TECHNOLOGY

Apple’s M1 Pro and M1 Max chips flex the power of custom silicone


The M1 Pro and M1 Max chips feature many upgrades and changes compared to Apple’s first custom laptop chip, the M1, which was announced in November 2020. Billion transistors. Both new chips have 10 central processing units (CPUs), which Apple says is a 70 percent increase in performance compared to the M1.

Using shared memory, the new chips integrate CPU cores, which perform general purpose programming instructions, along with graphics-processing cores that represent imagery, thus eliminating a barrier that apps typically encounter when working between two.

This type of system-on-a-chip architecture is common on smartphones but not on laptops or desktops. Dan Hutchinson, CEO of VLSI Research, which follows the chip industry, said Apple controls both the chip and the operating system, allowing it to support more memory and faster transfers.

“This is the level of supercomputer bandwidth,” Hatchion said. “It’s a pretty revolutionary move from Apple.”

Wayne Lam, senior director of research at CCS Insights, said the 16-inch MacBook is “ready for more creative productivity, video editing, sound mixing, animation graphics, and more.”

But the features that Apple adds to its computers are not successful. “What happened to the touchbar?” Lam asks new MacBook professionals to mention a feature that is clearly missing. “This is one of the evolutionary dead ends that Apple makes every time.”

The M1 Pro and Max are, of course, even worse news for Intel, which has been trying to come back after years of mistakes. Speaking to Axios on HBO, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said he would aim to bring the company’s chips back into Apple’s products. Intel’s upcoming 12th generation CPU, codenamed Alder Lake, M1 Pro and Max will showcase more integrated components after similar design arguments.

“Apple has decided that they can chip better than us and they’ve done a pretty good job,” Gelsinger said. “All I have to do is make the chips better than themselves. I hope to get this part of their business back.”

Other laptop manufacturers may follow Apple’s lead in adopting custom chips based on ARM. In March, Qualcomm completed the acquisition of Nuvia, a startup specializing in ARM-based chips for laptops. It says the three founders of Nuvia previously worked at Apple Silicon.


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