Apple M1 Vs Intel i7.
This isn’t the first time Apple has completely changed the fundamental technology their computers use. This happened when the company switched from Motorola processors to IBM PowerPC in 1995. Then again when they switched to Intel in 2006. We now have three new Macs using the ARM-based Apple M1 chip.
This is the processor from the iPad, compared to the Intel Core i7. Does the Apple M1 vs Intel Core i7 idea make sense? If you’re looking to buy a new performance-focused Mac, read on and we’ll tell you all.
What’s So Special About M1?
The M1 chip is referred to as “Apple silicon”. In other words, it is Apple’s own microprocessor. It uses the ARM instruction set that is used in the vast majority of mobile phones and tablets. This is in contrast to the Intel x86 instruction set, which is used on most of the world’s desktop and laptop computers.
Apple’s ARM chips are special for a number of reasons. First, they are larger and more complex than most ARM mobile processors. They also tightly integrate the entire system, including CPU, cache, RAM, and GPU.
These chips are also designed to run Apple iOS and macOS ARM-based software as efficiently as possible. This carefully crafted in-house design promises incredible performance. At least in ideal conditions. This begs the question: How fast is the Apple M1 compared to regular professional high-end chips? Processors like Intel Core i7?
Yes, the M1 Is Beating the Intel i7 (and i9!)
The M1 MacBook Air, Macbook Pro and Mac Mini are only available for pre-order at the time of writing. However, some media representatives have subdivisions. Several leaked benchmarks have also been published comparing the M1 to chips like the Core i7-1165G7.
Benchmarks include Cinebench R23 and Geekbench. These are programs that can test performance on different CPU architectures and instruction sets. Since the different versions of this benchmark represent CPUs with the same workload, they reflect the CPU’s actual ability to do work.
According to a Techradar article, the leaked results show the M1 in the MacBook Pro 13 scores 1,498 in the single-core test in Cinebench R23. The Core i7-1165G7 scored 1382 points for comparison. The M1 is also slightly ahead in the multi-core test.
Even more impressive is that Apple Insider reports that the M1 beats the Core i9 in the recent MacBook Pro 16. At least when it comes to Geekbench results. However, keep in mind that the Macbook Pro 16 is worth thousands of dollars!
The bottom line is, anyone concerned about sheer performance when it comes to these new Macs has nothing to worry about. They are one step higher (or at least equal to) anything Apple has ever released.
The M1 Is About More Than Performance
When it comes to the M1, performance is only part of the equation. Apple computers like Macbooks have been struggling with high power consumption and high processor temperatures for years. Intel has failed to create cooler, more energy efficient chips. This leads to decreased performance.
The M1 solves both of these problems. ARM processors are designed to do more work with less power. Which means longer battery life and less heat. The M1 is so good at this that Apple didn’t put fans on the M1 Macbook Air at all. This means that the title is now a bit ironic.
With a much longer battery life, these new Macbooks significantly increase portability. This means you are not sacrificing sheer performance and increasing battery life. Looks pretty good, right?
It’s also worth noting that the M1 Macbook Air, despite having the same chip as the Pro, won’t perform at the same level. This is thanks to the passive cooling system that Apple uses. This limits how hard the M1 can push itself. So don’t expect the M1 in the Air to be as fast as the air-cooled i7 processor under sustained load!
M1 vs Intel i7: It’s Complicated
This is where the good news becomes less joyful. The M1 is a fast and energy efficient chip. However, Apple has to run computer code developed for Intel chips through a sophisticated translation system called Rosetta 2.
While this allows the M1 Mac to run any software designed for the Intel Mac, it does result in poor performance. For some programs, performance degradation has no practical value. For others, this can be a problem. The problem is, it’s impossible to know how good or bad x86 software will run on an ARM Mac until someone tests it.
Software Support Matters
This brings us to software support for Apple M1 computers. Apple itself provides its own fully functional versions of all its own software for the M1. As you can imagine, the creative and productivity apps that current Mac users rely on are also ported to run on the M1. How quickly your mission-critical macOS apps get translated to M1-compliant code is up to each developer.
It also depends on the complexity of the program in question. Some companies have a head start. For example, Adobe has already ported the core PhotoShop code to ARM for iOS.
By the way, iOS apps will run natively on Macs running the M1. By giving you access to the iPad and iPhone software libraries. This is another bonus to consider when weighing the Mac M1 as a whole.
After all, a computer running bad software is not very useful. As good as it looks on paper.
Should You Buy an M1 Computer?
The big question is whether you should order the M1 Mac to replace your current device. In the case of the Mac Mini, we’d say the answer is no right now. The M1 Mac Mini is non-upgradeable, has a slower network connection than the older model, and is less attractive as an overall package.
Things get more interesting with the Macbook M1. The M1 Macbook Air and M1 Macbook Pro 13 laptops are physically nearly identical to Intel-based models. They will run all of the same software as Intel models, as well as iOS apps and (obviously) the M1’s own apps. Their battery life has improved significantly and their native code performance is significantly better than the same Intel-version applications running on Intel Macbook models.
When running the Rosetta 2, they do do a lot of performance degradation, but in many cases, this makes them no slower than Intel Macbooks that run the same applications natively.
Overall, it looks like most users will appreciate the improved quality of life and performance of the Macbook M1. However, there are certain situations where you should think twice:
- Certain applications that you need to run poorly through Rosetta.
- You want to use Boot Camp to run Windows on your computer. Mac.
Otherwise, as far as we can tell, this is a fairly safe move. Apple Silicon is definitely the future of the Mac. The only other warning is that these first-generation Mac M1s are likely to be replaced with more advanced implementations of the technology soon. So if you don’t need an update, your current Macs will be fine.
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