Apple has unveiled its first proprietary ARM chip for Macs. The M1 is a soc that is made at 5nm and contains 16 billion transistors. The chip has 8 CPU cores, 4 of which are powerful and 4 economical. The soc also contains a gpu and dram.
According to Apple, the powerful cores are faster than the fastest CPU cores with Intel CPUs at the moment. Apple does not disclose at what clock speed the M1 chip runs. In addition to the four powerful cores, the chip has four efficient cores. According to Apple, they use only a tenth of the energy and are intended to perform simple tasks.
The soc has an integrated GPU with ‘up to’ eight cores and 128 execution units. That wording indicates that Apple will release variants of the M1 chip with different GPUs. Apple claims that the GPU from the M1 is much faster than the integrated GPUs from Intel processors.
As with the A-socs for iPhones and iPads, there is a Neural Engine in the M1-soc. It is a variant with sixteen cores, just like in the A14-soc. Apple is also adding its own Secure Enclave to the chip.
Apple claims that the M1 chip far outperforms the Intel chips that the manufacturer now uses in its MacBooks. The chip would achieve the same peak performance with only a quarter of the consumption. Apple presented the M1-soc during a presentation Tuesday evening, where the introduction of a MacBook based on an ARM chip is also expected.
Apple announced in June to switch to own ARM chips for all its Mac systems. There will still be new devices with Intel processors, but in two years all PCs and laptops from Apple must have their own chips. Tweakers wrote one background article on Apple’s switch from Intel to ARM.