AnandTech Calls Apple's Fastest CPU Core Claim for M1 'Extremely Plausible'

Apple on Tuesday unveiled a new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini, making up the first wave of Macs powered by Apple Silicon, and AnandTech has since published a deep dive into Apple's brand new M1 custom chip at the heart of the new machines.

m1 chip macbook air pro
The article begins by picking through the admittedly scant details that Apple's event offered about the ‌M1‌ chip's design, yet manages to extrapolate some interesting tidbits regarding the processor's packaging and architecture.

Beginning with the ‌M1‌'s unified memory architecture, AnandTech notes that the packaging style keeps the embedded memory off to the side of the compute die rather on top of it, ensuring the chips can be efficiently cooled, which suggests Apple is using a 128-bit DRAM bus similar to that found in previous A-X chips.

Apple says the ‌M1‌ features four high-performance "Firestorm" CPU cores and four efficiency "Icestorm" cores. Examining an actual die shot shown in Apple's ‌M1‌ unveiling, Anandtech explains that the chip appears to have a 12MB cache – up from the 8MB of L2 cache featured in the A14 – which makes sense given that it's now being used by four high-performance cores instead of two.

The article later goes on to compare the ‌M1‌ performance to existing Intel and AMD processors and takes the A14 as a benchmark guide, while noting that with its additional cache, "we expect the Firestorm cores used in the ‌M1‌ to be even faster," suggesting "Apple's claim of having the fastest CPU core in the world seems extremely plausible."

Running the A14 through a series of benchmarks against a Rizen 9 5950X and an Intel i7-1185G7, AnandTech calls the results "mind-boggling," noting that "the fact the A14 currently competes with the very best top-performance designs that the x86 vendors have on the market today is just an astonishing feat." Taking into account a graph of single-thread performance gains over the last five years, AnandTech suggests that Intel has increased its chips' performance by about 28%, while Apple has managed closer to 198% in the same period.

perf trajectory intel apple axx anandtech

Apple's performance trajectory and unquestioned execution over these years is what has made Apple Silicon a reality today. Anybody looking at the absurdness of that graph will realize that there simply was no other choice but for Apple to ditch Intel and x86 in favor of their own in-house microarchitecture – staying par for the course would have meant stagnation and worse consumer products.

The performance analyses conclude by noting Apple's enormous power efficiency advantage, which is why the new ‌M1‌ chip will be able to offer either vastly increased battery life, and/or vastly increased performance compared to the current Intel MacBook line-up. Apple has said it will take at least two years to transition its entire Mac lineup to ‌Apple Silicon‌. Going on its current performance trajectory, Apple's forthcoming desktop-class chip designs are likely to look "extremely impressive," AnandTech concludes.

The five-page deep dive contains far more details than we've summarized above, and is well worth a read. You can check out the complete article here.

Related Roundups: MacBook Air, 13" MacBook Pro
Related Forums: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro

Top Rated Comments

_Refurbished_ Avatar
29 months ago
Can’t innovate anymore my ass!
Score: 66 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iBluetooth Avatar
29 months ago
When has Apple made a power or speed claim that was not accurate. They underpromise and overdeliver
Score: 58 Votes (Like | Disagree)
djcerla Avatar
29 months ago
Aaaaaaah, finally back to old fashioned PC chips bashing!

>oldschool fanboy mode ON
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Serban55 Avatar
29 months ago
Again to see that m1 can play at highest settings 1080p baldurus gate 3..is mind blowing...and for the intel side you have to have i7 and Graphics: Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB / AMD RX580.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
coredev Avatar
29 months ago

A true disaster, that Apple leaves intel without ensuring cross-platform-compatibility.

This Rosetta 2 crap is just an insult of the common user.
But have you tried it and where disappointed? Or are you just venting your unfounded anger?
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
abhibeckert Avatar
29 months ago

It's faster than anything Intel (or AMD) they could have put in there with the same power restraints.
It's faster than Intel's 10900K i9 which runs at 5.3Ghz and draws 250 watts.

How is Intel operating in the "same power constraints"? Apple has the M1 in their entry level fan-less laptop.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 16

Apple Releases iOS 16.3 With Security Keys for Apple ID, New HomePod Support, Bug Fixes and More

Monday January 23, 2023 10:10 am PST by
Apple today released iOS 16.3, the third major update to the iOS 16 operating system that first came out in September. iOS 16.3 comes over a month after the launch of iOS 16.2, an update that added the Freeform app, Apple Music Sing, Advanced Data Protection, and more. iOS 16‌.3 can be downloaded on eligible iPhones and iPads over-the-air by going to Settings > General > Software Update....
iOS 16

iOS 16.3 for iPhone Launching Next Week With These 4 New Features

Friday January 20, 2023 11:43 am PST by
In a recent press release, Apple confirmed that iOS 16.3 will be released to the public next week. The software update will be available for the iPhone 8 and newer and includes a handful of new features, changes, and bug fixes. Below, we've recapped bigger features in iOS 16.3, including support for physical security keys as a two-factor authentication option for Apple ID accounts, worldwide ...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

iPhone 15 Pro Expected Later This Year With These 7 Exclusive Features

Tuesday January 24, 2023 4:53 pm PST by
Apple's next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are expected to be announced in September as usual. Already, rumors suggest the devices will have at least seven exclusive features not available on the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. An overview of the seven features rumored to be exclusive to iPhone 15 Pro models:A17 chip: iPhone 15 Pro models will be equipped with an A17...
watchOS 9 Feature

Apple Releases watchOS 9.3 With New Watch Face, Bug Fixes

Monday January 23, 2023 10:06 am PST by
Apple today released watchOS 9.3, the third major update to the watchOS 9 operating system that first launched in September. watchOS 9.3 comes over a month after watchOS 9.2, an update that added new Workout functionality and Crash Detection optimizations. watchOS 9.3 can be downloaded for free through the Apple Watch app on the iPhone by opening it up and going to General > Software Update. ...
iPhone trade in

Apple Adjusts Trade-In Values for iPhones, Macs, and More

Wednesday January 25, 2023 9:40 am PST by
After announcing new Mac and HomePod models last week, Apple adjusted its trade-in values for select devices in the United States. iPhone trade-in values decreased by up to $80, and most Android smartphones also went down. Mac trade-in values remained unchanged or increased by up to $40 depending on the model, while some Apple Watch models increased in value and others decreased. Trade-in...
Ventura Macs Feature Blue

Apple Releases macOS Ventura 13.2

Monday January 23, 2023 10:09 am PST by
Apple today released macOS Ventura 13.2, the second major update to the macOS Ventura operating system initially released in October. macOS Ventura 13.2 comes more than a month after macOS Ventura 13.1, an update that added the Freeform app and other changes. The ‌macOS Ventura‌ 13.2 update can be downloaded for free on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System...
Mac mini M2 2023

New 256GB Mac Mini and 512GB MacBook Pro Have Slower SSD Speeds Than Previous Models

Tuesday January 24, 2023 1:11 pm PST by
While the new Mac mini with the M2 chip has a lower $599 starting price, the base model with 256GB of storage has slower SSD read and write speeds compared to the previous-generation model with the M1 chip and 256GB of storage. A teardown of the new Mac mini shared by YouTube channel Brandon Geekabit reveals that the 256GB model is equipped with only a single 256GB storage chip, while the...
apple tv 4k red image

Apple Releases tvOS 16.3

Tuesday January 24, 2023 10:10 am PST by
Apple today released tvOS 16.3, the third major point update to the tvOS 16 operating system that originally came out in September. Available for the Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD, tvOS 16.3 comes six weeks after tvOS 16.2, an update that added Apple Music Sing. The tvOS 16.3 update can be downloaded over the air through the Settings app on the ‌‌‌‌Apple TV‌‌‌‌ by going to System > Software...