How Does Apple M1 Chip Compare to Intel? You Didn’t Expect THIS!


Thinking of upgrading your old MacBook after the transition of processors? Is it necessary? 

Apple made waves in the tech industry when it announced its transition from Intel processors to its custom silicon for Macs. The first product of this effort is the M1 chip, which powers the latest MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini models. 

But how does Apple’s new silicon stack against Intel’s best mobile processors?

This article focuses on how does Apple M1 chip compares to Intel and benchmarks performance and efficiency metrics between the M1 chip and comparable Intel’s best Core i5 and i7 processors.

Comparison of What is Apple M1 Chip Vs Intel 

Benchmark tests have shown that the M1 chip has incredible graphics performance and battery life, while Intel processors still have an edge in pure processing power. The M1 chip has been praised for its performance and efficiency, and it has been used in several Mac models since November 2020.

After the transition of Apple from Intel to the M1 chip, many people have thought of upgrading their Macbooks. However, some are confused about the upgrade.

So, here is the detailed specification comparison of Apple M1 vs Intel.

CPU Performance

Central processing unit (CPU) speed is critical for everything from launching apps to exporting videos. Apple makes bold claims about the M1’s CPU muscle, so let’s dig into the data about how powerful is Apple M1 chip.

Geekbench 5 Benchmarks

Geekbench 5 provides a standardized way to measure CPU performance across devices. Here is how the M1 stacks up against 10th-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 chip options:

CPUSingle-Core ScoreMulti-Core Score
Apple M11,7057,419
Intel Core i5-1038NG71,2154,197
Intel Core i7-1068NG71,3114,514

The M1 outperforms both Intel CPUs by a wide margin, thanks to its 8-core design (4 high-performance cores + 4 high-efficiency cores) compared to the Intel chips’ maximum of just 4 total cores.

For context, the M1’s Geekbench 5 scores surpass most high-end laptop CPUs. Apple’s chip design team has used the 5nm process technology well.

Video Encoding Test

Converting videos is a CPU-intensive task leveraged by creators and productivity users alike. Using Handbrake, here is the time (in minutes) to transcode a 6.5GB 4K video file to 1080p:

CPUTranscoding Time
Apple M16.5
Intel Core i7-1068NG710
Intel Core i5-1038NG717

Once again, the M1 blazes past the Intel competition. Apple’s chip is 36% faster than the Core i7 and over 2.5x as fast as the Core i5 at this media encoding workload.

The M1 chip’s CPU performance advantages stem from its 8-core design and cutting-edge 5nm process node. For both single and multi-threaded workloads, it handily beats Intel’s 10th generation 10nm mobile processors.

GPU Performance

Graphics power is essential for video editing, 3D modeling, gaming, and other creative applications. Let’s examine graphics capabilities between built-in GPUs on the M1 versus Intel integrated and dedicated GPU options.

GFXBench 5 Aztec Ruins Benchmarks

This synthetic benchmark stresses the GPU to gauge graphics capabilities:

Apple M1 (integrated)1,500
Intel Iris Xe (integrated)858
Nvidia MX350 (discrete)766

The M1’s integrated GPU gives it a big advantage over both Intel’s Iris Xe graphics and a low-end discrete Nvidia GPU. Apple’s technology has the muscle for smooth photo and video editing in apps like Adobe Lightroom.

For GPU-accelerated workloads traditionally requiring discrete graphics, the M1 gets by just fine relying on its integrated solution. This allows for better efficiency and longer battery life.

Video Export Test

Here are benchmark results using Adobe Premiere Pro to export a 5-minute 4K video, testing GPU encoding:

GPUExport Time
Apple M1165 seconds
Intel Iris Xe293 seconds
Nvidia MX350269 seconds

The M1’s GPU is 80% faster than Intel Iris Xe graphics and 63% faster than the MX350 at this GPU-accelerated editing workflow. That time savings add up for long-form video projects.

The M1 can handle real-world creative workloads like 4K video editing smoothly using just its integrated GPU, outperforming the graphics capabilities of comparable Intel-powered laptops. 

For mobile image and video production, Apple’s silicon offers a compelling solution.

Efficiency Improvements

Beyond raw performance metrics, the efficiency of mobile chips plays a big role in real-world experience. Let’s examine areas where the M1 design gives Apple an advantage over Intel mobile processors.

Battery Life

Thanks to its unified SoC (system on a chip) architecture and lean 5nm fabrication process, the M1 sips power while still delivering category-leading CPU and GPU speeds.

Notebookcheck puts the MacBook Pro 13’s battery life at 20+ hours for web browsing and media playback. 

Comparable Intel-powered rivals tap out under 10 hours for light usage. The efficiency advances from the M1 translate to over 2x the battery life in Apple’s latest laptops.

Thermal Design

The M1 MacBook Air and Pro do not require a fan for cooling. Apple’s chip runs cool enough to rely solely on passive cooling techniques. This enables thinner, quieter laptop designs without compromising performance.

In contrast, all Intel-powered MacBooks released in the past 5+ years have required active cooling fans to prevent CPU and GPU throttling under heavy workloads. This hampers Intel’s potential in ultra-thin and fanless systems.

The M1 stands apart with its industry-leading performance per watt, achieved through chip design architecture. This enables massive leaps in battery life and thermal design for Apple’s newest Macs.

Productivity Performance

For most consumers outside of creative fields, CPU and GPU benchmarks may seem irrelevant. Does the M1’s performance advantages translate to a noticeably faster experience in everyday use cases?

Web Browsing and Light Office Work

For web browsing, email, word processing, and other basic tasks, the M1 feels extremely responsive and smooth. These light computing workloads barely flex the muscle of Apple’s chip.

With, CPUs spending a lot of time idling in traditional office and web workflows the M1 ramps up instantly when you need to switch tabs or open an app. 

Benchmarks show Excel exporting and PowerPoint compiling up to 50% faster on the M1 versus Intel counterparts.

Application Compatibility

The one downside currently is app compatibility. Popular software like Chrome, Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Office, and Adobe CC run natively on the M1.

However, a number still require Rosetta 2 emulation to translate from Intel instructions to ARM. Rosetta 2 works shockingly well in most cases, but certain apps experience glitches or crashes. Native M1 support will continue improving but lacks full parity for now.

For basic productivity, the M1 experience feels extremely fluid. Performance issues only arise in select advanced professional software not yet optimized for Apple Silicon.

Outlook on Future Apple Silicon

The M1 chip is just the start of Apple’s silicon ambitions. The company shared a 2-year transition timeline to move all Macs to its Arm-based processors. 

If the M1 is any indication, Apple’s upcoming chips stand to push computing performance even further.

Scalability Already Demonstrated

The recently announced M1 Pro, M1 Max, and M1 Ultra expand on the technology of the M1. These chips scale up to 10 CPU cores and 64 GPU cores to provide desktop-class performance for advanced creative workflows.

Benchmarks show the M1 Max CPU scoring over 50% higher on Geekbench 5 versus the standalone M1. Its 10-core GPU design makes graphics performance leap even further.

Check out our detailed performance analysis between Apple M1 Silicon, M1 Pro, and M1 Max.

This scalability proves Apple can expand its silicon to rival the performance of Intel’s most powerful desktop workstation processors. More size, cores, and memory channels directly translate to huge performance gains from the baseline M1.

Comparison to Alder Lake and Beyond

Intel is gearing up to launch its 12th generation Core processors titled Alder Lake. Using a hybrid efficiency and performance core design similar to Apple’s approach, these chips aim to reclaim leadership through new architecture improvements.

Early Alder Lake benchmarks look promising against the M1 but at the cost of efficiency. The 14-core i7 flagship touts strong multi-threaded performance but a high power draw.

Upcoming iterations of Apple Silicon are coming to stand to widen the gap by leveraging next-gen 3nm or 2nm fabrication. Apple has only begun to tap into its custom processor design potential by moving all technology in-house.


In the end, you have the complete picture of what the Apple m1 chip compares to. We can say that the M1 chip marks the beginning of a new era for the Mac platform powered by first-party Apple silicon. 

Early benchmarks and hands-on analysis make clear that this shift brings massive efficiency gains that enable 2x battery life and fanless system design. 

For most buyer needs, the MacBook Air and 13″ MacBook Pro with M1 deliver excellent performance and efficiency. Power users should consider waiting for higher-end Apple Silicon chips though for full professional app support.

The long-term outlook shines bright for the M1 chip and follow-ups over the next 2 years. Apple has the technical talent to keep pushing its in-house Arm processors further ahead of Intel’s x86 offerings.

So if you are shopping for a new Mac you should consider M1-powered models for the best combination of speed and efficiency.

Frequently Asked Question 

Below are some of the commonly asked questions about how does Apple M1 chip compares to the Intel 

Who makes the Apple M1 chip? 

Ans: Apple’s M1 Chip is designed by Apple Inc. and manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC). It’s a series of ARM-based systems on a chip that’s designed by Apple. 

Where are Apple M1 chips manufactured? 

Ans: The Apple M1 chips are manufactured in Taiwan by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC). Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly stated that Apple will buy processors from a factory in Arizona, with the plant in Arizona starting up in 2024. 

TSMC is known for using leading-edge 5nm semiconductor lithography process technology to manufacture the M-series chips for Apple 

What is an Apple m1 chip with an 8-core CPU? 

Ans: The Apple M1 chip features an 8-core CPU, consisting of four high-performance and high-efficiency cores. This combination allows for a balance between performance and power efficiency, making it suitable for a wide range of tasks, from demanding workloads to everyday computing.

Is Apple M1 a silicon chip? 

Ans: Yes, the Apple M1 chip is a silicon chip. It is a series of ARM-based system-on-a-chip (SoC) designed by Apple Inc. as a central processing unit (CPU) and graphics processing unit (GPU) for its Mac desktops and the iPad Pro and iPad Air tablets. 

Does my Mac have an Apple M1 chip?

Ans: To make sure your Mac has an Apple M1 chip, you need to follow some steps: 

Step 1: Open the Apple menu on the top left corner of your desktop screen. 

Step 2: Select “ About This Mac” 

Step 3: In the Overview tab look for the processor or chip 

Step 4: Check if it says “Apple M1” or “M1,” which indicates that your Mac is equipped with the Apple M1 chip. If it says “Intel,” then your Mac has an Intel processor

The Apple M1 chip is the first personal computer chip built using cutting-edge 5-nanometer process technology, providing high performance and energy efficiency.

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Saiful Emon

Emon is a tech enthusiast who loves to explore and write about the latest gadgets and innovations. Now he uses his passion and knowledge to cover topics like artificial intelligence, gaming, wearables, and the potential of computers. When he is not writing, he enjoys playing video games, watching sci-fi movies, and discovering new places.