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What is Apple M1 Chip?

On 10 November 2020, Apple launched its new M1 chip, specifically for the Mac using cutting-edge 5-nanometer process technology and is packed with 16 billion transistors-- the most the company has ever put into a chip. 

For the first time, Apple is using an ARM-powered processor to power its most popular Macs: MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro and Mac Mini. This means that Mac computers will now have Apple’s custom M1 chip and not an Intel Core processor inside.

What is M1 Chip?

It is an 8-core SoC (System-on-Chip) chip which uses cutting-edge 5-nanometer process technology and is packed with 16 billion transistors. The chip handles all the computing as well as the graphics task. 

The features of M1 Chip are as follows:

1- An entire system on a single chip

Until recently, Mac required a number of chips to deliver all of its features such as processor, I/O, security, and memory but with M1, all these features are combined into a single SoC. 

Also, the chip has 16 billion transistors-- the most that Apple has ever put into a chip and is built using cutting-edge 5-nanometer process technology.

2- Unified memory

The M1 features UMA (Unified Memory Architecture). It unifies high-bandwidth, low-latency memory into a single pool within a custom package, facilitating the data access without copying it between multiple pools of memory. This improves performance and power efficiency. 

3- Massive CPU performance

The 8-core CPU is by far the highest-performance CPU that the company has ever built. The M1 chip features two types of cores, High Performance and High Efficiency. The CPU has been designed to do tasks with the least amount of power. This means that you can now edit photographs, export iMovie videos for the web and so on without blazing through battery life. 

The chip has four high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores in the CPU. According to Apple, it has the highest CPU performance when it comes to low-power silicon. The four efficiency cores use a tenth of the power while delivering outstanding performance. 

M1 can match the peak performance of the PC chip while using just a quarter of the power. At just 10 watts, it delivers up to 2x the CPU performance of the PC chip. Not only this, but it also delivers 3x CPU performance per watt. 

This simply means that the systems powered by the M1 chip will have longer battery life and better power efficiency. 

4- The world’s fastest integrated graphics in a personal computer

With the integrated graphics of M1, there's a huge improvement in the graphics performance with low power consumption. As per Apple, the GPU in M1 is the most advanced graphics processor it has ever built. M1 can execute around 25,000 threads at a time with up to eight GPU cores. The GPU in the M1 chip is the world's fastest integrated graphics in a personal computer. 

As per the company, M1 can match the peak performance of the PC chip while using just a third of the power.

5- The next generation of machine learning

M1 features the company's latest Neural Engine and the 16-core design is capable of executing a massive 11 trillion operations per second. 

6- Longer Battery life

M1 extends battery life even while bringing a massive increase in performance, delivering the best battery life ever on a mac. 

7- An OS made for M1, down to its core.

macOS Big Sur is built to take full advantage of all the capabilities and powers of the M1 chip. It can be said that it's the company's most powerful software to date running on the most advanced hardware yet. 

The systems with M1 wake up instantly and everyday tasks are instantaneous. Even the most demanding apps give you blazing fast performance. 

M1 and Big Sur offer the most advanced security of any personal computer. It comes with hardware verified boot, automatic high‑performance encryption for all your files and so on. 

8- More apps to Mac than ever

macOS Big Sur is packed with technologies that allow you to run a greater range of apps than ever before. For the first time, you can run your favourite iPhone and iPad apps on Mac. Also, with the introduction of Rosetta 2, M1 and macOS Big Sur seamlessly run apps that haven’t yet transitioned to Universal versions.

In a nutshell, M1 chip is the first personal computer chip built using cutting-edge 5-nanometer process technology and comprises of 16 billion transistors. It features the world’s fastest CPU core in low-power silicon, the world’s best CPU performance per watt, the world’s fastest integrated graphics in a personal computer, and breakthrough machine learning performance with Neural Engine. 

It 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. With its profound increase in performance and efficiency, M1 delivers the biggest leap ever for the Mac.

Source: Apple.com

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