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Apple M1

Apple M1 chip.

M1. © Apple.

The Mac Mini ARM that was shipped to developers after WWDC 2020 had a A12Z chip, the same as the iPad Pro. This seemed to indicate that the next generation of Mac ARMs would come with some variant of the chips that power its telephones and tablets. But that’s not what happened: the first Mac ARMs unveiled today (a MacBook Air, a 13-inch MacBook Pro and a surprise Mac mini) come with the first model of a brand-new family of SoCs developed by Apple. Called M1, the eight-core chip was developed specifically for Macs. M1 is the first personal computer chip built using cutting-edge 5-nanometer process technology and is packed with an astounding 16 billion transistors. The SoC features not just a CPU, a GPU, input-output management, a Neural Engine, and caches, but also the entire computer’s DRAM. Apple explains that unifying the memory on one and the same SoC provides considerable gains in performance. The flip side is that you can’t increase your RAM. Since the new models come with (probably) one of two variants of the M1, they can only have 8 or 16GB of RAM. If you need more, you’ll have to wait for the next Mac, or fall back on the Mac Intels that are still available. Also, the M1 does not support external GPUs and can’t manage SSD storage over 2TB. The good news is that the first benchmarks show excellent performances. For example, the MacBook Air M1 outperforms all the iOS machines. And the single-core versions beat all previous Macs, including the 10th-generation MacBook Pro 2.4GHz Intel Core i9.

Apple M1 chip.

Apple Newsroom, “Apple unleashes M1.”

Ars Technica, Corey Gaskin, “Apple dishes details on its new M1 chip.”

MacRumors, Juli Clover, “Apple Silicon chips yesterday, and as of today, the first benchmark of the new chip appears to be showing up on the Geekbench site..”

 

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