This is Apple’s first SoC designed specifically to provide full Mac functionality as well as the M1. It bears generational resemblance to the A14 running this year with the iPad Air and the new iPhone 12 family.
Both new chips use TSMC’s latest 5nm manufacturing technology to pack incredibly compact logic components into a very tight package. By itself, it becomes faster and more energy efficient. The close relationship between TSMC and Apple, the world leader in chipmaking, has helped in many ways to keep up with Intel.
Even ignoring the architectural differences, Intel’s own silicon process for producing an 8th-generation “Coffee Lake” Core i5 on a 13-inch MacBook Pro, the base model is discontinued, the 13-inch MacBook Pro, released in May, was 14nm. The latest 10th Generation “Ice Lake” Intel Core i5 / I7 chips that Apple still offer at a significant premium are also built on a 10nm process.
This represents several years of chip technology from TSMC, which built the $ 10 million Apple A11 Bionic for the iPhone 8 in 2017. Of course, TSMC’s technological edge in silicon isn’t the only reason Apple is making great strides in silicon.
Apple’s expertise in actively driving the development of increasingly complex CPU cores is also important. Critics try to humiliate Apple’s work in the same way as licensing ARM’s intellectual property, but this is not the case. Apple’s custom processor cores have destroyed ARM-based competition from Samsung and other companies that have developed their own kernels or used shared reference designs written by ARM itself.
In addition to CPU cores, Apple has developed a unique generation of performance controllers that manage parallel cores working together. This is important for fast transitions to less powerful cores, or for downtime of unnecessary logic to speed up processing and extend battery life.
Like the A14, the new M1 uses two sets of CPU cores: the high-performance Firestorm and the energy-efficient Ice Storm. The A14 offers 2 faster cores and 4 slower cores, while the M1 uses 4 cores each. That’s twice as many processor cores as the Intel chips we’ve used before, but more importantly, the 4×4 layout allows for power optimization that Apple has perfectly applied to mobile devices.
The result is up to 20 hours of functional battery life in the same MacBook Pro battery pack. The potential capacity processes numbers faster than Intel and then stays idle again for life.
It looks like Apple will have to develop a new chip design to handle more than 16GB of RAM. This limitation is likely one of the reasons the M1 is currently only available at the bottom of Apple’s current Mac lineup. At the same time, the alleged design of the M1 is aimed at the lowest dangling fruit that Apple can use with its first-generation Mac SoC.
A similar causal relationship exists with Thunderbolt. Apple has included an internally developed 40Gbps Thunderbolt controller that supports the new USB 4 specification, which has two USB-C ports. Supports one external display over DisplayPort to Thunderbolt 3 using USB C or VGA, HDMI, and Thunderbolt 2 displays with adapters. Newer M1 computers do not support external eGPUs over Thunderbolt.
Most mobile users can take advantage of the currently available Thunderbolt docking station arrays, especially those with multiple Thunderbolt USB-C ports, just like the original design of Intel’s base 13-inch MacBook Pro. We prefer the ports to be located on the left and right side of the machine. Moreover, the connection to the power grid is becoming more flexible and convenient.
Adding additional Thunderbolt connections and ports (such as those available in the Intel 13-inch MacBook Pro 4-port version) requires a new M-chip design that adds serial controller logic. The M1 silicon budget includes a number of engineering compromises to optimize the chip for its intended purpose. Apple’s decision not only limits its capabilities, but also maximizes its effectiveness.
In PCs, “integrated graphics” has historically meant basic graphics performance versus “discrete graphics,” where the GPU is a separate chip from the CPU. For example, high-performance Apple computers combine Intel processors with more powerful AMD GPUs.
But on mobile, Apple has adopted an integrated design that combines the best mobile processor with the best mobile GPU architecture. This Apple GPU is based on a unique lineage that uses tile-based deferred rendering, a way to effectively render only the elements that are displayed on the screen.
This architecture also combines the CPU and GPU with the same memory architecture to avoid expensive graphics-related copy operations. Working smarter, not harder, Apple’s Unified Memory Architecture redefines integrated graphics and delivers high-performance rendering with unprecedented memory and battery efficiency.
Best of all, it allows the M1 MacBook Pro to perform much better than expected with just 8 or 16 GB of RAM. This is an advantage that Apple has long supported on iOS devices. An M1-based MacBook Pro can comfortably drive an Apple Pro Display XDR 6K with 8GB of RAM without the need for additional video-only memory.
T2 Chip Apple’s recent use in Intel Macs has already brought some of the silicon features of the iOS platform to Macs. The M1 continues this, but it integrates all these features more tightly on the same chip as the CPU and GPU. The new M1 Mac architecture offers the latest Apple Secure Enclave, which fixes vulnerabilities in the previous T2.
The M1 also includes the latest version of Apple’s dedicated high-performance storage controller for SSD storage management. It also handles encryption acceleration to encrypt storage at linear speed to protect file access in case of system theft.
Like Intel replacement products, this MacBook Pro does not have SSD storage expansion options. This means that when you order a car, you need to buy as much storage space as you need. From local network storage to USB and Thunderbolt drives, iCloud and other forms of external storage, it all makes it easy for many users to buy high-value, high-capacity solid state drives.
The M1 also includes Apple’s latest image signal processing technology to deliver the best image quality from FaceTime cameras. Surprisingly, this high-end MacBook Pro still uses a 720p camera and hasn’t changed in about a decade like modern Apple laptops. The new ISP helps you get noticeably better images and videos from this sensor, which most users primarily use for Zoom and FaceTime calls by default, but the MacBook seems to need an improved camera sensor.
M1 MacBook Pro deals
Apple’s 13-inch Late 2020 MacBook Pro with the new M1 chip is now on sale and you can only save on an exclusive promo code on AppleInsider. Coupon information and discounts are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in our 13-inch AI MacBook Pro pricing guide, with prices and deals updated throughout the day.
We encourage you to read our price comparison guide before purchasing. That’s because many of the exclusive deals, along with the AppleCare bonus discount, can save a lot on your Mac purchase.
On my daily job, I am a software engineer, programmer & computer technician. My passion is assembling PC hardware, studying Operating System and all things related to computers technology. I also love to make short films for YouTube as a producer. More at about me…