The M1 Processor for Apple. Is it good enough?

The Apple M1 is the first ARM-based system on a chip (SoC) designed by Apple Inc. as a central processing unit (CPU) for its line of Macintosh computer. It was inspired by their ARM A14 chip. To try it, you’re going to have to choose between one of the three new products that feature the chip: the new MacBook Air, the 13-inch MacBook Pro or the Mac Mini. Each comes with two configurations using the M1. The MacBook Pro also still has two Intel configurations on offer, and the Mac Mini has one Intel processor offering.

It is the first personal computer chip built using a 5 nm process. Apple claims that it has the world’s fastest CPU core “in low power silicon” and the world’s best CPU performance per watt.  The M1 has four high-performance ‘Firestorm’ and four energy-efficient ‘Icestorm’ cores. Apple claims the energy-efficient cores use one tenth the power of the high-performance ones.

Four of the M1’s cores are dedicated to high-power performance, while the other 4 are for low-power efficiency. That evens out to a 10W thermal envelope overall, with the low power cores supposedly taking up a tenth of the power needed for the high-power cores. The chip also has a total of 16 billion transistors.

The M1 system on a chip (SOC) with integrated graphics and onboard memory. The included GPU has 8 cores as well, with 128 total compute units (EUs) and 1024 ALUs, lso contains dedicated neural network hardware in a 16-core Neural Engine, capable of executing 11 trillion operations per second. The “unified memory” replaces the need for separate RAM, meaning that the chip comes with either 8GB or 16GB of LPDDR4X-4266 MHz SDRAM, depending on your device. Other components include an image signal processor (ISP), an NVMe storage controller, Thunderbolt 4 controllers, and a Secure Enclave.

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