The M1 & the Future of Mac

  1. suhantm
    Ice Cream Sandwich Nov 23, 2020

    suhantm , Nov 23, 2020 :

    Hey Community! @yashonagori and I have collaborated and tasked ourselves with summarizing and sharing our opinions on Apple’s most recent announcement about their first ARM-based SoC, the M1. This was originally going to be posted last week but we both agreed it was best to wait to see if real life performance holds up to their vague claim and boy was the wait worth it!

    For more than a decade, there has been only a single competing player in desktop and laptop computing CPU designing and manufacturing space with incomparable performance, and that’s Intel. On the other hand, mobile devices like tablets and smartphones have largely been running on ARM based processors from manufacturers like Snapdragon, Samsung or Huawei for android devices and Apple themselves for iOS devices. Apple has always had an edge in terms of performance for these mobile devices.

    The main difference in these two types of processors was the architecture used for their builds, with Intel using Complex Instruction Set Computing (CISC) models for their desktop and laptop processors while the mobile devices were based on Advanced RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computing) Machine (ARM) models. As the names suggest, CISC models were much more complex, advanced and less portable than ARM based CPUs. For this very reason, they were almost non-existent in the desktop and laptop spaces. Well, at least until now.

    After a long period of waiting and anticipation, Apple has finally announced and revealed their rumored ARM based SoC along with a refresh to a few key Mac Products. So... where does the M1 stand? Let’s find out!

    (If you wanna know more about how ARM processors compare with CISC processors, here’s a great article that dives deep into the comparison: ARM vs Intel Processors: What’s the Difference? (alphr.com))

    The Launch

    First let’s talk about the launch event itself. First of all, props to Apple for once again absolutely blowing the production game out of the water. Even if we aren’t die hard fans of the company there's one thing for sure, no one makes a launch look better than Apple. Now, if I had two words to describe the launch event, they would be - Beautifully misleading. They kept shooting bullets into absolutely thin air with their vague and very misleading charts and graphs, but they all somehow seemed to be passable because of how elegantly they presented the whole thing, a classic Apple move. But this obviously rattled a very huge part of the tech community. Heck, our very own @dsmonteiro was probably planning on taking the next flight to California to confront Tim Apple, luckily Portugal is under a lockdown. ;)

    The vaguely labelled graphs and claims obviously became the highlight of every article, but we’ll dive deep into that later in this article. There was a ton of interesting stuff announced at the event, including support for iOS apps on Macs with M1 chips, which makes sense since now both iPhones and these macs will have SoCs based on the same ARM architecture. Since I’m in no way a part of the Apple ecosystem, it didn’t exactly strike the bell with me.

    One hilarious thing that I noticed about the presentation was the use of Asphalt 8 (mobile version) as a poster game to display the Mac’s gaming and graphical capabilities, which is bonkers because they can’t seriously claim 5x performance and then go on to use a mobile game on a PC for reference. But it’s Apple, so they did just that.


    Moving on to the chip itself, the chip has 4 high performance cores for running the demanding and hefty tasks, and also has 4 efficiency cores which would help with performing relatively easy tasks like browsing or scrolling, and focus on saving battery life for extended use. The system features a 4 core integrated GPU, which Apple claims to be 5x faster than Intel’s integrated graphics, the generation and model of which are completely unknown. All of this was really impressive.

    However, one thing that bugged a lot of people was the inclusion of non-upgradable and integrated RAM. This makes sense for Apple because every element of the system would be closer than ever and would result in better communication between internal components, but for users, it completely takes away the option to upgrade in the near future, which is a bummer. Anyway, Apple likes to have control and that’s exactly what they have done here.

    In terms of real world performance, the first thing I wanna address is the battery life. Apple claimed over 13 hours of video playback on the MacBook Air and 18 hours on the MacBook Pro. To put into perspective, crossing 8 hours is a very huge achievement on any laptop. This is a claim with more 100% improvement over previous records, which in itself is something that is extremely commendable, that is, if it actually translated in real life usage. And guess what, IT DOES! Almost all the reviews I’ve come across until now have verified Apple’s claims. I can imagine how compelling this might be for someone who wants a laptop for their on-the-go usage. Most tech reviewers mentioned they got multiple days of use out of a single charge, and here I am with a Lenovo laptop that barely survives through an hour of heavy use (closed eyed monkey emoji)

    If you look at benchmarks, things get pretty wild as Apple’s claims seem to be backed by facts now. The new MacBook Pro scored a whopping 1705 on single core on Geekbench, outperforming all tested Mac products including last year's cheesegrater Mac Pro. After seeing the single core scores, it’s not surprising to see the new SoC shining even through multi-core performance against most Macs on the test. It’s honestly amazing to see these benchmarks coming from a first-gen product.

    As weeks go by we’ll learn more and more about the real world usage of the new products featuring the M1 chip.

    Along with the introduction of the SoC, they introduced a refresh on a few core products on the Mac Line Up. The MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini were introduced as the first Mac products with the new M1. We won’t go into the details about the refreshed products, but we will highlight the fact that Apple had the courage to take out the fan from the new MacBook Air 😲

    The Future

    While speaking about the new M1 with a friend, he opened my mind to the idea of Apple now having the ability to potentially introduce an X series of the SoCs like they have for products such as the iPad Pro. Do not forget that Apple probably will introduce the ‘M’ Chips on refreshed versions of the iMac, iMac Pro, the 16 inch MacBook Pro and the Mac Pro in the near future. This would completely change the ‘pro-sumer’ market as Apple would have a greater hold on program specific optimizations due to their seemingly close relation with devs thus meaning performance of the ‘M’ chips will continue to impress both on paper and in real world scenarios.

    The introduction of the M1 also means that Apple is in a better position to price their future M-based products in a more competitive manner, bridging the huge price gap between Windows and Mac systems.

    All I’ll say is, from this launch, it seems like Apple has a magnificent future in store for their entire Mac lineup. It’s amazing and exciting to see that this is just the beginning of Apple’s soiree into this new world of personal computing. Also want to note that this launch will probably mean AMD and Intel will be investing heavily into their R&D (hopefully) to keep up and hopefully remain healthy competitors.

    One More Thing

    The launch that was titled “One more thing” definitely stood true as they brought back the infamous ‘PC guy’ in a short skit at the very end of the launch events stream. Here’s some context from the past and here’s the bit from the M1 Launch, it’s fun to see a company like Apple keeping true to old traditions by taking a stab at their computing competitors like they have for years!

    As always, @yashonagori and I are more than happy to answer any and all questions you may have. Also let us know what you thought of this thread by leaving a comment below :)

  2. prfraczek
    Honeycomb Nov 23, 2020

    prfraczek , via OnePlus 8 Pro , Nov 23, 2020 :
    Brilliant processor but outdated os. Finder didn't change for 15 years, missing cut-paste etc. Networking didn't change for 20 years still cannot vpn with the same subnet, no UNC. Cloud almost not exists. Good hardware but for browsing I prefer iPad :)

  3. Chirag_Gohil
    Honeycomb Nov 23, 2020

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  4. dsmonteiro
    Community Consultant Staff Member Nov 23, 2020

  5. dsmonteiro
    Community Consultant Staff Member Nov 23, 2020

    dsmonteiro , Nov 23, 2020 :
    Well, you already heard my rants... :D

    If you look at the recent keynotes by AMD and Nvidia, they were a great example of how to show data and compare it against the competition and prior products. I understand that the companies cater to a completely different audience, but the shift to ARM is something that trascends Apple, so it would be great to see more actual data being shared during the presentation.

    With that said, I'm quite excited about a shift to ARM, which will hopefully pave the way to a whole new level of thin and light laptops.

    Kenox80, jocxFIN, yashonagori and 5 others like this.
  6. Abhishek654
    Ice Cream Sandwich Nov 23, 2020

    Last edited: Nov 24, 2020

  7. GuitarBart
    Jelly Bean Nov 23, 2020

    GuitarBart , Nov 23, 2020 :
    I think it's a good move that offers apple more flexibility as they now design the hardware and software so they can have perfect implementation.

    However they did undercool the Intel chips for years giving them bad performance as well. If you look at the thermal design of MacBooks from the last years its just bad. Many of these i5/i7 thermal throttle quickly (check Linus water-cooling them for example).

    It's a good move for competition nevertheless as it will drive other manufacturers to push for performance and better pricing.

  8. dsmonteiro
    Community Consultant Staff Member Nov 23, 2020

    dsmonteiro , Nov 23, 2020 :
    It goes deeper than that, if you ask me. It's not just about moving away from Intel, but rather about moving towards ARM architecture.

    Windows tried that in the past with very limited success, due to how open the ecosystem is. Server farms have started using this architecture more and more, so hopefully this will drive adoption across the industry, moving towards more efficient designs that will allow for always-on always-connected ultrabooks.

    SK6664, jash@6488, suhantm and 4 others like this.
  9. GuitarBart
    Jelly Bean Nov 23, 2020

    GuitarBart , via OnePlus 5 Midnight Black , Nov 23, 2020 :
    I have the first windows RT tablet (just retired because browser support for Netflix/YouTube ended). Extremely limited indeed as they didn't allow for other apps to run on the RT systen

    dsmonteiro likes this.
  10. Oreo.
    OnePlus Accessory Tester Nov 23, 2020

    Oreo. , via OnePlus 5 , Nov 23, 2020 :
    Go through Dave2D's video regarding M1 chips. He shared some metrics that could clarify more about the performance offered by M1.

  11. Oreo.
    OnePlus Accessory Tester Nov 23, 2020

  12. yashwant24
    OnePlus Accessory Tester Nov 23, 2020

    yashwant24 , Nov 23, 2020 :
    ❗All these claims made by Apple is disputed 😂
    But I was really laughing hard when they were showing Asphalt game🤣🤣

  13. Jona V.
    Gingerbread Nov 23, 2020

    Jona V. , via OnePlus Nord , Nov 23, 2020 :
    I am a huge fan of Qualcomm and Snapdragon. My next PC will be an Acer Spin 7 2020 with 8cx Gen 2. I hope Apple Silicon can help me and Qualcomm too.

    yashonagori likes this.

  14. #14
  15. SeaRefractor
    Gingerbread Nov 23, 2020

    SeaRefractor , Nov 23, 2020 :
    Oh yeah. I've used DaVinci Resolve on a PC for several years. In order to edit 4K video well, you need a PC with 32GB RAM and a strong GPU with about 8GB VRAM. For 8K you need a GPU with 16GB of VRAM.

    Amazingly, the new unified M1 system on a chip with 8GB of total ram can actually edit an 4K timeline without requiring optimized media or reducing the display resolution to prevent stuttering and render 4K and work well with a $699.00 8GB M1 Mac Mini and the new M1 DaVinci Resolve 17.1 beta specifically made for the M1 SoC. It's able to do 4K exceedingly well and at a performance level that easily matches and in many times beats $3K+ DaVinci Resolve PC workstations.

    Let that resonate, an 8GB $699.00 computer that is phenomenal for creatives. Also it's not an Intel CPU, but uses Rosetta 2 translation from Intel code to the Arm CPU base the M1 is on. In benchmarks it comes exceedingly close to the Intel Macs and the amazing thing is that's with the translator in process. Applications that have been recompiled for the M1? Blazing fast.

    For only a little more, you can get the 16GB version and I suspect that will have the sufficient memory space for 8K editing. I don't have 8K sources at this time. My Panasonic GH5 can do 6K in anamorphic mode, but the cost of anamorphic lenses has kept me at 4K 10-bit 4-2-2 content.

    Hardware requirement comment that includes a discussion about the M1. https://www.richardlackey.com/davinci-resolve-system-requirements/

    Apple advertised it as a paradigm, and it is if a creative using the newer versions of the software for the M1 processor. For those that look at gaming, most of the AAA however will run with the Rosetta 2 translation and do not do as well. However, since the M1 silicon is Apples SoC moving forward for all their platforms, the developers will be coding new for M1 and likely several of the top AAA games may have a recompiled update at some point.

    It's not all performance roses. Some applications don't run well or at all with the Rosetta 2 translator, but it's not many. Several benchmarks will contrast non-M1 compiled applications and show the prior Intel M1 Mini's are faster, but discount that a software emulator is running.

    The other performance issue is that while the 8 core GPU that performs amazingly well , it is fully integrated in the SoC and at this time other GPU's cannot be used, including eGPU chassis on the Thunderbolt connection. However, I expect that the M1 will eventually have driver support to allow the use of eGPUs with the M1 and the Big Sur OS. Appears that the drivers just need to be updated for the new M1 ARM and Big Sur OS. In this case, it would be possible to have an M1 Mini and an eGPU with sufficient VRAM for 8K video for still less than the total cost of a high end Puget Systems DaVinci Resolve workstation. https://appleinsider.com/articles/2...nderbolt-3-egpu-gives-hope-for-future-support

    How in the world it works so well? Someone with the full understanding of how the M1 SoC works would need to explain it, but for the price there is nothing else in the world that offers the same price/performance ratio, nothing. Repeat that, nothing at the same price/performance ratio.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2020

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  16. SeaRefractor
    Gingerbread Nov 23, 2020

    SeaRefractor , Nov 23, 2020 :
    Not disputed when you run the apps that are M1/Arm silicon native. Many of the apps like Asphalt are not as fast due to the Rosetta 2 translation software to change the Intel code to Arm RISC instructions. In time you'll see a new version that is M1 compiled and it'll be amazing. This is proven by heavy used GPU applications that are available in M1 versions. Like Final Cut Pro and the beta DaVinci Resolve 17.1 for the M1. Incredible for a super cheap $699.00 It's not that it can do things that top tier workstations can't do, it's that it does it very well (and sometimes exceeding in specific use cases) for a fraction of the cost, as I explained in my post above.

    If Microsoft releases an ARM silicon based Windows, you could see smartphone makers able to pivot into this space. Perhaps OnePlus is planning on workstation or laptop that could be in this space if such an OS is in the works and I'm just not aware of it yet. Not to be confused with the failed Windows R/T that was on a hardware limited Surface RT a while back, but even that was cool at the time.

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  17. Chenrichy
    Gingerbread Nov 23, 2020

  18. __RAYZAR__
    Gingerbread Nov 23, 2020

    __RAYZAR__ , via OnePlus Community App , Nov 23, 2020 :
    The M1 seems interesting, but in my opinion they didn't actually compare it to good windows laptops

    More like some cheap ones they found or they compared it to previous overheating older MacBooks.

    Kenox80 and yashonagori like this.
    Cupcake Nov 24, 2020

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  20. Nipu_1998
    Ice Cream Sandwich Nov 24, 2020

    Nipu_1998 , via OnePlus Nord , Nov 24, 2020 :
    Apple has proved that a tight integration between the hardware and software can bring about miracle boosts in performance and efficiency. More performance gains are expected in the next generation Macs with M1X and M2 chips with more developers developing their applications optimized for the ARM chips.

    Kenox80, Ranjit2206 and yashonagori like this.