How Quick Are Apple’s New Chips?

Apple took the world by storm when it announced its M1 chip. Up until this point in time, the desktop chip market was dominated by x86 chip manufacturers, particularly Intel and AMD, while ARM chips were mostly considered to be "mobile" chips. So Apple's decision to use ARM chips on their Macs, and the first chip that came out of it, was particularly groundbreaking. The M1 could compete with the best CPUs from Intel and AMD.

With the M1 Pro and M1 Max, Apple has shown how ambitious it is with its silicon and products, and how ambitious it is to beat everyone else in their own game. But how fast are they exactly and how do they compare to the regular Apple M1?

Hardware differences between the Apple M1, M1 Pro and M1 Max

Before we can talk about the differences between this new generation and Apple's older M1 chip, we need to briefly outline the differences between the M1 Pro and the M1 Max – there are more differences than you might think, and the M1 branding That is used here by Apple does not make that immediately clear.

What is known as the M1 Pro is primarily made up of two chips.


First there is an 8-core chip with a 14-core GPU and then there is another 10-core chip with a 16-core GPU. That means that not every M1 Pro is created equal, although the name suggests it.

With the original Apple M1, the company offered a choice of a 7-core GPU or an 8-core GPU, but the CPU itself remained the same across all presentations. In this case we have two different CPUs, which is a bit misleading for unsuspecting customers as they both have a name.

The difference between the M1 Pro 8-Core and the M1 Pro 10-Core is also pretty drastic. We looked at some benchmarks to get a rough idea of ​​the performance difference between the two chips, and while there is virtually no difference between individual cores, there is a significant improvement in multi-core performance. It's proof of the difference two additional cores make when it comes to raw horsepower.

We'll discuss these benchmarks in more detail later in this article (and yes, we know benchmarks are barely any scientific evidence). What you need to know is that it won't take the limelight from the M1 Max, the true shining star of Apple, either this time around.

Related: Apple Announces New M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pro Models: Here's Everything You Need to Know

The M1 Max is also a 10-core chip, but it's more powerful than the M1 Pro and scores slightly better in benchmarks. Apple likes to flaunt the muscle mass of its new CPU in transistor counts, and the M1 Max packs 57 billion of that, compared to 33.7 billion for the M1 Pro. And of course, the Apple M1 Max also has a beefier GPU, which gives users 24-core and 32-core options over the 14-core and 16-core presentations of the M1 Pro.

Apple M1 vs. M1 Pro vs. M1 Max

Now is the time to pit them both against Apple's first and still very respectable M1 processor.

The Apple M1 was launched last year and made waves back then precisely because it has a lot of horsepower for days. In fact, it still does. It's an 8-core chip built in the same 5nm process as the M1 Pro and Max, but the chip is much smaller. As a result, it has 16 billion transistors compared to the M1 Pro's 33.7 billion and is a less powerful chip overall. But how much? Now is the time to analyze benchmark results and find out exactly how big the gap is between the different M1 chips.

For this comparison, we took multiple GeekBench 5 scores for each chipset (M1, M1 Pro 8-Core, M1 Pro 10-Core, and M1 Max) and calculated an average for each single-core / multi-core number for the For consistency. We recorded a range of five single-core scores and five multi-core scores for each chipset and calculated an average for each score. Benchmarks aren't necessarily an indication of real-world performance, which is why we said before that they are barely scientific, but they do give a rough indication of how a CPU performs in numbers, making the task of illustration and explanation much harder . , much easier.

There are a couple of takeaways here. The first is that the single-core performance, on average, appears to be largely the same between the four chips. This is particularly surprising given that the original M1 hit the market last year and the M1 Pro and M1 Max have significantly more expensive computers. But that's probably not exactly the kind of improvement Apple was aiming for with these chips. Instead, we see significant differences in multi-core performance.

The M1 Pro 8-Core has an average score of 9,933 multi-core compared to the regular M1 of 7,669 points. This is a jump of 30%, even though both chips have the same number of cores (eight), which means the performance improvements Apple claims can be seen on the lower version of the chip as well. Further improvements can be seen in the M1 Pro 10-Core, which manages to jump another 20% to 12,061.

Then the M1 Max, Apple's flagship chip, is the absolute performance winner – but by no means. It achieves an average of 12,711 points, which is only a 5% increase in performance compared to the M1 Pro 10 core. On the other hand, however, the M1 Max also has a much larger 24-core or 32-core GPU, which should do a lot better than the M1 Pro's 16-core GPU.

Which Apple CPU Should You Buy?

Now that you know the difference between all of Apple's desktop chips, which one is better for you? The answer to that depends entirely on your needs, but unless you really need the performance of the new MacBook Pro computers, you are probably fine with the regular M1.

Yes, we have already found in this article that the two new chips represent a significant improvement over the older chip. For now, however, they're only available in the new MacBook Pros in their 14-inch and 16-inch presentations. That wouldn't be a problem, except that they start at $ 1999 for the M1 Pro 8-core and quickly get expensive considering the more powerful models with better CPUs, more memory, and more RAM.

Related: Apple M1 Macs are way ahead of Windows on ARM devices: Here's why

The M1, on the other hand, is available in cheaper configurations. For example, last year's MacBook Air starts at $ 999, and if you don't need a laptop, the Mac mini comes with the same CPU for $ 699.

There are reasons you might want the more expensive MacBooks. For example, if you're doing heavier design work, or doing something CPU or GPU intensive, you probably want to spend a few thousand dollars on a good MacBook Pro that comes with either the M1 Pro or M1 Max. But if you're just looking on the internet, running a few programs, sending e-mails, and using your computer casually, an M1 equipped device is still worth the purchase.

M1 Pro / Max for professionals, M1 for everyone else

We just outlined how each chipset stack up against each other and what you should be buying as the average user and power user. Of course, the M1 is still perfect for most people, but the M1 Pro and M1 Max go further. Not only are they a great tool for Apple power users, but they also show that AMD, Intel, and Qualcomm should be very scared of Apple, especially in the years to come.

The CPU competition is alive and well and we are very excited about the.

iMac vs. MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro: Which One is Right for You?

Torn between the M1 MacBook Air, M1 iMac and the new M1 Pro MacBook Pro? Here is a guide to help you decide.

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About the author

Arol Wright
(24 articles published)

Arol is a tech journalist and staff writer at MakeUseOf. He has also worked as a news and feature writer at XDA-Developers and Pixel Spot. Arol is currently studying pharmacy at the Central University of Venezuela and has had a soft spot for everything to do with technology since childhood. When you're not writing, you can find him either deep in his textbooks or playing video games.

By Arol Wright

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