Apple’s M1 Chip for Macs Offers ‘Mind-boggling’ Performance

Apple unveiled its custom-designed M1 Apple Silicon for Macs yesterday. The company claimed some impressive performance improvements and incredible battery life, though it did not exactly provide any clear comparison metric. A detailed analysis of the M1 chip by AnandTech points to Apple’s claims being accurate and the chip looking incredibly impressive.

The analysis makes it clear that the M1 chip is based on the A14 Bionic found inside the iPhone 12 series, though it has been beefed up in almost every department. The brief die shot shared by Apple during the event confirms that the M1 ships with a 128-bit DRAM bus similar to previous generation A’n’X-series chips.

The M1 chip features an 8-core CPU which includes four high-performance Firestorm CPUs that have 12MB of cache. That’s two more cores than the A14 found inside the iPhone 12 series and 4MB of additional cache. There are also four Icestorm efficiency cores for low-power tasks. The 8-core GPU takes up a notable chunk of die space as well.

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.

Based on some A14 benchmark scores, AnandTech claims the M1 Apple Silicon chip will offer “mind-boggling” performance in many scenarios, and it is an “astonishing feat” that the A14 chip itself is able to compete with some of the most powerful x86 CPUs from Intel and AMD out there.

The fact that Apple is able to achieve this in a total device power consumption of 5W including the SoC, DRAM, and regulators, versus +21W (1185G7) and 49W (5950X) package power figures, without DRAM or regulation, is absolutely mind-blowing.

What’s perhaps the most impressive is just how much Apple has managed to increase the single-threaded performance of its CPUs over the last 5 years. While Intel has improved the single-threaded CPU performance by about 28% in five years, while Apple has improved the performance of its cores by 198%.

If you are really interested in what Apple has managed to achieve with its M1 Apple Silicon chip, make sure to go through AnandTech’s detailed analysis below. The analysis makes it clear as to why Apple decided to ditch Intel CPUs and go with its own custom-designed SoCs inside Macs.

[Via AnandTech]