Apple unleashes the insanely powerful M1

Apple today announced M1, the most powerful chip it has ever created and the first chip designed specifically for the Mac. M1 is optimized for Mac systems in which small size and power efficiency are critically important. As a system on a chip (SoC), M1 combines numerous powerful technologies into a single chip, and features a unified memory architecture for dramatically improved performance and efficiency. M1 is the first personal computer chip built using cutting-edge 5-nanometer process technology and is packed with an astounding 16 billion transistors, the most Apple has ever put into a chip. It features the world’s fastest CPU core in low-power silicon, the world’s best CPU performance per watt, the world’s fastest integrated graphics in a personal computer, and breakthrough machine learning performance with the Apple Neural Engine. As a result, M1 delivers up to 3.5x faster CPU performance, up to 6x faster GPU performance, and up to 15x faster machine learning, all while enabling battery life up to 2x longer than previous-generation Macs. With its profound increase in performance and efficiency, M1 delivers the biggest leap ever for the Mac.

M1 is Apple’s first chip designed specifically for the Mac and the most powerful chip it has ever created.
M1 is Apple’s first chip designed specifically for the Mac and the most powerful chip it has ever created.

“There has never been a chip like M1, our breakthrough SoC for the Mac. It builds on more than a decade of designing industry-leading chips for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, and ushers in a whole new era for the Mac,” said Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Technologies, in a statement. “When it comes to low-power silicon, M1 has the world’s fastest CPU core, the world’s fastest integrated graphics in a personal computer, and the amazing machine learning performance of the Apple Neural Engine. With its unique combination of remarkable performance, powerful features, and incredible efficiency, M1 is by far the best chip we’ve ever created.”

M1 is the first personal computer chip built using cutting-edge 5-nanometer process technology and is packed with an astounding 16 billion transistors.
M1 is the first personal computer chip built using cutting-edge 5-nanometer process technology and is packed with an astounding 16 billion transistors.

First System on a Chip for the Mac

Macs and PCs have traditionally used multiple chips for the CPU, I/O, security, and more. Now with M1, these technologies are combined into a single SoC, delivering a whole new level of integration for greater performance and power efficiency. M1 also features a unified memory architecture that brings together high-bandwidth, low-latency memory into a single pool within a custom package. This allows all of the technologies in the SoC to access the same data without copying it between multiple pools of memory, further improving performance and efficiency.

M1 CPU performance vs. power

The World’s Best CPU Performance per Watt

M1 features an 8-core CPU consisting of four high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores. Each of the high-performance cores provides industry-leading performance for single-threaded tasks, while running as efficiently as possible. They are the world’s fastest CPU cores in low-power silicon, allowing photographers to edit high-resolution photos with lightning speed and developers to build apps nearly 3x faster than before. And all four can be used together for a huge boost in multithreaded performance.

M1 CPU performance

The four high-efficiency cores deliver outstanding performance at a tenth of the power. By themselves, these four cores deliver similar performance as the current-generation, dual-core MacBook Air at much lower power. They are the most efficient way to run lightweight, everyday tasks like checking email or browsing the web, and preserve battery life like never before. And all eight cores can work together to provide incredible compute power for the most demanding tasks and deliver the world’s best CPU performance per watt.

The World’s Fastest Integrated Graphics

M1 includes Apple’s most advanced GPU. It benefits from years of analysis of Mac applications, including everyday apps and challenging pro workloads. With industry-leading performance and incredible efficiency, the GPU in M1 is in a class by itself. Featuring up to eight powerful cores capable of running nearly 25,000 threads simultaneously, the GPU can handle extremely demanding tasks with ease, from smooth playback of multiple 4K video streams to rendering complex 3D scenes. With 2.6 teraflops of throughput, M1 has the world’s fastest integrated graphics in a personal computer.

The GPU in M1 is the most advanced Apple has ever created and the world’s fastest integrated graphics in a personal computer.
The GPU in M1 is the most advanced Apple has ever created and the world’s fastest integrated graphics in a personal computer.

Blazing-Fast, On-Device Machine Learning

The M1 chip brings the Apple Neural Engine to the Mac, greatly accelerating machine learning (ML) tasks. Featuring Apple’s most advanced 16-core architecture capable of 11 trillion operations per second, the Neural Engine in M1 enables up to 15x faster machine learning performance. In fact, the entire M1 chip is designed to excel at machine learning, with ML accelerators in the CPU and a powerful GPU, so tasks like video analysis, voice recognition, and image processing will have a level of performance never seen before on the Mac.

More Innovative Technologies Packed into M1

• The M1 chip is packed with a number of powerful custom technologies, including:
• Apple’s latest image signal processor (ISP) for higher quality video with better noise reduction, greater dynamic range, and improved auto white balance.
• The latest Secure Enclave for best-in-class security.
• A high-performance storage controller with AES encryption hardware for faster and more secure SSD performance.
• Low-power, highly efficient media encode and decode engines for great performance and extended battery life.
• An Apple-designed Thunderbolt controller with support for USB 4, transfer speeds up to 40Gbps, and compatibility with more peripherals than ever.

macOS Big Sur Optimized for M1

macOS Big Sur is engineered, down to its core, to take full advantage of all the capability and power of M1, delivering a massive boost in performance, astonishing battery life, and even stronger security protections. With M1, things users do every day feel noticeably faster and smoother. Just like iPhone and iPad, the Mac now instantly wakes from sleep. Browsing with Safari — which is already the world’s fastest browser — is now up to 1.5x speedier at running JavaScript and nearly 2x more responsive.

With Big Sur and M1, Mac users can run a greater range of apps than ever before. All of Apple’s Mac software is now Universal and runs natively on M1 systems. Existing Mac apps that have not been updated to Universal will run seamlessly with Apple’s Rosetta 2 technology. And iPhone and iPad apps can now run directly on the Mac. Additionally, the foundations of Big Sur are optimized to unlock the power of M1, including developer technologies from Metal for graphics to Core ML for machine learning.

Start of a Two-Year Transition for the Mac

M1 powers the new MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini. They join the rest of the Mac product line to form the strongest Mac lineup ever. This is the beginning of a transition to a new family of chips designed specifically for the Mac. The transition to Apple silicon will take about two years to complete, and these three systems are an amazing first step.

MacDailyNews Take: Here we go! (And we bet this’ll take less than two years to complete, too!)

28 Comments

  1. I’ll say the same thing I said about the A4 chip. This is just the beginning. Whoever doesn’t understand the significance here might as well just bathe in x86 chips and call it a day. You’re stuck in the past.

    The M1 is just the beginning. With all its power and efficiency (enough to drive even the 13″ MBP), this is the “low end” CPU. While it may not be a complete feat to get up to 5x Intel’s integrated GPU, it’s still nice to see. I’m so tired of Intel’s shitty offering.

    I’m waiting to see the M2 (or M1X or whatever they call it) for the higher end machines. I’m waiting for an ARM-based MBP 16″.

    1. Nah, then you’ll say you’ll wait for the M3, which you’ll then say will be improved when you wait for the M4, and in ten years you’ll still be rocking your Cringtel Mac.

    2. There are plenty of people who are going to say Apple has made a huge mistake and is no longer relevant. Those tech-heads who are drooling over RTX3090 GPUs are simply going to laugh at how weak Apple’s integrated GPUs are. Some people think nothing can replace big X86 iron and watt-sucking GPUs for computing. As far as I’m concerned, I have no use for big iron as a consumer as I game on PSx consoles and don’t do much video encoding.

      Do you see all the attention AMD and NVidia are getting for those crazy, huge GPUs that turn PCs into room heaters? That’s what excites home computer users nowadays. I think those products are so niche but that’s just because I don’t need them. All this X86 rivalry between Intel and AMD for high-wattage, multi-core CPUs is totally the opposite of what Apple is doing. Apple will be laughed at for their little Apple Silicon SoCs that run at 10W-15W. The tagline will be, “No real computer man wants a tiny processor.” Personally, I just want enough processing power for my own needs and I don’t need more than that.

      I think the computer industry is going to ignore Apple Silicon as an oddity, but that’s just my take on how the computer industry usually sees Apple.

    3. Couldn’t agree more. Just the beginning of processing efficiency that Intel will never be able to compete with. It will be like comparing iOS to Android – worlds apart and widening. I’m waiting for the 16” version also, just for screen real estate for editing while on the road.
      Steve would be loving this direction, wanting to control the whole product.
      The innovation moving forward from this will be amazing to watch.

        1. I believe strongly in freedom of speech, but would prefer to only see tech related comments on this site. As an Apple News site, and a business, I think that MDN absolutely has the right to restrict the content and quality of the comments on their site. The question then becomes: Is it in their best interest? Does MDN make more money off the ad views generated by lots of comments than it drives away from these political debates? Just like the rest of the Media, MDN makes money off of strife and conflict, as it drives people to comment multiple times.

          A Quick survey of the site as it stands now shows 57 comments for the article about Parler and 66 about the COVID vaccine. The next closest was at 27, and not at all political.

          Soooooo, yeah. Even as I feed the trolls, don’t feed the trolls, and don’t read the comments if you don’t want to see political stuff.

    1. You better look at a map all the Silicon giants are located in the Blue States, on the west coast and not in the dumb F Indiana, Ohio, and West Virginia triangle were Trumpet sits overhead like a orange life sucking used car salesman…..

      1. And so say Danox the Fool. Who has no respect for his fellow Americans and hates them if they don’t agree with his warped view of how the world should be.

        Don’t you have even a smidgeon of a sense of humor in your weirdo bones?

        1. I lost part of my humor when Brazil started burning and planting a area the size of the entire midwest to sell Soybeans to the Chinese, however Bolsonaro mastering the art of the deal with the orange one now that’s funny in a sad way….

  2. I wonder if the 7 vs 8 GPU cores on the MBA different models, and the RAM options which are inside de M1 chip are different processor models, or if apple is making just one chip and “licensing” de different options.

  3. In a few years if Apple calls one of their M5 based computers, “The Ulitmate Computer”, be afraid. Be very afraid!

  4. THIS is Tim Cook’s legacy, brought about under ‘his’ leadership. A perfect Jobsian level “one more thing” surprise repost to the doubters. It embodies everything that Apple stands for.
    Quite brilliant.
    Buy more shares before the reviews come in. Seriously.

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