Apple Unveils M1 Chip: First Apple Silicon for the Mac

M1 chip

Apple has just unveiled its first SoC for the Mac—known as M1, based on the 5nm technology and has 16 billion transistors. There are 8 performance cores: 4 high-efficiency cores and 4 high-performance single thread cores. Apple says these are the world’s fastest CPU core.

Optimized for Mac systems, M1 has the lowest power consumption of CPU chips ever, using 1/4 of the power of traditional PC chips when it comes to performance. For M1 graphics power consumption, it’s also lower at 1/3 the power versus the latest PC laptop chips (aka Intel).

According to Apple, M1 delivers up to 3.5x faster CPU performance, up to 6x faster GPU performance, and up to 15x faster machine learning, all while enabling battery life up to 2x longer than previous-generation Macs.

“There has never been a chip like M1, our breakthrough SoC for the Mac. It builds on more than a decade of designing industry-leading chips for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, and ushers in a whole new era for the Mac,” said Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Technologies.

M1 also includes Apple’s most advanced GPU. Featuring up to eight powerful cores capable of running nearly 25,000 threads simultaneously, the GPU can handle extremely demanding tasks with ease, from smooth playback of multiple 4K video streams to rendering complex 3D scenes. With 2.6 teraflops of throughput, M1 has the world’s fastest integrated graphics in a personal computer.

The M1 chip is packed with a number of powerful custom technologies, including:

  • Apple’s latest image signal processor (ISP) for higher quality video with better noise reduction, greater dynamic range, and improved auto white balance.
  • The latest Secure Enclave for best-in-class security.
  • A high-performance storage controller with AES encryption hardware for faster and more secure SSD performance.
  • Low-power, highly efficient media encode and decode engines for great performance and extended battery life.
  • An Apple-designed Thunderbolt controller with support for USB 4, transfer speeds up to 40Gbps, and compatibility with more peripherals than ever.

The M1 powers the new MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini, and marks the beginning of a transition to a new family of chips designed specifically for the Mac.