1) ...The last bit, those m1's are fantastic, but what type of simulations are you doing on a laptop where you are hitting walls that getting 20%+ speed improvement would be life or death?
I'm not sure I understand this question. What 20% speed improvement are you talking about? Are you asking why somebody would want an M1 MacBook Pro over an Intel MacBook Pro? Because the only comparison I know of representing a 20% increase is an M1 Mac running Intel code in Rosetta. But that assumes the only reason one is buying an M1 Mac is only for Houdini, which is a weird assumption to make. The vast majority of other apps that I use are Universal Binary which can be multiple times faster than running on Intel Macs.
Right now, running Houdini on my M1 Max MBP is fine but rendering with Karma is painful compared to anything on my PC. I haven't tried sims yet. Perhaps Redshift will be much faster if it is already optimized for Apple Silicon. Also, I've noticed some strange issue with any version of Houdini above 19.0.498 on my M1 Max MBP. After launching 19.0.531, it is speedy the first time I use it. If I quit the app and launch it again, there is a 5 second pause every time I perform any operation, such as creating a node - ANY node. Place a node, spinning lollipop for 5 seconds, Place another, pause 5 seconds, etc. It's weird. But until it is optimized for Apple Silicon and Metal it is always going to feel sluggish compared to my PC, even with only a GTX 1080ti.
And finally, I have absolute confirmation now (after reporting that bug) that Sidefx has definitely been working on a universal binary version of Houdini. The exact words include "...working closely with Apple on M1 support." I hope that's not betraying a private comment. I assume if it were meant to be kept quiet, I would have been cautioned to do so.
And like Mr. Jobs in the past, "just one more thing." I don't know about others on here who have been hoping for a universal binary of Houdini but I never once expected them to have it ready from day one. That's absurd. As I've mentioned, Adobe has been working on an After Effects universal binary, and probably since the M1 architecture was public knowledge (I'd wager even before). It still isn't ready yet well over a year later, though many of Adobe's "lesser" apps are. I'm guessing the same with Sidefx and Houdini. I'm patiently waiting. I am just happy to now know a universal binary will definitely be coming.