Just How Fast is Apple’s M1 Chip?

Since debuting its first silicon chip – the M1 – and moving away from Intel-based processing within its computers, Apple has seen great success with speed and performance. 

According to the company’s website, the M1 was the “first chip designed specifically for Mac”, and it features 16 billion transistors, exceptional performance, custom technologies, and great power efficiency. 

The Apple M1 chip is currently available in a multitude of products, including the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac Mini, iMac2021, and iPad Pro 2021. 

Overall, the performance of the products that feature the chip have received positive reviews. For instance, Tom’s Guide gave the MacBook Air with M1 an impressive 4.5 out of 5 stars

Speed seems to be a major plus with the chip, but let’s take a deep dive to see how fast the Apple M1 is. 

Specs

The chip has 8-core CPU with 4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores. It also features:

  • 7- or 8-core graphics processor (GPU)
  • 16-core Neural Engine
  • 8GB or 16GB of RAM
  • 68.25 GBps memory bandwidth

Apple M1 Chip vs Intel Performance 

As mentioned, Apple’s Macs used to run on Intel-based processors. So let’s look at how the performance of the machines with the Apple Silicon compare to the previous Intel machines. 

According to Apple, the M1 delivers up to 3.5x faster CPU performance, up to 6X faster GPU performance and 15x faster machine learning, all with battery life up to 2x longer than the previous generation Intel-based Macs. 

It claims the M1 Macbook Air is 3.5x times as fast as the most recent Intel MacBook Air, and the M1-based MacBook Pro is 2.8x as fast as its predecessor. 

“With its profound increase in performance and efficiency, M1 delivers the biggest leap ever for the Mac.”

MacRumors.com wrote a guide on the M1 and claims that compared to the latest PC laptop chips, the M1 offers 2x faster CPU performance and uses just 25 percent of the power. 

The article also says the M1, despite primarily being included in lower-end Macs, beats out the performance of even the highest-end chips used in Intel Apple’s notebook lineup. 

It’s worth noting that Apple plans to transition all of its devices to Apple Silicon over the course of two years, so soon Intel-based systems will not be available. 

Device Reviews

CNET has reviewed the following devices from Apple that feature the M1 chip:

Apple MacBook Air – 8.6 out of 10

Photo: Dan Ackerman/CNET

Like:

  • Big boost to battery life
  • Performance in benchmark tests shows the M1 Air easily outperforming Intel versions
  • Fanless design runs cool and quiet 

Don’t Like:

  • No external design or feature changes 
  • App compatibility is an issue for early adopters 
  • No mobile broadband options, 5G or otherwise

Click here to view eTech’s Mac rental options.


Photo: Dan Ackerman/CNET

Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch (M1 Pro) – 8.5 out of 10

Like:

  • HDMI and SD cards ports return 
  • MagSafe power connections is back
  • Bigger, better screen with slimmers bezels
  • New great-looking 1080p webcam
  • Huge leap in graphics performance 
  • Function keys replace the Touch Bar

Don’t Like:

  • Adds some weight, so not as portable
  • High starting price if just want the better screen/webcam and ports
  • The screen had a notch cutout for the webcam

Click here to rent MacBook Pro 14’’ from eTech.



Scott Stein/CNET

Apple iPad Pro – No score given.

Like:

  • Extremely fast new M1 processor 
  • Autozooming wide-angle front camera helps
  • Step-up Mini-LED display on 12.9-inch model is stellar
  • 5G option welcome

Don’t Like: 

  • iPadOS still isn’t flexible enough to unleash multitasking potential 
  • Camera placement isn’t always perfect for Zoom calls
  • High price for accessories, configs 

Click here to see eTech’s iPad rental options


In summary, Apple’s M1 chip and the devices that feature the powerful silicon have been well received. It’s a major speed and performance upgrade from the previous Intel-based devices, and the company continues to roll out upgraded versions like the M1 Ultra and Max for the most power-demanding tasks