The New Apple M1 Chips
In November 2020 Apple debuted its new 13-inch MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and Mac mini models, featuring the new M1 silicon chip. It marked a move away from the Intel chips that have been used in Macs since 2006. Termed a ‘System on a Chip’, or SoC, the M1 integrates several different components which previously required multiple chips e.g. CPU, I/O, security and more. Integrating these chips into one has made the M1 much faster and more efficient than its predecessor, the Intel chips. This is because different components no longer need to copy data between one another, but can now access the same pool of data.
The introduction of the M1 chip means that RAM is no longer upgradable, and the M1 currently comes in both 8GB and 16GB options. However, due to the notable speed and efficiency improvements, even the 8GB is ample for everyday tasks.
The new M1 MacBook Air is now only available as a 13-inch model with an M1 chip. However, there are still Mac mini and MacBook Pro models available with Intel chips. Other Macs in the Apple lineup will be transitioning to M1 chips in the future.
Benefits of the M1 Chip
At the time of writing, Apple’s higher end notebooks and desktops still offer superior GPU performance to that of the M1 Macs, but that could change as Apple transitions other Macs in their line-up to Apple silicon chips.
Until recently, the apps that you use on your Mac were designed to run on Intel machines. Whilst Apple has built tools to allow developers to create Universal app binaries that run on both Intel and the new Apple silicon chips, in the meantime there is also a feature called Rosetta 2 that allows many (but not all) apps designed for Intel machines to run on M1 Macs, albeit with some limited performance compromises.
However, at the time of writing there is one major issue to consider when choosing an M1 Mac over an Intel Mac, and that is the M1’s inability to officially run Windows - there is currently no Boot Camp for M1 Macs.
So should I buy an M1 Mac?
If you'd like any further information or advice on whether to purchase an M1 Mac - or any other Mac - we would be happy to help.
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