-efficient than the i9-12900K. It consumes 30 watts of power. i9-12900K consumes 125 W power. However, you need to factor in a few points before arriving at the actual power efficiency of an M1 Max.

  • M1 Max has a lesser number of cores. This saves power.
  • M1 Max is not a typical gaming laptop. i9-12900K is suitable for gaming enthusiasts. Gaming, generally, causes a higher power consumption.

Based on the technical specifications, you can definitely say that M1 Max is more power-efficient than an i9-12900K.


Intel i9-12900K is better than M1 Max in terms of the following:

  • a higher number of processor cores.
  • the better frequency range of the performance and efficiency cores.
  • The benchmark scores of i9-12900K are way ahead of the M1 Max.

M1 Max on the other hand boasts of better memory throughput and bandwidth.

You may also like to read more content related to Intel processors below:

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Rajesh Dhawan

Rajesh Dhawan is a technology professional who loves to blog about smart wearables, Cloud computing and Microsoft technologies. He loves to break complex problems into manageable chunks of meaningful information.