In recent years it has been possible to have a computer without a dedicated GPU card and still have fun playing games – if you're willing to be content with medium graphics settings and frame rate. When you consider that a GPU card with a performance above 60 fps costs up to 50% of your computer, more people than ever are looking for chips with integrated graphics.
Apple's latest M1 chip is a new generation of Mac computers that use a single chip to handle both graphics and computing, drastically reducing power consumption and price.
In this article we are going to examine the specifics of Apple's M1 chip and its importance in everyday use. Here is everything you need to know about Apple's new M1 chip.
It all started with the AMD APU
For the longest time, if you wanted to enjoy 3D games, you had to buy a discrete graphics card in addition to the CPU. That changed with the Radeon Graphics chip built into AMD's Ryzen CPU chips. If you optimize some of the graphics options for the latest AAA games, you will get a comfortable gaming experience at almost 60 frames per second at Full HD (1080p) resolution.
AMD CPU chips with integrated graphics, also called APUs (Accelerated Processing Units), have added "G" to their model name. Although APUs were introduced in 2011, it was AMD's RX Vega 7-11 that dramatically increased performance.
Currently the most affordable models are:
AMD Ryzen 5 3400G
AMD Ryzen 5 PRO 4650G
AMD Ryzen 5 4600G
With the exception of Ryzen PRO, the 4000 series is not yet available in stores, regardless of whether it is Ryzen 3, 5 or 7. However, Ryzen 5 PRO 4650G is widely available and represents a major upgrade from Ryzen 5 3400G:
As you can see, the older 3400G has superior integrated graphics, but overall less processing power compared to the 4000G series, which gives a difference in gaming performance of around 5 fps over the 3400G.
How does Apple's latest M1 chip turn things upside down?
The new era of Apple's M1 chip
Although Apple's Macs are technically personal computers (PCs), all of their components are made by Apple, which runs on its proprietary Mac operating system. This creates a closed ecosystem in which one cannot simply select components and build a PC, as is common practice for many Windows users.
Apple customers, in turn, do not have to worry about compatibility problems and tinker with their computers. Apple's philosophy has always been to offer products that are easy to use and value minimalism, elegance and productivity. The M1 chip presented on November 10th does not deviate from this philosophy.
Essentially, the M1 chip is about combining multiple computer functions into a single chip. This is technically known as System on a Chip (SoC). These features include:
Central processor (CPU): 8 cores in the ARM architecture, 4 of these cores for high-performance tasks
Graphics processor (GPU): 8 cores that can manage 2.5 teraflops of graphics data in 128 processing units (CUs)
Memory: Unified Memory Architecture (UMA) with 4266 MHz SDRAM in 8 GB or 16 GB
Neural motor: 16 cores capable of performing 11 trillion operations per second. This is used for completing a variety of machine learning tasks that you can find in software like Final Cut Pro or Pixelmator Pro.
All are built using the latest 5nm CMOS process and are made up of 16 billion transistors.
For comparison, AMD's RX Vega 11 supports 1.9 teraflops, while a dedicated GPU like the RTX 3070 (~ $ 550) handles around 20.3 teraflops (39.7 ray tracing teraflops).
Apple promises massive performance improvements over older Mac mobile chips in its promotional material:
Video processing up to 3.9 times faster
Image processing up to 7.1x faster
Up to 3.5 times faster CPU performance
Up to 15 times faster machine learning performance
Up to 3x better performance per watt
Overall, the M1 chip should use 25–33% less power for most tasks in order to achieve 2-4 times faster performance. All this compact performance should be put to good use by the specially developed MacOS Big Sur.
What is the real performance of Apple M1?
According to the first wave of tests, the M1 represents a huge leap for Apple's mobile and desktop computers. For example, Paul Hudson published an interesting comparison with his Intel i9, 64 GB laptop.
My M1 MacBook Pro arrived today. You probably have different questions, but I think a whole lot is summed up in this 50-second video. (Alternative text, as Twitter still does not make this easy: Xcode 12.3 Beta is unzipped in 5 minutes on an M1, in 13 minutes 22 seconds on an Intel i9) pic.twitter.com/STiivUXXnH
– Paul Hudson (@twostraws) November 17, 2020
This means that M1 can effectively beat a computer three times more expensive while using less power and generating minimal noise and heat!
Based on five Geekbench tests, Engadget reported an average score of 1,619 / 6,292 for M1 compared to 1,130 / 3,053 for i7 MacBookAir (2020). Likewise, Ars Technica reported that the M1 scored 11,476 in 3Dmark's Slingshot test, compared to 9,978 on the iPad Pro (2020) and iPhone 12 Pro with 6,226.
You can see that M1 represents a new leap in computing, though it may well beat not-so-old dedicated GPUs. In GFXBench's 1440p Manhattan 3.1.1 test, the M1 hits 130.9 fps, while the 1050 Ti hits 127.4 fps and the RX 560 thoroughly outperforms at 101.4 fps. (Note that the RX 560 graphics card costs the same as the Ryzen 5 3400G, so this is really great value for money.)
On which Apple computers will the M1 chip be installed?
From the cheapest to the most expensive, here is the M1 range:
Apple Mac mini (over $ 700)
Apple MacBook Air (over $ 1,000)
Apple MacBook Pro 13 ”(over $ 1,300)
These are the cheapest versions, but each has two different configurations that take memory and screen size into account (in the case of the MacBook Pro). They can be purchased from November 16th.
Apple's closed ecosystem is still a compromise
The cheapest M1 version is more expensive than the Ryzen IGP configuration. However, you get lightweight, sleek portability and extra performance that outperforms any previous Apple model in the same category.
However, if you want to step into Apple's closed ecosystem, prepare for a significantly smaller pool of games. Approximately 7,000 games are available for macOS, while Windows / Steam users have access to over 20,000 games. There is also a larger selection of software for the PC. Still, Apple games tend to be more sophisticated.
However, if you're already used to the Apple ecosystem and don't need fewer gaming options, upgrading to M1 laptops is a breeze. Finally, you can access Steam games using the Steam Link app. In addition, no other platform can match the performance of M1 in such a compact form.
Apple presents a compact MacBook Pro with M1 equipment
The new MacBook Pro features Apple's flagship M1 chip and an impressively compact design.
About the author
(3 articles published)
Rahul Nambiampurath began his career as an accountant, but is now a full-time professional in technology. He is an avid fan of decentralized and open source technologies. When he's not writing, he's usually busy making wine, tinkering with his Android device, or hiking some mountains.
More from Rahul Nambiampurath
Subscribe to our newsletter
Subscribe to our newsletter for tech tips, reviews, free e-books, and exclusive deals!
One more step …!
Please confirm your email address in the email we just sent you.