The M1 Apple’s magnum opus

Apple’s new in-house chip makes a lot of promises, but as with any new technology there are still some things to keep in mind when thinking about purchasing a laptop with the M1 chip. (Photo: Shutterstock)
AMMAN — Whether you are a die-hard fan of Apple or are have never owned an Apple product in your life, their technological marvel, the M1 Chip, developed by the tech giant is nothing short of a miracle. اضافة اعلان

With the recent trend of semiconductors becoming a rare commodity for companies and consumers alike, Apple has decided to take matters into their own hands and completely reinvent the microchip space.
Below we discuss the reasons behind why this chip is so important to the current technological landscape and the potential downsides of upgrading to it in the foreseeable future. 

One chip to rule them all 

For over two decades now, Intel has dominated the microchip and semiconductor market, having a market cap of over $256.1 billion as of 2020, according to Investopedia. As a result, many corporations and tech giants to this day use Intel’s microchips, with Apple being no different. 

Back in 2005, Steve Jobs signed a partnership with Intel in order to move away from PowerPC processors as the technology was slowing Apple’s innovation. However, after 15 long years, Apple has decided that Intel’s good microchips were just that — good. 

Enter the M1 Chip on November 2020. Announced live at Apples personal conference, WWDC, the chip was deemed as a first-of-its-kind system. The system manages to combines the CPU, GPU, RAM, a neural engine, and cache all into one chip, unlike traditional computers where all of these components are typically completely separate from one another. In terms of innovation, this was one of the largest developments the chip industry has seen in over a decade. 

This clever design manages to create seamless communication between all of the components, increasing both raw power and energy efficiency gained out of a laptop. The CPU itself hosts eight cores, four of which are essentially super-cores providing incredibly high performance, while the other four are high-efficiency cores. 

With the four high-performance cores, tasks that require single-threads are performed at lightning speeds, while the remaining four efficiency cores are left to run the rest of the machine’s utilities. Additionally, as a result if this 4x4 chip mix, the laptop runs significantly more efficiently in terms of power, increasing the overall battery life of a device.
The M1’s features an integrated graphics chip running eight cores, with its performance being similar to that of the GTX 1050 or Radeon’s RX 560. While not absolutely groundbreaking in terms of performance, considering the M1’s size and energy efficiency, it is definitely a feat to be admired. Unless you’re going to be running Crysis graphic test runs ad nauseum, you should have absolutely no troubles with any tasks that would require a high-performance GPU. 

Apple’s new in-house chip makes a lot of promises, but as with any new technology there are still some things to keep in mind when thinking about purchasing a laptop with the M1 chip. (Photo: Unsplash)

The neural engine is Apple’s own technology and has been present in their machines since the early days of the A-series chips. This engine enables faster machine learning, increasing the efficiency and speed at which Macs perform a variety of tasks such as image processing, voice recognition, and the like. When compared to its predecessor, the M1’s integrated neural chip is capable of over 14X the performance according to MacRumors. Battery life also sees significant improvements, with Apple announcing the new Macbooks that feature the M1 chip having upwards of 20 hours of battery life thanks to the new chip. 

All of that innovation, but at what cost? 

As with all things in life, nothing is ever perfect. While the M1 chip does push the technological boundaries of the microchip industry, there have been serious discussions amongst the Apple community about the effects that this chip may have on the overall Apple product ecosystem. 

While highly compact and efficient, the M1’s strengths are a double-edged sword. With the GPU and RAM being integrated into the chip, it becomes almost impossible to upgrade your computer without involving Apple and their Genius Bar. While this isn’t directly detrimental to casual users of the MacBook lineup, many consider this to be yet another step in Apple’s long-winded history towards maintaining absolute control over their products, from the moment it lands in your hands to the inevitable moment it stops functioning. 

And let’s not forget about the elephant in the room — with the entire microchip hosting several components, should one of them decide to fail, the entire chip would have to be replaced. This can, potentially lead to increased costs to the end-user, as it is significantly cheaper to replace a GPU rather than an entire chip-set that hosts a variety of hardware. 

According to MacWorld, there were several downgrades in order to jumpstart this piece of impressive hardware. For starters, you were previously able to hook up multiple external GPUs to improve performance of the Mac, but the M1 chip completely removes this capability all together. Additionally, if you’re a tech wizard and are prone to using multiple screens at once, the M1 chip prohibits you from doing so, limiting you to only one external display per laptop. 

Additionally, it has been said that Windows support on the laptop is questionable at best. While recent developments in the open-source community have made it possible to install Windows on M1 machines, there are a slue of hoops that a user must jump through. Adding further insult to injury, users have reported unwarranted crashes and slowdowns through the use of Windows on the new chips, leading to a loss of temporary data. 

Lastly, the M1 chip itself is a relatively new technology, with its existence only being made known to the general public less than a year ago. While these downgrades of performance and features are known, there may be other problems that haven’t yet presented themselves lurking in the shadows. While this article isn’t aiming to paint the M1 as a red flag, it is important to understand that for all intents and purposes, such innovational technologies always come with a plethora of problems. 

In conclusion, if you’re a fan of Apple, and you love new innovational technologies but require your MacBook to perform vital tasks throughout the day, get yourself the newest M1 powered MacBook as soon as it hits the shelves — but make sure to keep your old trusty Intel-powered laptop close by in case the M1 fails to deliver on performance. 

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