Apple has unveiled its new M1 chip, marking the start of a plan to transition away from Intel CPUs.
The 8-core chip, with four high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores, features 5-nm process technology, 16 billion transistors, the Apple Neural Engine (which has “Apple’s most advanced 16-core architecture”), and Mac optimisation.
Apple claims that that the M1’s CPU cores are the world’s fastest “in low-power silicon”. The M1 is said to be capable of delivering 3.5x and 6x better CPU and GPU performance improvements respectively, along with 15x faster machine learning. The performance improvements are accompanied by increased battery life that’s “2x longer than previous-generation Macs”.
Image source: Apple
The M1’s high-efficiency cores are said to deliver performance similar to the current-gen dual-core MacBook Air but at “much lower” power, while the high-performance cores are said to allow developers to build apps at almost three times the current possible speed.
The chip also comes with what Apple calls its most advanced GPU, with eight cores that can run “nearly 25,000 threads simultaneously” and “2.6 teraflops of throughput”.
In addition, the M1 has an SoC also provides for CPU, I/O, security, and other functions. “M1 also features a unified memory architecture that brings together high-bandwidth, low-latency memory into a single pool within a custom package,” said Apple. “This allows all of the technologies in the SoC to access the same data without copying it between multiple pools of memory, further improving performance and efficiency.”
Image source: Apple
Other features include a new image signal processor, a “high-performance” storage controller, and a Thunderbolt controller designed by Apple with USB 4.0 support, up to 40Gbps transfer speeds, and greater peripheral compatibility.
The M1 will be found in Apple’s new MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini, the firs three devices to equip the chip. Apple plans to fully transition to its own chip family in two years.