Intel Downplays Apple's M1 Chip With 'Carefully Crafted' Benchmarks

Nearly three months after the launch of Apple's rave-reviewed M1 Macs, Intel has fired back, but there are some asterisks involved.

intel m1 slide 1
In a slideshow shared by PCWorld this week, Intel highlighted what PCWorld described as "carefully crafted" benchmarks in an attempt to prove that laptops with the latest 11th Generation Core processors are superior to those with Apple's custom-designed M1 chip.

For example, Intel said that exporting a PowerPoint presentation as a PDF file is up to 2.3x faster on a Windows laptop equipped with an 11th Generation Core i7 processor and 16GB of RAM compared to completing the same task on a 13-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 chip and 16GB of RAM, with Intel noting that PowerPoint ran natively on both systems.

intel m1 slide 2
Intel also indicated that Topaz Labs' AI-based photo enlargement software Gigapixel AI performed up to 6x faster on the Core i7 system compared to the M1 MacBook Pro. In this case, PCWorld said "the results are pretty real," noting that Topaz Labs' apps are designed to take advantage of the hardware acceleration inside of Intel's processors.

As for gaming performance, the results were mixed, with Intel emphasizing the well-established opinion that Macs are not ideal for gaming and lack support for "countless" games like Gear Tactics, Hitman 2, and others.

intel m1 gaming
Intel also conducted a "real world battery life test" and found that both the M1 MacBook Air and the Acer Swift 5 with an 11th Generation Core i7 processor achieved virtually identical 10-hour battery life when streaming Netflix with additional tabs open. Intel said both notebooks were set to 250 nits display brightness, with the MacBook Air running Safari and the Acer Swift 5 running Chrome for the test.

It's worth noting that Intel switched from the MacBook Pro for the performance benchmarks to the MacBook Air for the battery life test, and Intel used a different Core i7 processor SKU for each of these tests as well.

intel m1 slide 3
Apple's website advertises the M1 MacBook Air as having up to 18 hours of battery life when continuously playing back 1080p content in the Apple TV app with display brightness set to 50%, and up to 15 hours of battery life when browsing 25 popular websites in Safari over Wi-Fi with display brightness set to 50%.

Intel added that its processors are about not only performance, but also choice, as they power all sorts of devices from traditional notebooks to tablets with features like touchscreens and support for multiple external displays. Officially, the M1-based MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro only support one external display, but some users discovered that this limitation can be bypassed with DisplayLink adapters as an unofficial solution.

"M1-Unfriendly Benchmarks"

Apple columnist Jason Snell referred to Intel's benchmarks as "M1-unfriendly" in commentary shared on his website Six Colors.

"Inconsistent test platforms, shifting arguments, omitted data, and the not-so-faint whiff of desperation," wrote Snell. "Today's M1 processor is a low-end chip for low-end systems, so Intel only has a small window to compare itself favorably to these systems before higher-end Apple silicon Macs ship and make its job that much harder."

Tom's Hardware's Andrew Freedman also cautioned that all vendor-provided benchmarks should be taken with a grain of salt.

Apple says the M1 chip provides industry-leading performance per watt, with the latest MacBook Air outperforming a maxed-out Intel-based 16-inch MacBook Pro in Geekbench benchmarks. Rumors suggest Apple will launch new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, a redesigned iMac, and more with next-generation Apple silicon later this year.

Top Rated Comments

CGJay Avatar
20 months ago
After 40 years of developing x86 processors, Intel manage to edge-out Apple's first-generation laptop processor on some cherry-picked benchmarks. They even had to use a different processor to compare battery life. Congratulations, Intel.
Score: 140 Votes (Like | Disagree)
antiprotest Avatar
20 months ago
This is bad strategy. Instead of doing this, which invites backlash and reeks of desperation, Intel should say something like they are excited by the competition and promise people that they have great things coming up and that fans won't be disappointed. Something like that.
Score: 117 Votes (Like | Disagree)
andymallins Avatar
20 months ago
Where is the fan noise test
Score: 112 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PilotWoo Avatar
20 months ago
Complete desperation on Intels part. To get anywhere near the M1 performance in a laptop, the Intel chips will be melting your genitals.
Score: 96 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ? Avatar
20 months ago
Intel: Wait till Apple releases the 16inch MacBook Pro ? + Mac ? in 2021.

Intel is being petty now. Apple rules.

RIP Intel.
Score: 65 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SuperCachetes Avatar
20 months ago

...fans won't be disappointed.
Neither will fan manufacturers... :p
Score: 58 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

intel core 12th generation mobile

Intel Says New Core i9 Processor for Laptops is Faster Than Apple's M1 Max Chip

Tuesday January 4, 2022 1:49 pm PST by
Intel today unveiled new 12th-generation Core processors suitable for laptops, and as part of the announcement, it claimed that the new Core i9 is not only faster than Apple's M1 Max chip in the 16-inch MacBook Pro, but is the fastest mobile processor ever. The new Core i9 features a 14-core CPU with six performance cores and eight efficiency cores, while the 10-core M1 Max chip has eight...
ternus m1 chip

Today Marks the One Year Anniversary of the First Apple Silicon Macs

Wednesday November 10, 2021 6:25 am PST by
While it may feel rather hard to believe, today marks one year since the first Macs with Apple silicon were unveiled to the world. At a virtual event on November 10, 2020, Apple introduced its custom-designed M1 chip, followed by three new Macs powered by the chip, including the MacBook Air, the lower-end 13-inch MacBook Pro, and the lower-end Mac mini. With the M1 chip, Apple delivered...
intel vs m1 max chip purple

Benchmarks Confirm Intel's Latest Core i9 Chip Outperforms Apple's M1 Max With Several Caveats

Wednesday January 26, 2022 8:56 am PST by
Benchmark results have started to surface for MSI's new GE76 Raider, one of the first laptops to be powered by Intel's new 12th-generation Core i9 processor. Intel previously said that its new high-end Core i9 processor is faster than Apple's M1 Max chip in the 16-inch MacBook Pro and, as noted by Macworld, early Geekbench 5 results do appear to confirm this claim, but there are several...
Intel GoPC Tweet Feature

Intel Tweet Asking Why Former Mac Users Switched to PC Backfires

Friday October 15, 2021 5:39 am PDT by
Ahead of Monday's Apple event, which is expected to include the much-awaited launch of brand new 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pros, Intel is continuing its long-running campaign to try and convince Mac users to switch to Intel-based PCs. Last week, Intel released a video as part of its PC vs. Mac campaign that featured "Apple fans" introduced to different Intel computers and all of their features. ...
macbook pro lineup

Apple Ditches Intel Chips for MacBook Pro With Lineup Featuring M1, M1 Pro, and M1 Max

Monday October 18, 2021 12:25 pm PDT by
Apple has nixed all of the Intel MacBook Pro models from its MacBook Pro lineup, with the prior-generation Intel i7 and i9 machines now discontinued. All of Apple's MacBook Pro models now feature M-series chips as the company continues to phase out Intel chips. That means Apple's entire portable notebook lineup (the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro) is Intel-free and running Apple-designed chips. ...
m2 feature purple

Evidence of M2 Apple Silicon Chip Spotted Ahead of Apple Event on Tuesday

Sunday March 6, 2022 6:39 am PST by
Evidence that Apple is testing the M2 Apple silicon chip, expected to debut first in a new MacBook Air and refreshed 13-inch MacBook Pro, has been spotted by a developer ahead of Tuesday's "Peek performance" Apple event. As reported by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman in his latest Power On newsletter, a "developer source" has informed him that in recent weeks, Apple has been testing a chip with an...
14 16 inch 2021 mbps back to back feature

Gurman: Redesigned MacBook Air Delayed to Second Half of 2022, No New High-End MacBook Pro Likely Until Next Year

Sunday March 20, 2022 7:02 am PDT by
Apple has seemingly delayed the launch of the redesigned MacBook Air until later this year, and will likely not launch new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models until 2023, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. In his latest "Power On" newsletter, Gurman said that Apple originally planned to launch its new MacBook Air with "an all-new design, MagSafe, the M2 chip, and more" at the end of 2021...
new m1 chip

Key M1 Mac Engineer Departs Apple for Intel

Thursday January 6, 2022 2:31 pm PST by
Apple's former Director of Mac System Architecture Jeff Wilcox this week announced that he has left Apple to take on a new role at Intel. As noted on LinkedIn (via Tom's Hardware), Wilcox was part of Apple's M1 team and he had a key role in the transition from Intel chips to Apple silicon. Wilcox's profile says that he "led the transition" for all Macs to Apple silicon, and prior to that, he ...

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Pro Purple Rear Flat MacRumors Exclusive

iPhone 14 Pro Predicted to Start With Increased 256GB Storage Alongside Rumored Price Increase

Wednesday August 10, 2022 11:14 am PDT by
Earlier today, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed iPhone 14 Pro models will be more expensive than iPhone 13 Pro models. Kuo did not reveal exact pricing, but he said that the average selling price of all four iPhone 14 models will increase by about 15% overall. While higher prices would be disappointing for customers, it is possible the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max will offer increased...
iPhone 14 Pro Lineup Feature Silver

Kuo: Apple to Increase Prices of iPhone 14 Pro Models

Wednesday August 10, 2022 8:22 am PDT by
Apple plans to increase the prices of iPhone 14 Pro models compared to iPhone 13 Pro models, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo did not reveal exact pricing for the iPhone 14 Pro models. However, in a tweet today, he estimated that the average selling price of the iPhone 14 lineup as a whole will increase by about 15% compared to the iPhone 13 lineup. In the United States, the iPhone...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Front and Back MacRumors Exclusive feature

iPhone 14 Is Just a Few Weeks Away: Three Tips to Prepare for the New iPhone

Wednesday August 10, 2022 4:08 am PDT by
The launch of the new iPhone 14 is just a few weeks away, meaning millions of iPhone customers will soon upgrade their existing iPhone or perhaps get an iPhone for the first time. Exclusive MacRumors iPhone 14 Pro renders by graphic designer Ian Zelbo Whether upgrading from an older model or this is your first iPhone, we've rounded up a few tips to help you prepare for the next flagship...
battery percentage ios 16

Here's Why the iPhone Battery Status Icon in iOS 16 Is So Controversial

Wednesday August 10, 2022 4:34 am PDT by
In the latest iOS 16 beta, Apple has updated the status bar battery icon on iPhones with Face ID to display the exact percentage remaining rather than just a visual representation of battery level, and while the change has been largely welcomed, some users are unhappy with the way it has been implemented. In iOS 15 and earlier, battery percent has not been present on iPhones that have...
Apple Watch Body Temperature Finished

'High-Accuracy' Apple Watch Temperature Sensor Revealed by Patent Filing Just Weeks Before Series 8 Unveiling

Wednesday August 10, 2022 5:39 am PDT by
Apple has been granted a patent for a temperature sensor suitable for the Apple Watch, just weeks before the company is expected to unveil the Apple Watch Series 8 with body temperature sensing capabilities. The newly granted patent, spotted by MyHealthyApple, was filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and is titled "Temperature gradient sensing in electronic devices."...