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Wednesday, December 08, 2021

As Apple launches more M1 silicon, Intel’s chips are certainly down

Apple launched its silicon, the M1, it was opening a new front. Now there are two more, offering different levels of processing power, all quite unprecedented on commercial laptops and a lot more battery life as well.

Written by Nandagopal Rajan | Kozhikode |
Updated: October 19, 2021 12:13:18 am
Apple M1, Apple M1 Pro, M1 Max, M1 Max chipset, Apple Macbook Pro, Apple MacBook vs Intel, Apple vs Intel, Intel vs M1, Intel core i9 vs M1Apple M1 Pro and M1 Max chipsets offer powerful performance and could leave Intel far behind.

Apple now has three of its own processors powering most of its devices across different uses cases and price points. All that Apple has gained in the realm of processors over the past year or so has been at the cost of Intel and the new M1 Pro and M1 Max will just rub it in further for the silicon major.

So what’s the big deal? Well, last year when Apple launched its silicon, the M1, it was opening a new front. Now there are two more, offering different levels of processing power, all quite unprecedented on commercial laptops but also with hours more of battery life than before.

Apple claims that the two new processors are capable of CPU and GPU power that will make the present “PC processors” look like the Model T Fords in the era of Ferraris. For instance, these can process seven threads of 8K ProRes video at the same time or run three 4K HDR screens along with a 4K TV.

Apple M1, Apple M1 Pro, M1 Max, M1 Max chipset, Apple Macbook Pro, Apple MacBook vs Intel, Apple vs Intel, Intel vs M1, Intel core i9 vs M1 Apple M1 Pro and M1 Max also add dedicated ProRes accelerators in the media engine, for much, much faster and power-efficient video processing, according to Apple. (Image credit: Apple)

All unprecedented stuff. But all stuff that Pro-level consumers would have expected Intel to fix over the years, maybe with MacBook Pros, but certainly not from Apple. The launches today could well have lost Intel a big chunk of its clients, especially in the creative fields of animation, cinema production, and graphics. If these new MacBooks, which can be configured with either M1 Pro or M1 Max, are good for top-end video editing they have become more than good for a lot of other industries and users.

Apple claims that the M1 Pro and M1 Max achieve the PC chip’s peak performance at up to 70 percent less power.

Now Apple has three processors with increasing processing powers like Intel’s lineups have traditionally been. So the M1 is like the Core i3, while the M1 Pro is the mid-range Core i5 and the M1 Max will be equivalent to the Core i7 if you take a very simplistic view of things. But the trouble could be that given Apple is using a much more advanced chip architecture compared to Intel, the M1 could actually be more powerful than Intel’s mid-range processors. Even with GPU, Apple is claiming a huge advantage, and that too at much lower power consumption levels.

While we will know over the coming weeks how the Apple processors actually perform in real life, we can rest assured that it has already put Intel, which used to lord over the processor segment till a few quarters back, in a very tight spot.

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