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M1 Apple - What Is It & Why Is It Game changing?

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By LWS Editorial Team

M1 Apple: What is it and why is it game-changing?

Apple announced its new M1 chip back in June 2020. There was a lot of skepticism at first, but within a couple of weeks of its release, it was evident that Apple’s new M1 chip was going to give all its competitors a run for their money.

According to Apple, M1 is the first chip specifically designed for Mac and it delivers:

•Unprecedented performance

•Revolutionary power efficiency

•Custom technologies

•Incredible performance per watt

The M1 chip is certainly not just an upgrade, it is without a shred of doubt an incredible breakthrough.

The M1 Chip

The M1 chip is Apple’s first “System on a Chip” or SoC, to be used in Mac architechure. Ever since 2006 MACs were shipped with Intel chips that used either x86 or x86_64 architecture, similar architecture to Windows PCs.

The M1 Apple chip uses the ARM architecture instead, and architecture that was initially designed to be powered by mobile or similar portable devices like the iPhone and iPads. The AEM architecture, from the very beginning, was designed for low power consumption with maximum efficiency.

Some of the most noticeable benefits, functionality, and features of the new M1 Apple chip are discussed in the following sections:

Entire System on the Chip

All Macs until now required multiple chips to provide all the functionalities that it did including:

•Processor

•Security

•I/O

•Memory

But with the new M1 Apple chip all the above functions, which were delivered by multiple chips, are now delivered by SoC, a single system on a chip. A unified single system on a chip allows for a new level of integration and simplicity while boasting increased efficiency and unprecedented performance equal to Intel’s i9 series.

According to Apple, M1 chips has the greatest number of transistors that they have ever put into a chip with more than 16 billion transistors.

Unified Memory

With the help of unified memory, with M1 Apple chip:

•Video Applications run smoothly and are snappier

•Games on Mac with M1 chip are richer and more detailed

•Lightning-fast image processing

•Overall more responsiveness throughout the system

All these features are a result of the unified memory architecture of this chip. It unifies the low-latency memory and high-bandwidth memory into a single pool. As a result, the M1 Apple chips are able to use the same data without needing to copy it on multiple memory pools.

CPU Performance

According to Apple, the 8-core CPU inside M1 is the highest-performing CPU ever created by Apple. The CPU inside M1 is divided into two types of cores: four high-performance cores and 4 high-efficiency cores, for two specific functionalities:

•High performance

•High efficiency

Depending on the activity of Apple users the CPU utilizes different amounts of these cores to give its user the best experience possible. No matter what the user is doing, from editing photos to exporting iMovie videos, from managing Lightroom’s huge raw libraries to checking emails, the M1 with its two types of core blazes thought all of it.

Integrated Graphics

It is normal practice to integrate a graphics card with a PC to get the best graphical performance. With the M1 Apple chip’s integrated graphics Apple users can get the best of both worlds:

•Low power consumption

•Increased graphics performance

The GPU integrated into the M1 is the most advanced ever built by Apple with eight GPU cores and the ability to execute 25,000 threads simultaneously. The GPU of the M1 Apple chip is in a class of its own with better texture bandwidth, better fill rate, better power efficiency, better teraflops, better everything.

Machine Learning

For developers, this is the most exciting feature of M1. M1 features Apple’s latest and greatest Neural Engine. The 16-core design of the Neural Engine is capable of executing for than 11 trillion operations per second. With machine learning accelerators, 8 core GPU, and Neural Engine, M1 is built to perform and excel at machine learning. 

With an M1 chip:

•Intelligently frame a clip using Final Cut Pro in an instant.

•At incredible speeds, increase the sharpness and details using Pixelmator Pro.

An app currently in existence and any app that is yet to come, which utilizes machine learning features, will see an unimaginable performance.

Battery Life

Incorporating an M1 Apple chip provide a massive increase in performance with extended battery life in Macs. The big leap in performance and power management, in addition to the M1 chip, is also contributed to the macOS Big Sur.

MacOS Big Sur possesses an advanced power management feature that intelligently manages the power consumption and allocates tasks to the M1 Apple chip. These tasks are allocated to the performance cores and efficiency cores accordingly. This intelligent allocation of lightweight tasks and performance-intensive tasks result in the best performance of battery life ever seen in Macs.

More Apps

The addition of M1 Apple chips and its technologies makes it possible for a range of applications to work on Mac. A Mac can now run more applications than ever. This capability is also attributed to macOS Big Sur that is jam-packed with new technologies. The technologies provided by macOS Big Sur allows for a greater range of apps to run on the system.

With developers working day and night to bring more applications to the platform, the collection of applications is only going to increase more and more.

Each and every app made by apple have been optimized for M1. Such apps include:

•Keynote

•Pages

•GarageBand

•iMovie

With M1 Logic Pro can run up to 3 times more instruments and plugins, Final Cut Pro can render 6 times faster, and color correction for 6K videos in real-time with Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve.

M1 Apple chips in Macs also allow users to run iPhone and iPad applications on their system, which means more games, more content, and more apps that you love on a single device. All these applications work and behave like native apps and not like running applications on an emulator.

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