Apple M1 speed tests: New Arm MacBook Air blows away Intel-based MacBook Pro

Apple's M1 chip promises to be a major performance boost for the MacBook Air.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Apple's new M1 chip in the MacBook Air has showed up in a Geekbench benchmark that suggests the Arm-based hardware far outperforms today's Intel-based 16-inch MacBook Pro. 

Per MacRumors, the MacBook Air running on Apple's silicon chip had a single core score of 1687 and a multi-core score of 7,433

The M1 is an eight-core Arm SoC (system-on-chip) based on a five-nanometer architecture and comprises 16 billion transistors. The Arm-based A14 Bionic has 11.8 billion transistors. 

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Apple says the M1's integrated graphics (GPU) offers twice the performance of the "latest PC laptop chip" but at a third of the power consumption. 

There's also a 16-core core Neural Engine capable of 11 trillion operations per second. The M1 chip will first land in the MacBook Air, the Mac Mini, and the 13-inch MacBook Pro

On Geekbench, the M1 chip showed up in a ‌MacBook Air‌ with 8GB of RAM and, according to the benchmark, the chip has a 3.2GHz base frequency.

The MacBook Air with an M1 trounces all iOS devices, including the iPhone 12 Pro, which had a single-core score of 1584 and a multi-core score of 3898. The iPhone 12 Pro is the top iOS device on Geekbench's charts. The iPad Air with an A14 SoC got a single-core score of 1585 and a multi-core score of 4647.

The single-core performance beats all Macs on the market, and the multi-core performance tops the 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro models, including MacBook Pro with the 10th-generation 2.4GHz Intel Core i9 model, which has a single-core score of 1096 and a multi-core score of 6870.

Though the M1 chip is outperforming the 16-inch MacBook Pro models when it comes to raw CPU benchmarks, the 16-inch MacBook Pro probably offers better performance in other areas, such as the GPU because MacBook Pro models have high-power discrete GPUs.

Apple is leading its M1 push with the MacBook Air, which it says has a CPU that's more than three times faster than its Intel predecessors. It's available with up to 2TB of storage and 16GB of memory from $999. 

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Apple in June aired its plan to transition Macs from Intel processors to its own Arm-based 'Apple silicon' processors. Microsoft is also creating the foundations for Windows 10 on Arm PCs

Apple plans to complete its Arm-transition by 2022. A key piece of Apple's Intel-to-Arm transition is its Rosetta 2 compatibility layer that's part of macOS Big Sur.  


The MacBook Air with an M1 trounces all iOS devices, including the iPhone 12 Pro. 

Image: CNET
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