Apple M2 On Linux Performance Against AMD Zen 4 Mobile SoCs

Written by Michael Larabel in Computers on 21 July 2023 at 05:00 PM EDT. Page 1 of 7. 98 Comments.

The most common request from my recent ROG Ally benchmarking with the Ryzen Z1 SoC and also the Ryzen 7 7840U laptop SoC testing has been wanting to know how these Zen 4 mobile processors compete with Apple's M2 on Linux. Well, for those curious, here are some initial performance figures of the Apple M2 in a MacBook Air running Asahi Linux up against the AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme and Ryzen 7 7840U SoCs on Linux.

M2 MacBook Air and AMD laptops

It's worth prefacing with the (Asahi) Linux support for the Apple M2 and Apple Silicon in general remains a work-in-progress not officially supported by Apple. Asahi Linux on the MacBook Air with Apple M2 is quite usable while the Linux graphics driver support remains one of the key areas still very much a work in progress. The newer M2 Ultra / Max / Pro Apple devices are further behind in their Linux support at this time. For those wanting to run Linux on Apple M1/M2 hardware, the best route is going with the downstream Asahi Linux distribution. Those wanting to find out about particular Linux support for Apple Silicon features can see the Asahi Wiki page. The latest Asahi Linux updates were tested on this MacBook Air for providing the best possible Linux showing on this device.

These AMD Zen 4 SoCs were compared to the Apple M2 in a MacBook Air simply as that's what I had available. Additionally, it's the MacBook Air / M2 with 8GB of system memory while the other devices had 16GB of memory for reference. Due to budget constraints (thanks, ad-block users...) that's all that is available for this comparison. So take these results as you wish for a rough/quick comparison of the M2 against the Zen 4 mobile SoCs on hand.

M2 MacBook Air with Asahi Linux

Additionally, there isn't yet any PowerCap/RAPL or HWMON type driver for the Apple M2 to be able to expose the real-time CPU/SoC power consumption data under Linux... So unfortunately no performance-per-Watt metrics to share in this article today. Too bad as the power consumption comparison and performance-per-Watt to these AMD Zen 4 SoCs would have been quite interesting but hopefully that will change in the future. Monitoring the AC wall power meanwhile isn't too accurate considering the very different devices at hand.

Apple M2 vs. AMD Ryzen 7 7840U vs. Ryzen Z1 Extreme Benchmarks

In any event for those wanting a rough idea of the Apple M2 performance against the Ryzen Z1 Extreme (tested in both the balanced and "performance" ACPI Platform Profile modes) plus the Ryzen 7 7840U within the Acer Swift Edge 16, these benchmarks today are for satisfying that curiosity.

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