All my recent Stable Diffusion XL experiments have been on my Windows PC instead of my M2 mac, because it has a faster Nvidia 2060 GPU with more memory. But today, I’m curious to see how much faster diffusion has gotten on a M-series mac (M2 specifically).

Some recent innovations have improved the performance of Stable Diffusion derived models on M-series (M1/M2/M3) macs:

Let’s see if CoreML models are the fastest...

BTW, I know there are LCM LoRAs, but the inputs and the outputs are wildly different than with the original model. So, I can’t test them with the same number of steps or sampler-scheduler, so any comparison would not be meaningful.

Installing ComfyUI Core ML Suite

If you have been following my series, you already know how to install SDXL with ComfyUI.

If not, here is the script. I am using the version of Python that comes installed on macOS Sonoma 14.1.1, which is Python 3.9.6.

I also install cg-quicknodes, which is a simple widget that displays the startup time, the time spent on each node, and the total time of each run.

In a working folder, execute these commands (when using zsh delete the # comment lines, whereas bash will happily ignore them):

# get ComfyUI
git clone
cd ComfyUI
# create virtual environment and install required libraries
python3 -m venv v
source v/bin/activate
pip install -r requirements.txt
pip install torchvision
# get ComfyUI-CoreMLSuite and install required libraries
cd custom_nodes
git clone
cd ComfyUI-CoreMLSuite
pip install -r requirements.txt
cd ..
# get cg-quicknodes
git clone
cd ../..

Download Models

I’ll be using coreml-SSD-1B_8bit which is only trained at one resolution, 768x768.

  1. Download the file and extract.
  2. Copy the folder Unet.mlmodelc to ComfyUI’s models/unet folder.
  3. I rename the folder to ssd-1b.768x768.mlmodelc for clarity, but this is optional.

Currently, ComfyUI-CoreMLSuite can only load the UNet model, but not the Text Encoder or VAE .mlmodelc files. Instead I use the original files from the original SSD-1B model - I’m downloading the half precision float16 (fp16) versions mainly to save disk space, but I think CoreML will convert to float32 (fp32) anyway, so perhaps you prefer to get that version. More on this later...

  1. Download the first text encoder text_encoder/model.fp16.safetensors...
  2. Save it to models/clip and rename e.g. to ssd1b-clip.fp16.safetensors.
  3. Download the second text encoder text_encoder_2/model.ftp16.safetensors...
  4. Save it to models/clip and rename e.g. to ssd1b-clip2.fp16.safetensors.
  5. Download the VAE vae/diffusion_pytorch_model.fp16.safetensors...
  6. Save it to models/vae and rename e.g. to ssd1b-vae.fp16.safetensors.

Finally, start python --force-fp16 or just python for the fp16 and fp32 versions respectively. Then open your browser to

Fixing an CoreMLSuite Error

I am using the version of Core ML Suite for ComfyUI with files last edited on 25 Nov 2023.

If you, like me, encounter this error, then I have the fix for you:

File "/ComfyUI/custom_nodes/ComfyUI-CoreMLSuite/coreml_suite/", line 318, in <module>
    lora_weights: list[tuple[str | os.PathLike, float]] = None,
TypeError: unsupported operand type(s) for |: 'type' and 'ABCMeta'

Edit the file custom_nodes/ComfyUI-CoreMLSuite/coreml_suite/ Search for this block and edit the code on line 318:

def convert(
    ckpt_path: str,
    model_version: ModelVersion,
    unet_out_path: str,
    batch_size: int = 1,
    sample_size: tuple[int, int] = (64, 64),
    controlnet_support: bool = False,
    lora_weights: list[tuple[str | os.PathLike, float]] = None,
    attn_impl: str =,
    config_path: str = None,

Remove the | os.PathLike bit, i.e. all you need is:

    lora_weights: list[tuple[str, float]] = None,

Save, then stop Control+C and re-start ComfyUI.

ComfyUI Workflow

Create the workflow below:

  • Use the new CoreML node CoreMLUNetLoader to load the CoreML model - in terms of the compute_unit setting, from fastest to slowest is ALL, CPU_AND_GPU, CPU_AND_NE and finally CPU_ONLY (the last two are ~7-8x slower).
  • Since the UNet does not include the text encoders or VAE, use the DualCLIPLoader and VAELoader respectively - from my testing, getting the clip swapped makes no difference.
  • And finally, do not use the standard KSamplerAdvanced node - instead, use the new CoreMLSamplerAdvanced node in its place.

Wire up and configure the rest similar to a standard ComfyUI workflow for SDXL.

ComfyUI with CoreMLSuite model, Text Encoders and VAE loaders

Using SDXL Base Baked-In Text Encoders and VAE

Having to download separate Text Encoder and VAE files and selecting the correct ones will be a pain...

But from what I can tell, falling back to either the original Stable Diffusion XL Base 1.0 sd_xl_base_1.0_0.9vae.safetensors or SSD-1B SSD-1B.safetensors, both work just as well. There is a slight performance penalty with this method compared to the previous, but at least I conserve disk space, since I already have the standard SDXL and SSD-1B model .safetensors files.

If you prefer this, then use the standard CheckpointLoaderSimple clip and vae outputs, and just ignore model.

ComfyUI with CoreMLSuite using only model loaders

Quick and Dirty Performance Comparison

I am too lazy to do an in-depth test, but here is what I did. All tests use the configuration with the same starting seed and batch size of 2 for three runs with 10 steps, dpmpp_2m karras and CFG 8.0. After each set, I re-start ComfyUI. This way, the first run is always the longest since it involves loading the model, and the next 2 runs use cached data, with only the seed incremented.

The relative speed is the percentage of time taken based on the total output from cg-quicknodes, relative to the original SDXL Base fp32 test.

Model Relative Speed Comments
SDXL Base fp32 100% SDXL produces the best and more varied images...
SDXL Base fp16 14.62% ... but fp16 produces images with no noticable differences
CoreML SSD-1B + Model SSD-1B fp32 11.61% Loading both CoreML and standard SSD-1B model is slower...
CoreML SSD-1B + Model SSD-1B fp16 11.54% ... (with no significant difference between the fp16 and fp32 versions)...
CoreML SSD-1B fp32 10.27% ... than loading separate Text Encoders and VAE
CoreML SSD-1B fp16 10.32% CoreML is about the same comparing fp16 and fp32
SSD-1B fp32 10.33% This seems close the speed using either CoreML SSD-1B fp16 or fp32...
SSD-1B fp16 8.29% ... but standard SSD-1B at half-precision is the fastest by a noticable margin!

Alas, the CoreML version is not faster than the default for this specific SSD-1B model. But at least, SSD-1B is ~60% faster than SDXL.

So, my 2 cents... though mine is too small a sample set to make any definitive conclusions!

  • SSD-1B at fp16 precision is the fastest model, cutting the time taken by a factor of 10 compared to SDXL fp32!
  • Compared to SDXL fp16 though, SSD-1B fp16 takes only about 57% the time, but SDXL Base produces significantly better and more varied images for me - SSD-1B is biased towards rather boring forward facing portrait close ups as in the example below.
  • CoreML SSD-1B is probably padding to fp32 and is about as fast as SSD-1B fp32... you can test if CoreML is faster for you, but it seems insignificant.
  • Leveraging the CoreML model with the SSD-1B model’s baked in Text Encoders and VAE is slightly slower than loading the Text Encoders and VAE individually.

The set on the left is from SDXL Base 1.0, the one on the right is from SSD-1B, all being equal. Which would you rather?

SDXL Base 1.0 vs SSD-1B