Why the Apple M1 Chip Just Changed the Game in Computing
by Jim Lundy
Apple’s new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro come with no built-in fan. This is due to a new M1 processor that is very thin and consumes minimal power. This blog discusses the implications of the new M1 processor built into the new Apple MacBook laptops.
Apple M1 Processor Sets a New Standard
This week Apple showcased its new ARM-based MacBook and one processor that is the new chipset for all future MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros. With features like no fan, 20 hours of battery life, and always-on status, the new M1 chip has already set a new standard in processor design.
Primary tests show that the M1 processor can actually outperform a high-end Intel i9 processor, which is quite a feat for such a new chipset. However, if you watch the progression of the A-series chips in iPhones and iPads, this is not a surprise.
The 5-Nanometer Design
The other feat is that the new Apple chip is just 5nm thick. This is the same thickness as the ARM-based A14 processor in the iPhone 12. A thinner design produces less heat. This is one of the reasons that Apple has been able to put no fan in the new Apple MacBooks.
A Low Power Data Center Future?
However, given the extremely low power consumption, the new 5nm design has implications for future data center motherboard designs. Just based on the current battery life of a laptop, data centers with similar server configurations could cut their power consumption in half.
Apple Is Just Getting Started
Apple has shown that it can leverage the ARM-based architecture to innovate in processor design. The speed of new introductions bodes well for Apple with future MacBooks, tablets, and phones. The question is what else Apple will do with its processors.
Apple has taken the famous phrase of Moore’s law and continued to push the envelope in processor design, an area where Intel computers once led. Aragon expects that the M1 processor will lead to significant future innovations from Apple that will continue to fuel its growth. Other providers will be challenged by this move and will need to respond.