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Apple’s M1 chip is a stunning first version chip for future Macs. As we can see from standard industry benchmarks, the M1 more than holds its own against Intel and AMD’s finest semiconductors. But the bigger takeaway should be that it delivers this performance with vastly less energy.
This is huge. It means Apple has massive TDP headroom when it comes to going toe-to-toe with desktop heavyweights like HP, Lenovo, Boxx, and others who want to rule the technical and creative markets with their most powerful and profit-heavy computers. Despite this, I can see Apple taking its performance crown advantage to large enterprise accounts (like IBM). It used to be that Apple’s computers were too expensive when it came to raw performance per dollar. That has suddenly changed in an instant.
Architosh’s new USD 700.00 M1 Mac mini went toe-to-toe with our USD 5,000.00 iMac Pro 2017. While the Xeon-based 8-core iMac Pro did perform better in several benchmarks, the M1 Mac mini performed better in about half of them.
The A14 has 11.8 billion transistors. The M1 has 16 billion, or 35 percent more. The chip is essentially 35 percent larger as well. The next M-series chip for Apple’s upcoming redesigned iMac and iMac Pro will likely increase the transistor count by at least 50 percent, given that the TDP on the current iMac is nearly 4x as large as the TDP in the M1 Mac mini. If we assume Apple trims down the future iMac—and when does Apple ever make computers fatter—it is safe to assume at the bare minimum the TDP for the future iMacs will range between 75 – 95W.
That’s a lot of headroom in terms of thermals for future M1 variants for these machines. And the Mac Pros coming will have even more TDP capacity.
Apple’s Firestorm cores in the M1 are unmatched. Where the M1 falls down is in multi-core performance. But with rumors of up to 32 cores in future M series chips for these higher TDP machines, Apple can capture the performance crown across both multi-core and single-core and at lower energy and lower costs.