Apple announces M1 as first Mac Apple Silicon chip

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited November 2020
Apple has announced the M1 at its November event, the first Apple Silicon system-on-chip designed for the Mac.

Apple M1 chip


Said to be designed for low-powered systems while offering as much performance as possible, the M1 is the first in the new series of chips Apple is producing in its two-year migration of the Mac line away from Intel processors.

Made using a 5-nanometer process and using 16 billion transistors, the M1 is an eight-core chip that uses four high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores, balancing performance and power. Apple claims it gives the highest performance per watt in a CPU, and the four high-efficiency cores deliver the same performance as a dual-core Intel-based MacBook Air alone.

Apple also advises all eight cores can work together for high-work-load tasks.

Using a unified memory architecture, the System on Chip offers a high-bandwith, low-latency design for high performance. It does so by combining high-bandwidth, low latency memory into a single pool, within a custom package, which allows all of the technologies in the SoC to access the same data without needing to copy it to other data pools beforehand.

Apple M1 Chip


The four high-efficiency cores have a wide execution architecture, with 128KB of instruction cache, 64KB of data cache, and a shared 4MB L2 cache. The high-performance cores have an ultra-wide execution architecture, with 192KB of instruction cache, 128KB of data cache, and a shared 12MB L2 cache.

For graphics, the M1 includes up to an eight-core GPU, and is the "most advanced graphics processor" Apple has created. It is claimed to provide twice the performance of a PC chip's integrated graphics, and can provide peak performance at a third of the power consumption.

The GPU has 128 execution units, which can work with up to 24,576 concurrent threads, enabling it to perform at up to 2.6 teraflops per second, 82 gigatexels per second, and 41 gigapixels per second.

It also includes a 16-core Neural Engine offering 11 trillion operations per second, with the entire chip designed to work optimally for machine learning. The new architecture is said to have 15 times faster machine learning performance.

In terms of general performance, Apple says it delivers up to 3.5 times faster CPU performance, up to 6x faster GPU performance, and up to 15x faster machine learning than previous-generation Macs. It also helps enable battery life of up to twice the length as previous versions.

Apple's newest image signal processor is included for higher-quality video with better noise reduction, an enhanced dynamic range, and better auto white balance control.

New low-power and high-efficiency media encode and decode engines will assist by providing high performance while minimizing battery consumption. A latest-generation Secure Enclave, a built-in Thunderbolt and USB4 controller, and a high-performance storage controller with AES encryption hardware are also included in the chip.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    docno42docno42 Posts: 3,551member
    Thank goodness they kept the MacBook Air.  Time for an uprade!
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 31
    "Apple claims it gives the highest performance per watt possible, and delivers the same performance as a dual-core Intel-based MacBook Air."

    That is 1.1 GHz. 
    elijahg
  • Reply 3 of 31
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,034member
    Something/s not right. They were talking about software running up to 3.8 times faster, so how could performance be equal to a two core Air chip. I just watched it, and I didn’t get that it was equivalent. We’re all missing something.

    it just occurred to me what they said. I also said this on Arstechnica. It’s the four efficiency cores that are equal to the MacBook Air x86 chip, not the entire M1
    edited November 2020 hcrefugeemagman1979Alex1Nwatto_cobracornchipbig_fan
  • Reply 4 of 31
    M68000M68000 Posts: 367member
    docno42 said:
    Thank goodness they kept the MacBook Air.  Time for an uprade!
    It’s very popular,  I have used them for 9 years.  Now, this new one appears to be really extra amazing.  Can’t wait for reviews
    williamlondonwatto_cobragregoriusmbig_fan
  • Reply 5 of 31
    MalcolmOwenMalcolmOwen Posts: 21member, editor
    melgross said:
    Something/s not right. They were talking about software running up to 3.8 times faster, so how could performance be equal to a two core Air chip. I just watched it, and I didn’t get that it was equivalent. We’re all missing something.

    it just occurred to me what they said. I also said this on Arstechnica. It’s the four efficiency cores that are equal to the MacBook Air x86 chip, not the entire M1
    This is correct. First version of the article was done at speed, and has been updated with the clarification. 
    hcrefugeewatto_cobrarundhvid
  • Reply 6 of 31
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,446member
    melgross said:
    it just occurred to me what they said. I also said this on Arstechnica. It’s the four efficiency cores that are equal to the MacBook Air x86 chip, not the entire M1

    Correct. In the article it's written a little out of context. Pretty sure they said the efficiency cores were as performant as the dual-core Air, while using 1/10th the power.
    magman1979Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 31
    Interesting. Even RAM is now part of CPU. The awesome and ultimate Mac1 chip. Love it.
    williamlondonmagman1979watto_cobrabig_fan
  • Reply 8 of 31
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,446member
    Kind of strange that they went with the "M" naming, since it's already being used for their Motion chips in iOS devices. I guessed it might be "X", because of that. But "M" for Mac makes sense. They've repurposed names before, iBook, MagSafe.
    watto_cobrabig_fan
  • Reply 9 of 31
    mfrydmfryd Posts: 133member
    Perhaps I missed it.  But I did not see any mention of clock speed, or Windows compatibility.

    I need to occasionally run Windows software.  I current use Parallels.   Will Apple Silicon based chips be able to run Parallels and Windows?  
    williamlondonelijahgwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 31
    mfryd said:
    Perhaps I missed it.  But I did not see any mention of clock speed, or Windows compatibility.

    I need to occasionally run Windows software.  I current use Parallels.   Will Apple Silicon based chips be able to run Parallels and Windows?  
    I think the "Universal" application that emulates Intel chip on M1 will be able to do that. It was mentioned on the Apple Event video.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 31
    Im not seeing a reason to chose the more expensive 13" pro over the cheaper Air for a 200£ saving.
    Both have this..
    • Apple M1 chip with 8‑core CPU, 8‑core GPU and 16‑core Neural Engine
    • 8GB unified memory
    • 512GB SSD storage¹
    • Retina display with True Tone
    • Magic Keyboard
    • Touch ID
    • Force Touch trackpad
    • Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports
    watto_cobrabig_fan
  • Reply 12 of 31
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,446member
    mfryd said:
    Perhaps I missed it.  But I did not see any mention of clock speed, or Windows compatibility.

    I need to occasionally run Windows software.  I current use Parallels.   Will Apple Silicon based chips be able to run Parallels and Windows?  

    Clock speed was rumored to be variable, from 1.8GHz up to 3.1GHz.

    No, these will not run Windows via Parallels. You will need to find software that does x86 hardware emulation.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 31
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,446member
    Im not seeing a reason to chose the more expensive 13" pro over the cheaper Air for a 200£ saving.
    Both have this..
    • Apple M1 chip with 8‑core CPU, 8‑core GPU and 16‑core Neural Engine
    • 8GB unified memory
    • 512GB SSD storage¹
    • Retina display with True Tone
    • Magic Keyboard
    • Touch ID
    • Force Touch trackpad
    • Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports

    The (cheaper) Air has only 7 GPU cores and it cannot sustain higher performance as long due to its passive cooling.
    edited November 2020 watto_cobragregoriusm
  • Reply 14 of 31
    As far as I got it the blue and white halves of the circle coming together were meant to show the chip can run anything either pre of post m1 chip
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 31
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,446member
    As far as I got it the blue and white halves of the circle coming together were meant to show the chip can run anything either pre of post m1 chip

    I assume you're talking about the yin and yang icon of Universal Binary 2?

    That's a technology that allows developers to create an application (compile code) that can run on both Intel based Macs and M1 based Macs.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 31
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,034member
    mfryd said:
    Perhaps I missed it.  But I did not see any mention of clock speed, or Windows compatibility.

    I need to occasionally run Windows software.  I current use Parallels.   Will Apple Silicon based chips be able to run Parallels and Windows?  
    I think it was 1.8GHz for normal running, and 3.1GHz for turbo mode. But I could be confusing that with the supposed specs for the new A14x.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 31
    Just finished the Apple Event an hour late. The bonus clip of the PC guy (yes, the same I am a PC guy) at the end is hilarious.
    magman1979Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 31
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,527member
    Underwhelming event with no AirTags or audio announcements.

    No FaceID and no new Mac App Store to kick off Apple Silicon Macs and no new design.

    Before the usuals reply "what where you expecting a teleportation machine!!"
    No I was expecting the usual Apple stuff like innovative new designs and new features.
  • Reply 19 of 31
    Beats said:
    Underwhelming event with no AirTags or audio announcements.

    No FaceID and no new Mac App Store to kick off Apple Silicon Macs and no new design.

    Before the usuals reply "what where you expecting a teleportation machine!!"
    No I was expecting the usual Apple stuff like innovative new designs and new features.
    Apple just formally launched an new line of Macs using an entirely new architecture, that is magnitudes faster than prior tech, doubles the battery life of MBP to 20 hours, and it's....underwhelming to you, because they didn't redesign the MBA or MBP, or announce other future products. Riiiight. Some of you are seriously bored.
    edited November 2020 Alex1Nwatto_cobrachiarundhvidRayz2016
  • Reply 20 of 31
    normmnormm Posts: 637member
    mfryd said:
    Perhaps I missed it.  But I did not see any mention of clock speed, or Windows compatibility.

    I need to occasionally run Windows software.  I current use Parallels.   Will Apple Silicon based chips be able to run Parallels and Windows?  
    It can run Mac Intel apps under Rosetta, but not Windows Intel apps.

    That said, Microsoft makes a version of Windows that runs on their ARM Surface machines.  It includes a system for translating and caching x86 executables similar to Rosetta, to emulate x86 Windows Intel apps on ARM.  They have not announced its availability to run on Apple Silicon, but presumably they could.

    There are also cloud based services that let you maintain a virtual Windows machine running on a remote server, when you need it.
    edited November 2020 watto_cobracornchip
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