Apple M1 — Everything you need to know in a nutshell

M1 is the very first Apple chip designed specifically for Mac. Apple has used multiple chips to offer the best of the best performance to their Mac fans. But now with a single M1 chip, Apple can bring the expected high performance to Mac fans. It is a wonder that a single chip can bring so much level of performance. This single-chip contains a huge bunch of atomic scaled transistors. In number, it is 16 billion transistors. This is the first time Apple used this many transistors in their entire record. As Apple says itself “An entire system on a single chip.” the M1 is an SoC (a System on a Chip) with integrated graphics and onboard memory. The M1 is designed to the level to work with the most advanced desktop OS in the world, macOS Big Sur. To build this giant Apple used cutting-edge technology or 5-nanometer process technology and this can be described as the first time ever this cutting-edge technology used. M1 makes a feature of Apple UMA (Unified Memory Architecture) which enables the system can access the exact data without copying it between multiple pools of memory so that enhance the performance and power efficiency. Because of the Unified Memory in M1, the separate RAM is not required. The chip proceeds with 8GB or 16GB memory capacity in handy.

M1 has an 8-Core CPU and uses the fractions of the power to enhance performance + efficiency. This makes the 8-Core CPU the best performing CPU designed by Apple. Compared to other typical CPUs, the M1 possesses 3.5X CPU performance and 6x GPU performance. The 8-Cores is deliberately designed to divide the bigger tasks into smaller chunks and in this way the tasks can be carried out with the least power consumption. M1 has two types of cores as four high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores.

In M1 4-cores are specifically designed to perform high demanding tasks. Each core is assigned to run a single task to its best efficiency level and in this way, performance can be maximized as well. As 4-cores are designed to run demanded workloads, multi-thread processing is feasible.

The rest of 4-cores are specifically designed to perform the least demanding tasks. Each core is assigned to run a single task to its best efficiency level. As 4-cores are designed to run lightweight tasks, multi-thread processing is feasible.

One of the key specifications is, M1 also has a separate 16-core neural engine for machine learning tasks such as video analysis, voice recognition. The impressive fact is, its capability to execute 11 trillion operations per second and it comes up with 15x faster machine learning capabilities.

When considering the battery life of M1, since it has 4-cores that consume less power, it saves the battery life. According to the benchmark tests that have been done on M1, the MacBook Air with M1 chip can stay powered on for up to 16 hours and 20 min.

Since M1 uses new architectures and instructions from Intel and AMD, the apps designed for x86 can not be run natively on the M1 chip and instead, the M1 emulates them. On the other hand, M1 can run natively the apps specifically designed for macOS Big Sur, iPhone, iPad.

In a nutshell, the M1 is the latest chip revolution by Apple.

This is the end of this article. I hope this article will be helpful to you.

Thank You!!!

Undergraduate-Faculty of Information Technology | University of Moratuwa | Sri Lanka