Apple dumps Intel x86 in Macs for M1 with the world’s fastest CPU core

Apple on Tuesday unveiled M1, the most powerful chip it has ever created and the first chip designed specifically for the Mac. Apple’s M1 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 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.

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

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.

Andrei Frumusanu for Anandtech:

The new CPU core is what Apple claims to be the world’s fastest. This is going to be a centre-point of today’s article as we dive deeper into the microarchitecture of the Firestorm cores, as well look at the performance figures of the very similar Apple A14 SoC.

With its additional cache, we expect the Firestorm cores used in the M1 to be even faster than what we’re going to be dissecting today with the A14, so Apple’s claim of having the fastest CPU core in the world seems extremely plausible.

We already saw the A14 performing outstandingly and outperforming the best that Intel has to offer. The new M1 should perform notably above that.

We come back to a few of Apple’s slides during the presentations as to what to expect in terms of performance and efficiency. Particularly the performance/power curves are the most detail that Apple is sharing at this moment in time:

M1 CPU performance vs. power

Apple’s usage of a significantly more advanced microarchitecture that offers significant IPC, enabling high performance at low core clocks, allows for significant power efficiency gains versus the incumbent x86 players. The graphic shows that at peak-to-peak, M1 offers around a 40% performance uplift compared to the existing competitive offering, all whilst doing it at 40% of the power consumption.

Apple claims the M1 to be the fastest CPU in the world. Given our data on the A14, beating all of Intel’s designs… we can certainly believe Apple and the M1 to be able to achieve that claim.

This moment has been brewing for years now, and the new Apple Silicon is both shocking, but also very much expected. In the coming weeks we’ll be trying to get our hands on the new hardware and verify Apple’s claims.

Intel has stagnated itself out of the market, and has lost a major customer.

MacDailyNews Take: There is much, much more in the – highly recommended – full article.

Buh-bye, Intel slug! Intel served its purpose, but has been a boat anchor for years. Hello, Apple-designed ARM-based Macs! — MacDailyNews, April 23, 2020


    1. However, Intel will still have to compete with AMD and that company has some nice CPU offerings at lower prices. I’m starting to see a number of bare-bones, low-cost mini-PC boxes with Ryzen processors. It’s not the end for Intel, but I think they’re getting squeezed.

  1. M1 compared to 3.6Ghz four Core i3, I’d like to see it compared to my 3.2GHz 6-core Intel Core i7.

    My guess is we need to wait a couple of generations before Apple silicon is beating Intel’s best similar spec chips.

    The only apparent advantage is the GPU, which is not difficult to achieve considering Intel’s weak kneed offering.

  2. Wait for real benchmarks . They neglected to mention with laptop CPU or CPU in general they were comparing it to. I am sure its very speedy, and macOS will run very snappy on it. But the real tests are coming soon. i would recommend not buying gen 1 to anyone who asks me, but to wait for gen 2. Unless you are a dev that needs a platform for testing.

    1. They also are announcing computers which are not top-rated. This is obviously the less powerful computer CPU they have in house, and it ended up in the less powerful computer: Air, MacBook, Mini. And they compared to the vast majority of laptops out there (according to them 95%). The specs look just fine for me, but of course it largely (batter said: mostly) depends on what you use a computer for. To go working around my 12″ MacBook (2016) still works extremely well, for example. But I don’t use it to do numerical simulations…

  3. It is often said that if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably isn’t true, but in this case, although Apple’s claims do sound too good to be true, I’m inclined to believe them.

    1. Apple is a fair chunk of the market for intel chips. This alone is not fatal to Intel, but if other manufacturers decide to follow Apple’s lead, then they will be in serious trouble.

      It is a pity about the chips not being fabbed in the US though.

      1. No excuse on Apple’s part in not making them in America, money has never been the issue, Samsung has a lowly 7 billion dollar fab in Texas.

        IBM, and Motorola (when they were alive back in the day), could have been in the mix, but they were doing more important things like taking themselves apart from the inside.

    2. Losing Apple as a customer might be something that Intel can live with, but Apple building chips which outperform Intel is a much more worrying prospect for Intel.

      It would be one thing if Apple switched to ARM solely because it was a cheaper option, but switching to Its own silicon for significantly improved performance combined with reduced costs is something which should worry Intel.

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