Apple has been making components such as software, hardware, etc on their own. However, one thing they were always failing to make was a processor. For a long time now, Apple was supplying their MacBooks with Intel X86 CPUs. But, things are changing up for Apple in 2020. They will be producing and supplying their MacBooks with ARM-based processors. The first generation of which will be called Apple M1. This processor features eight cores, a custom integrated GPU, an image signal processor, and a Neural Engine. The whole chip is manufactured on a 5nm process, which means that the chip will be really fast and power efficient.
SoC Features And Performance
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, says that generally, the percentage of users new to Mac is very high, and 2020 has seen an increase in this figure. Since Apple was making SoCs for iPhones and iPads on their own, then why not for MacBooks. And hence, Apple pulled a step forward and made its own Apple M1 SoC. And with the coming years, Apple is planning to make this SoC more and more powerful and power efficient. Currently, this SoC will power the latest MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Pro, etc.
Developing the M Series, the main focus was on power efficiency and a small size. And hence, Apple packed in the processor with a 5nm design. A unified memory architecture will allow all the blocks to be able to access a singular pool of memory and avoid duplication as well as reduce latency. All this while being efficient on power. A single-chip contains over 16 billion transistors thanks to the industry-leading 5nm process.
There are a total of eight chips on the processor. Four of these eight cores are the high performing cores. These deliver the best performance per watt figures, according to Apple. According to what Apple says, these chips are sure to give more than 3 times the performance of the top SoCs among laptop CPUs today. The chip is believed to be more potent than the current Intel CPU powering the MacBooks while consuming less power.
The rest of the eight cores are power-efficient cores. These will be utilized for less power-intensive tasks such as surfing on the web or listening to music on your Mac.
The balance between when to use the high-performing cores and when to use the low power cores will be efficiently coordinated by the Neural unit on the SoC.
As for the graphics performance, the eight GPU cores on the chip are capable of delivering 2.6 Teraflops, which makes it the world’s most powerful integrated GPU. Despite the high power figures, the overall power consumption is still low. It is as low as one-third of some of the mainstream integrated GPUs.
The processor also includes machine learning acceleration because of the Neural Engine present with the chip.
The M1 chip is planned to be rolled out inside the upcoming MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini.