Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Apple M1: At least a generation ahead of Intel

Six months have past since Apple launched its first M1 based Macs. This week saw a slew of new Macs and an iPad Pro all using the same processor.

M1 is at least a generation ahead of anything Intel can offer. It is, in effect, an entire system on a chip. There’s no indication the chipmaker will close the gap any time soon. Intel is in trouble.

If you want the best battery performance and the most powerful everyday processor it’s Apple all the way.

M1 across the Apple range


Your M1 choices run from the NZ$1200 Mac Mini through the iMac range up to the NZ$2550 MacBook Pro. The same processor runs the iPad Pro (prices start at NZ$1350).

The M1 is nominally an eight-core processor. In practice it is more complicated. There are four high-performance cores and four low power, high-efficiency cores.

There’s something else going on.

The M1 changes how we think about the relationship between processors and computers.

Over the years we’ve been trained to see processors as the key component defining the difference between low-end and high-end computers.

Until now it always been the case.

Processor power


You spend more money to get a more powerful processor running at a faster speed. In many cases computer brands sell what amounts to the same laptop equipped with different processor combinations.

That extra money buys you more grunt to crush more numbers, render huge graphics files or kill virtual aliens faster.

It wasn’t always a linear relationship. There were sweet spots in the Intel line-up where you could buy the maximum bang for the minimum number of bucks.

None of this applies to Apple in 2020


No doubt there will be more powerful Apple Silicon processors in the months and years to come. But for now it is one chip to rule them all.

Or, to put it another way, unless you have specific needs, there’s no longer any need to worry about the processor part of a computer’s specification.

Where does this leave Windows and Intel?


There have been reports of Windows running faster on Apple Macs than on more expensive Intel-based computers. If you stick with MacOs, you’ll see even better speeds.

Apple’s price-performance advantage is stark. Yes, you can buy Windows laptops or desktops for less than Mac prices. In cases, a lot less. If you’re not looking for performance, that remains a plausible buying strategy.

Otherwise, it is becoming harder and harder to justify the prices of higher-end Intel-based laptops or desktops.

Price competitive


The old idea that Apple is an expensive option needs revisiting.

Take Microsoft Surface. The devices have a lot going for them. It’s hard to make direct comparisons and, at the time of writing, the market is muddied by a lot of aggressive discounting.

Yet there are cases where Microsoft asks for 40 percent more than Apple for computers with shorter battery life and less raw processing power.

It’s much the same when you look at HP, Dell or any other well-known PC brand.

Hard to ignore


There will always be computer buyers who convince themselves that Apple is not worthy of their business. As if HP, Acer or Lenovo are somehow morally superior.

This isn’t always irrational. Many people have a lot invested in Windows, although that is less of a barrier than it was.Running Windows on Mac may be easy, but it means compromises and extra spending.

For everyone else, it’s getting harder and harder to walk past Apple’s computers.

On a personal note, I'm concerned that this looks unbalanced. Perhaps I've swallowed the Apple propaganda. The advantage seems so extreme, there must be a catch somewhere. I've been over the numbers repeatedly and I don't see it. Yes, you can find all kinds of reasons to not want an Apple computer, but, for now, the raw price-performance argument seems solid. 

Apple M1: At least a generation ahead of Intel was first posted at billbennett.co.nz.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 



Peter Dunne: What Has Happened To Tolerance?

An unpleasant aspect of our current national character has come to light in recent times. When it comes right down to it, no matter what our pretences to the contrary, tolerance for a different point of view, or approach to things, is not a commodity in great supply at present, right across the political spectrum... More>>

Keith Rankin: Inflation Fears, Bullshit Costs, And Inappropriate Policy

It is true that New Zealand – and the rest of the world – now faces substantial inflation pressure. As the 2020s unfold, the biggest macroeconomic story – as in the 1920s after World War 1 – is likely to be about how we address these pressures... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: When Football Did Not Come Home

They were in with a shot. The English team, deliriously floating on chants of Football’s Coming Home, had made it to their first major tournament final since 1966. The UEFA European Football Championship would be decided at Wembley against an Italian side unblemished by defeat since September 2018... More>>


Climate Explained: Is New Zealand Losing Or Gaining Native Forests?

Apart from wetlands, land above the treeline, coastal dunes and a few other exceptions, New Zealand was once covered in forests from Cape Reinga to Bluff. So was Europe, which basically consisted of a single forest from Sicily in southern Italy to the North Cape in Norway, before human intervention... More>>




Sydney Mockdown: The Delta Variant Strikes

It is proving to be an unfolding nightmare. For a government that had been beaming with pride at their COVID contract tracing for months, insisting that people could live, consume and move about with freedom as health professionals wrapped themselves round the virus, the tune has changed... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Why The J&J Vaccine Isn’t An Ideal Back-up Option, And Haiti

The news that Medsafe has given approval to Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine means the government is finally putting a backup plan in place, after the series of close shaves it has been experiencing of late in getting its deliveries of the Pfizer vaccine... More>>