What is the Apple M1 Chip?

M1 is the first-ever, specifically designed chip for Mac. It is engineered using innovative 5-nanometer process technology and 16 billion transistors that deliver dramatically improved efficiency and unmatched performance. 

The chip houses the fastest CPU core, the world’s fastest integrated graphics, most advanced machine learning, and best CPU performance/watt. This allows M1 to deliver up to –

  • 3.5x faster CPU performance. 
  • 6x faster GPU performance. 
  • 15x faster machine learning. 
  • 2x longer battery life compared to preceding Macs. 

Why did Apple Introduce the M1 Chip?

Nothing can answer this as much as the quote, “Necessity is the Mother of Innovation.” The best thing about technology is that it keeps evolving. With the release of the M1 chip, Apple moved closer to its vision of building a unified ecosystem that’s secure and powerful. 

Tim Cook (Apple CEO) further announced that all the apps would be soon developed to support all the devices. This will further enhance the security and privacy of users across Apple devices. It’s undoubtedly a significant step for the company. 

Apple M1 Architecture

Most of the computer and laptop processors use CISC (Complex instruction set computer) architecture. Intel developed this architecture and it can perform multiple instructions in one cycle alone. On the other hand smartphones, tablets use RISC (Reduced instruction set computer) and most of the processors that use RISC are built using the architecture of ARM. ARM is a semiconductor company that has headquarters in Cambridge, England. 

Until now Intel MacBook was using the CISC. CISC consists of two architectures namely instruction set architecture and microarchitecture. While launching each generation of chipsets, Intel refines the microarchitecture and reduces the size of each transistor inside the processor in order to enhance performance. But the Apple M1 chipset is using the architecture of ARM. Again ARM is not relatively a new architecture to Apple. Because bionic chipsets power iPhones, iPads are built using the architecture of ARM. 

Not only Apple, other systems on chip (SOC) manufacturers like Qualcomm, MediaTek, and Exynos are using the architecture of ARM. Basically what these companies do is, borrow the architecture of ARM and build the components such as cores and threads according to their wish.

Apple M1: Performance

The performance of the Apple M1 Chipset is mind-boggling. The M1 MacBook did an exceptionally great job in both benchmark tests and real life. Even after deliberately using more intensive tasks like video editing, the MacBook didn’t slouch a bit even at any point in time.

The M1 MacBook comes in two variants. The variant that has 8 core CPU and 7core GPU costs less than the Pro variant which has 8 core CPU and GPU. However, differences in performance between these two variants are not very explicit. M1 has a base frequency of 3.20GHz and since it doesn’t has

With Hyperthreading support, the clock speed of the processor cannot be increased. But a processor with a clock speed over 2,50GHz is going to be a monster in real life, as it can handle everything on its way in a very effortless manner.

Let us now mention the performance of Apple M1 in the single-core benchmark test of Cinebench R23. The processor was able to score 1514 points. Usually, all kinds of processors strive really hard to score above 1000 points. But the M1 was able to accomplish this feat, even without sweating a bit. In the Multicore test, it was able to score a whopping 7760 points. It is very intimidating to see a processor which doesn’t support both Hyperthreading and Overclocking beat other Octa-core processors at their own game.

Scores of multi-core benchmark tests are a lot higher than single core because Hyper-Threading helps processors to enhance performance to a great extent.

Cinebench benchmark test uses Cinema 4 Suite software to create three-dimensional forms. Through this process, the raw processing rendering power of a chipset is determined.

Apple M1 : Battery Life

The power efficiency of a chipset plays a very prominent role in offering good battery life for a laptop. Since the M1 is built using 5-nanometre lithography, it consumes very little power. By reducing the size of each transistor, Apple is able to pack around 16 billion transistors. Since the size of these transistors is small, they will not consume much power like processors which are built using larger transistors.

Apple deserves a hearty congratulations for doing something which other companies haven’t done before. The MacBook which runs on M1 Chipset has an average battery life of more than 10 hours. While the M1 MacBook is idle, it consumes just 6.8 Watts of power.

Difference between M1 and Intel

First, let us begin by stating the major difference between Intel-powered Macs and M1-powered MacBooks. The previous-generation MacBook was great, they offered a lot of features but still, there was something blocking their real potential of the Apple MacBook.

Limitation of Intel processors bottlenecked the true potential of mac. Prior to the launch of M1, the world partially knew what Apple was about to do. There were two elements that had space for improvement. One element is Efficiency and the other element is Performance.

Out of the two elements, people thought Apple would be enhancing one element to a great extent. But things happened contrary to the expectation of people. Did Apple disappoint its fans? We all know Apple is very good at presenting what they promise. Their products have always surprised us. By launching the M1 Chipset, Apple has made a giant leap in the industry.

Currently, only two semiconductor manufacturers named Intel and Advanced Micro Devices are manufacturing Chipset for computers. Both of them use X86-64 Instruction Set Architecture. The only Microarchitecture differs for every processor.

Interesting Facts about M1 Chipset

  • M1 uses a 5-nanometre lithography process
  • This Chipset has a whopping 16 billion transistors.
  • M1 is the first computer Chipset to use the Architecture of ARM
  • Unlike most Computer microprocessors, M1 doesn’t use separate
  • components like CPU and GPU
  • Right from CPU, GPU, to RAM every component including Input/ Output Chip, Thunderbolt Controller is directly soldered on the motherboard of MacBook.
  • Tightly packing all components inside the Chipset make M1 works at unbelievable speeds.
  • Under heavy usage M1 consumes only 39W which is very less compared to computers which use Intel and AMD processors.
  • Unlike other microprocessors, Apple does not use GPU to do Machine Learning tasks. Apple uses a separate component called Neural Engine
  • Neural Engine takes care of Machine Learning tasks.

Machine Learning is a type of Artificial Intelligence. It retrieves and delivers data based on the way it is programmed. For example, using Machine Learning, you can make a Smartphone Camera to process images according to your preference. Whereas Artificial Intelligence can process an image on its own.

The combination of all these factors makes Apple M1 Chipset process videos 3.9X times faster and images 7.1X faster than any other microprocessor available in the Industry. And Apple M1 MacBook is the first product to defy the fact about first-generation products.

Which Apps works with M1 Macs?

Considering this one’s a recent launch and includes an entirely new architecture, Apple has opened support doors for developers to increase their list of M1-compatible apps. However, soon after launch, the most commonly used apps got updates including Chrome, Firefox 84 Beta, Microsoft Office, Pixelmator Pro, Photoshop, World of Warcraft, and Apple’s home apps like Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro. We can expect to have a good number of supportive apps for macs running on M1 pretty soon.


Honestly speaking, the performance and battery life of M1 Macs are far beyond our expectations. But as of now, it has some issues which Apple will be fixing through software updates. There are many threads about the SSD of M1 Macs wearing out very quickly in forums like MacRumors and Linus Tech Tips. Are you wondering how the SSD of a laptop worth over a lakh wears out so quickly? Users have shared readings of their SSD’s lifetime validity in those forums. But you need not worry about those threads at all, because the readings recorded in the third-party applications are completely invalid. The only issue with M1 Mac is compatibility. M1 Macs don’t support older video editing plugins like MCALLOUTS. But the M1 Chipset has an alternative to MCALLOUTS, known as MTRACKER 3D. The next major problem of M1 Macs is the minimal number of ports for media and connectivity. So you will have to buy a separate thunderbolt HUB to keep your productivity intact. Except for these two problems, the M1 MacBook is really an amazing product.

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