Apple has just announced its first custom silicon for the Mac – the M1. The chip is based on the 5nm process with 16 billion transistors at its heart. The M1 chip packs 8 cores – four performance cored and 4 high-efficiency cores. Apple claims that the four performance cores are the fastest cores out there and they deliver the best performance per watt of any chip out there. For comparison, the Apple M1 chip is claimed to deliver almost double the performance as the current MacBook Air, but with higher efficiency in tow.
As for the graphics, you get an integrated GPU that is claimed to be the world’s fastest integrated graphics out there. The octa-core GPU packs 128 execution units. It is also said to deliver 2X more graphics performance at almost half the wattage. Additionally, the M1 chip also offers a 16-core Neural Engine that is claimed to be the fastest neural engine in the industry. As for the cache, you get a shared 12MB L2 cache.
Other components of the M1 chip include Thunderbolt 4 and Gen 4 PCIe support, a high-efficiency audio processor, a performance controller, an advanced display engine, a cryptography accelerator as well as machine learning accelerators to name a few.
The M1 chip relies on a unified memory architecture that promises blazing-fast wakeup and great performance without comprising with power efficiency and battery life. The architecture provides high-bandwidth, low-latency in a package that is accessible to the entire SoC. The new chip also bundles a hardware-verified secure enclave.
Apple is promising a smooth app transition from the mobile to Mac platform, since all iPhone and iPad apps will run natively on the new MacBooks with the M1 chip inside. And from the testimonial of developers that Apple showed during the presentation, the new MacBooks powered by the M1 chip will be much faster than their Intel-powered predecessors.