Apple’s “One More Thing” event is all about Macs. This is the first of Apple’s latest chip, the M1, the company’s first ARM-based computer chip to make in-house.
The M1 is the first computer chip built on a 5nm process with 16 billion transistors. Optimized for Apple’s less powerful systems with minimum size and maximum efficiency, there are four performance cores and four efficiency cores in the CPU. Pound for pound, Apple says it has the highest CPU performance per watt, and the four efficiency cores alone match the performance of a dual-core MacBook Air while consuming much less power. This should contribute to longer battery life and better efficiency for low-power tasks like checking emails.
The GPU has eight cores and can process up to 2.6 teraflops. Working with its 16-core neural engine, capable of 11 trillion processes per second, Apple says apps like Garage Band can handle three times more instruments and effects plug-ins, while Final Cut Pro, for example, can handle complex timelines of up to six times. times faster. Compared to “previous generation Macs,” Apple says, the M1 delivers “up to 3.5x faster CPU performance, up to 6x faster GPU performance, and up to 15x faster machine learning” with up to twice the battery life.
Since this is a system-on-chip (SoC) that integrates the usually separate components of the computer (CPU, GPU, security, etc.) into one, Apple is striving to optimize the data flow for this with a unified memory architecture. This essentially allows the components of the SoC to be pulled from one central pool of memory, rather than multiple individual stores. All of this is backed up by security features such as hardware-authenticated secure boot, automatic high-performance AES encryption through the storage controller, and macOS runtime protections. It also includes a Thunderbolt controller with support for USB 4 transfers up to 40 Gbps.
With the newly launched macOS Big Sur, Apple expects to take full advantage of this streamlining. Wake times will be instant, just like on iPhones and iPads, while apps like Safari are nearly twice as responsive, the company claims. In fact, all first-party programs are optimized for the M1 chip. Third-party apps that originally ran on Intel chips and have yet to be optimized for the M1 can still run thanks to Rosetta 2. Some of these apps, Apple claims, run better in Rosetta than on their native Intel platforms. Apple also allows users to run iPad and iPhone apps on Macs, significantly increasing the number of compatible programs for Mac users.
The M1 will be found in the recently announced MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro and Mac Mini.