Apple Unveils M1: The “World’s Quickest CPU Core”

The M1 is the first arm chip from Apple Silicon and offers "maximum PC performance with less than a quarter of the power".

Apple just announced details about the M1 chip that will power the next generation of Mac products. The 5nm arm-based system-on-chip (SoC) features an 8-core CPU, 8 GPU cores, a 16-core neural coprocessor, and an updated secure enclave.

Apple M1 SoC

The SoC is "by far the most powerful CPU we've ever developed," said John Ternus, vice president of hardware engineering, who announced details of the M1 chip at Apple's One More Thing event on November 10th.

Apple Silicon is reaching down

The new SoC will power the next-generation MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac Mini, combining high performance with low power consumption. It appears to be a major upgrade, much like the recently announced iPad Air redesign.

New iPad Air Apple

The CPU contains four cores optimized for speed and four cores designed for efficiency in combination with data transmission with low latency between system components. Thunderbolt and USB 4 are supported by the new SoC, which has advanced image signal processing and media encoding and decoding engines.

High performance at low electricity costs was the focus of the reveal, and the new hardware has reportedly offered better CPU per watt than anything currently available. Apple claims that the M1 has the same peak performance as a PC CPU using just a quarter of the power.

M1 overview

The low-power performance also extends to the 8-core GPU, which Apple claims is currently the fastest integrated graphics system in the world.

Apple uses a unified memory architecture that allows both the CPU and GPU to access shared individual memory addresses, which significantly increases data bandwidth and reduces latency.

If it works the way Apple promises, the M1 will be a bold first foray for Apple Silicon. In Apple's own words, "The Mac has never had such a major chip upgrade."

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About the author

Ian Buckley
(168 articles published)

Ian Buckley is a freelance journalist, musician, performer and video producer and lives in Berlin. When he's not writing or on stage, he's tinkering with DIY electronics or code in hopes of becoming a mad scientist.

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