Since 2006, Apple has been powering its computers using Intel CPUs. However, in a dramatic shift from the old paradigm, the Apple M1 Chip was birthed in 2020, and the real-life experience of the new M1 Macs is kicking in. The initial results would indicate that M1 Macs are not just edging the past Intel-powered Macs, but they’re obliterating them performance-wise.
There are several remarkable reasons why the leading-edge Chip is as powerful as it is. And without risking delving into too much tech jargon, we’ve broken them down into digestible pieces that won’t be a snooze-fest to a non-tech person. So, whether you are a power user or use your MacBook and iPad Pro for light tasks such as iGaming on the ICE Casino the lobby, you are in for an exciting read.
The M1: An Array of Computing Components in a Chip
When you purchase most PCs on the market, you will realize that most of today’s PCs come with an array of computing components that handle different processing tasks for the PC. These include:
The Central Processing Unit (CPU) – Vital for handling all your computations.
The Graphical Processing Unit (GPU) – Important for graphics-related tasks.
The Security Enclave – Provision of an extra layer of security.
Unified Memory – Allowing for efficient usage of the available memory.
Digital Signal Processor (DSP) – Responsible for most of the mathematical manipulations.
Neural Processing Unit (NPU) – Used to process large amounts of data concurrently.
Video Encoder or Decoder – Compression and decompression of video content.
On powerful workstations, you will notice that each component is an independent entity connected to the motherboard. And that’s where the M1 efficiency comes in. Instead of practically collecting the different entities, it unifies them as a single System on a Chip (SoC).
This means that the M1 has combined all these chips into a single item, marking a fundamental shift in how the device carries out operations. As such, an M1 Mac can efficiently perform a Video encoding task without breaking a sweat, while an Intel Mac may probably need to shift a gear or two to accomplish a similar task.
The 5nm Processing Node
We must point out that Apple’s M1 Chip uses the 5nm Processing node. This is Apple’s most advanced processor yet. The 5nm processing node is a big deal because it packs a denser number of transistors on the silicon die, specifically 11.8 billion of them.
This is a significant leap from the previous versions like the A13 (2021 9th gen iPad), which had 8.5 billion transistors, and the A12, which had 6.9 billion transistors. In addition, thanks to the denser transistors in the System on a Chip in use by the Apple M1, the processing power is noticeably more potent than that of its predecessors.
The Unified Memory Architecture
Another key integrated aspect of the Apple M1 Chip is the Unified Memory Architecture system it uses. Even to date, computer systems don’t have the CPU and GPU integrated into the same Chip, which has infamously resulted in an overall slow combination.
The Apple M1 Chip, through its Unified Memory Architecture system, tries to shed off the disadvantages of the old-school share memory. For starters, memory is allocated to both processors, and it is not a preserve of the CPU or just the GPU.
With the separated approach, there have also been complications of the GPU heating up, causing hurdles in the running of devices. However, in the Apple M1 Chip, that is no longer an issue owing to the use of lower Watts for the GPU, which prevents overheating of the SoC.
Another key reason why the M1 Chip is so powerful is the built-in Neural Engine which contains 16 processing cores to handle AI tasks efficiently. The 16 Core Neural Engine is capable of a whopping 11 trillion transactions per second, translating to a speed 15x faster than previous models.
The Future of Computing Is Here
No doubt, the M1 Chip is a fantastic upgrade compared to the Intel Processors it replaced in the Macs. The speed, performance, power efficiency, and functionality are way ahead based on all benchmarks conducted across the board.
That said, technology is a fast-changing space, and there is already an M2 Chip in existence that has the same 8-core CPU as the M1 but offers more GPU cores. Have you used an M1 device so far? If you have, what has been your experience compared to the Intel and A-series predecessors? We’d love to hear from you right here in the comments section.