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Author Topic: Mac M3 chip  (Read 1225 times)

PierreD

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Mac M3 chip
« on: May 15, 2024, 05:25:44 AM »
Hi,

Does anyone have any experience using Metashape with Mac's new M3 chip?

I'm in market for a new computer and I am considering a MacBook Pro with M3 max and 64gb ram.
Should I spend the extra $$$ and go for 128gb ram?

Looking forward to read your opinions.

Bzuco

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Re: Mac M3 chip
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2024, 02:28:06 PM »
At the cost of M3 max 64GB you can have at least twice as fast PC.
Otherwise, M3 chips have much better Memory bandwidth for CPU tasks in comparison with PC, but in GPU tasks are behind.
Projects, which would need 128GB RAM, are better to compute on PCs.
It would be waste of money invest another 64GB of RAM in macbook.

PierreD

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Re: Mac M3 chip
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2024, 06:35:37 PM »
Thank you for your input Bzuco.
I was afraid you were going to say that, I am not looking forwards to going back to Windows... but I get it.

RHenriques

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Re: Mac M3 chip
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2024, 04:38:09 PM »
I've Just bought an M3Max portable (40 GPU cores version) and the performance it's incredible.
You get the same performance, no matter you are using the machine connected or in battery power.
It beats easily a Laptop PC with an Nvidia RTX 4090 (by a wide margin). I guess that the reason is the Apple integrated a lot better al the components without bandwidth constraints between them. The PC seems to stop a few times while the processing in the M3Max is constantly happening. In Point Cloud generation, for instance, things are more or less on pair between Nvidia 4090 and the M3Max (with a slight advantage in the max) while generating depth maps. However, when the processor is required for the second step, the M3Max beats the PC processor by a wide margin, speeding up all the processing time.
So far I'm amazed at the performance of this new apple machine. I honestly didn't expect it to be so fast. I think that if Agisoft improves a few steps and optimizes the processing for MacosX and this hardware, things could get even better.
You can, of course, get better processing times in a powerful desktop machine with several GPU's. However, considering that this is a portable machine, it's impressive. And, even better, the machine stays cool and fans barely startup.
I have 128 GB of Ram.
What Bzuco said about double performance on a PC may not be correct but my own experience, testing two top machines (Mac and PC), but, as he said, your wallet will cry with added Ram.
Cheers

The PC used to compare was a ASUS ROG Strix SCAR with 32GB of RAM and a Geforce RTX 4090 and a Ryzen 9 7945HX3D CPU, with a price around $3700
« Last Edit: May 17, 2024, 04:46:19 PM by RHenriques »

Bzuco

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Re: Mac M3 chip
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2024, 11:01:09 AM »
I was taking into account only desktop PC as the topic was more universal about Mac M3 chip.
If portability is very important, then I agree, products with Mac M3 chip are great, thanks to RAM bandwidth which is ~3-5.5x higher than on any PC(desktop/notebook). But the prices are  :-\.
At the cost of one M3 max 128GB, two custom desktop PCs can be built.

PierreD

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Re: Mac M3 chip
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2024, 12:00:19 AM »
Thank you RHenriques and Bzuco for taking the time to reply to my inquiries, this is precious information.

Yes, portability is paramount, I am constantly on the road.
I am still on the fence and undecided regarding getting a Macbook or a PC laptop.

I am currently looking at a MSI Titan gaming laptop with a i9-13980HX and a RTX 4090 with 128GB and 4TB SSD. It's an open box so I can get a fairly good deal on it (about 4000 USD).
I feel this could do the trick, however I rather go with the M3Max if the performances are comparable to a PC laptop, even at the extra cost.

What are your thoughts?
I am getting my feet wet in the business and I greatly appreciate your input.


RHenriques

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Re: Mac M3 chip
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2024, 03:29:07 PM »
Hi Pierre

From my tests, while the machines were connected, the performance was more or less similar. The PC was similar while generating Depth Maps and, sometimes, seemed to be quicker. However, the M3Max seems to never stop while the PC seemed to freeze processing once in a while, probably related with information transfer among components. This gave an edge to the M3Max because, in the end, the processing was faster in the M3max overall, sometimes by more than 15 to 20% of the time. However, using the machine only in Battery power, there's no match for the M3Max. The processing in this machine is similar while connected or not connected to wall power. The PC was a lllloooooottttttt slower in battery power. I guess that both CPU and GPU uses a lot of throttling techniques to spare battery power at the expense of processing power. In this case (using battery power) I guess that there is no Laptop in the market today that can match the M3Max and the 3nm circuit technology (very thermal efficient).
Be aware that, despite lots os benchmarks that you can find in the internet, the benchmarks that matter are the ones we use in our workflow. Considering this, I went for the M3Max and, for now, the choice seemed to be correct. A matte acquired an M3Pro and the processing times in Metashape are a lot slower, more or less 30 to 40% the times we can observe in the M3Max. For this reason, if you choose a Mac for this purpose, the M3Max is the way to go for now. If you see in the internet, the percentages of lots of benchmarks between M3Max and M3pro do not reflect this difference and lead people to think that they have almost similar benchmarks.
Cheers

ruudstelten

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Re: Mac M3 chip
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2024, 04:01:26 PM »
I'm wondering if Metashape can already support GPU-based texturing on Apple Silicon chips? So far, I have not had any luck with that on my M1 macbook pro. It always uses just the CPU for texturing, and does so extremely slow... Am I missing something?

RHenriques

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Re: Mac M3 chip
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2024, 09:07:55 PM »
Hello ruudstelten

I've just tested and the GPU is not being used in the texturing step in the M3Max also. This is one of those refinements that Agisoft must make to make an already outstanding piece of software even better on Apple Silicon.
Cheers

Bzuco

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Re: Mac M3 chip
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2024, 07:57:16 PM »
If the MSI model is GT77, then it has good cooling solution, 4 fans, 8 heat pipes and plenty of exhausts. That is very good starting point for performance and especially if you do undervolting.
With process of undervolting(very useful for notebooks) you can set the lowest voltage for CPU and GPU chip which will result in much lower power consumption and that means you can set CPU/GPU at higher frequencies, because the only limit for modern chips is the temperature.
Undervolting GPU is easy with MSI Afterburner utility. For Intel CPUs you can use Intel Extreme Tuning Utility.
Why I am mentioning undervoltig is the fact, that manufacturers are keeping voltages on higher values than is necessary which is resulting in throttling and low performance on notebook.

What RHenriques is mentioning about not constant processing and freezing on PC, that is also caused by low photo resolutions during generating depth maps. I mentioned the problem in this topic https://www.agisoft.com/forum/index.php?topic=15585.msg67769#msg67769
.
It is also caused by loading small piece of data at once to GPU(GPU memory can hold much more data at once, devs could look on this). MAC M3 system is better on this, because GPU shares with the CPU the same memory, so no transfer data needed. But as you can see from my screenshot in that topic, higher resolution can utilize much better the GPU.
Second help if you are using metashpe pro is, you can create several local network instances and utilize all components almost all the time. So it is not something which cannot be resolved :). More in this topic: https://www.agisoft.com/forum/index.php?topic=16384.0

If you do not want to touch that undervolting, at least for GPU, then maybe it would be better for you Macbook, but you know, 2000+$ more is a lot.

PierreD

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Re: Mac M3 chip
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2024, 04:40:15 AM »
Yes, it is the MSI GT77, and I placed an order for it today. Should get it in a week or so.

Thx for the tip regarding undervolting GPU's and CPU's Bzuco. I had no idea it could be done.
I've leaned so much on this forum and I can't wait to download Metashape and start tinkering with it.

Cheers gentlemen,
and please, keep posting. This is good stuff!