MacBook Air – M1: A great Combination?

The MacBook Air (M1-2020) is undoubtedly the most impressive and eye-catching laptop with an upgraded OS and Chipset that Apple manages to deliver last year(2020). It can run both iOS apps and macOS, but M1 optimized macOS apps are the real game-changer with insane good performance, discussed later.  

M1 MacBook Air
 MacBook Air with M1

Let us move to the topics we will discuss in the blog:

  • MacBook Air M1
  • Apple M1 Chip Review
  • M1 vs. Intel
  • M1 vs. i9

MacBook Air M1

The new Apple laptop (MacBook Air M1) was released back in 2020, but we can confidently say that it is the most refined version of the Apple MacBook till today. The new era of Apple homegrown Chips is going strong by delivering insane power with the minimal use of battery power is challenging every other laptop in its respective range. It is genuinely challenging its siblings powered by Intel processors.

As a MacBook user, I can tell the new MacBook air powered by an M1 chip is offers some serious power and advantages over its Intel-powered predecessor. The best point is that with all this superpower, you got a super battery backup as well.

Most of the applications available for M1 mac are not optimized for M1’s architecture. However, they are still the Intel version, and soon all apps optimized for M1 will be on board, and they will run faster on the M1-powered macs.

MacBook Air M1: Specifications

 
Price $999 (starting)
CPU Apple M1
Display Retina display, 13.3 inches, 500 nits, Truetone technology
Resolution 2560 × 1600
Weight 3.0 lbs.
Operating system Mac OS Big Sur
Power Brick 65 W, USB C to C
GPU 8 Core
Neural Engine 16 Cores
Memory 8GB unified(extendable to 16GB)
Storage 256GB SSD (extendable to 2TB)
keyboard Backlit Magic keyboard
Camera 720p Facetime HD
Audio Output Dolby Atmos stereo speaker, 3.5 mm headphone jack
Audio Input 3 mic arrays
Ports 2 Thunderbolt 3
M1 Mac Air: Specifications

MacBook Air M1: Performance

It is incredible and super-fast. I absolutely loved previous Air Macs with Intel, but the most significant issues were the heat. After some severe load, the fan starts screaming and would not cool down until some minutes. One of the main reasons behind their speed is the fast SSDs. SSDs on the Intel Air were fast; the SSDs on the M1 Air are super-fast. This helped me use more than 10 chrome tabs, a group call, and Airdrop transfer simultaneously, and I did not feel even a millisecond lag or drop in performance and increase in heat.

SSD Speed comparison
SSD Speed Comparison

Compared to the 10th gen Intel-based 2020 mac book Air, the new M1 chips totally left it behind.

This time Apple uses unified memory. It means the processor does not contain only the CPU but the memory(RAM) in the same package. You said, “Not a big deal”? Well, it increases the access time that the CPU require to read and write to the RAM, which directly improves the speed. In addition, the unified approach makes RAM a single memory pool that all components of the CPU can access. These all features are working at a time to provide a fantastic experience of flawless performance to us.

MacBook Air M1: Design

I love the design. The wedge shape looks great and more comfortable for typing and longtime usage. It does not have a touch bar, but I would say that thing is objective. Some users will like that, some not.  The 12 x 8.4 x 0.6-inch, 2.8-pound M1 MacBook Air is the same as the Intel version. Apple makes it available in gold, silver, and space gray colors. Personally, I prefer gold because of its elegance.

MacBook Air M1: Ports

The M1 MacBook Air has 2 thunderbolts, 3/USB 4 ports, like the old Intel macs, and a 3.5mm audio jack which should never be removed. Both USB C ports are on the left side.

Apple M1 Chip Review

It is the first Apple-designed System on-chip SoC developed for Macs. It makes Apple capable of ditching Intel chips which Apple has been using since 2006.

Apple M1 Chip
Apple M1 Chip

As a Soc, M1 integrated many components CPU, GPU, Neural engine, memory, and SSD controller, etc., in the same package. The main feature of the M1, the Unified memory architecture, let us all components of the chip like CPU, GPU, etc. do not need to make copies of data while processing and make them able to access the same data pool. There are  16 billion transistors on M1, most on any chip by apple. It is a 5nm ARM architecture-based chip, which has the best performance per watt rate due to all its properties.

See Geekbench scores in detail.

It is the most potent and optimized chip that Apple has created to date and got several properties to form the Apple A14 chip, a 5nm architecture-based chip built by Taiwan’s semi-conductor manufacturing company (TSMS).

The M1 has a Secure Enclave feature that manages and a storage controller that uses AES encryption hardware for SSD performance because that is fast secure.

M1 vs Intel

Today, Apple uses M1 in lower-end macs, but it beats the highest-end Intel chips in terms of performance. It has the fastest single-core version for any mac, and the multi-core scores have not much difference. The main difference is that the Intel chips are based on ×86 architecture, but the M1 is based on ARM 5nm architecture. M1 with the 5,692 scores clearly beats the latest Intel 11th Gen chips with a 5,319-benchmark score.

M1 vs i9

  Apple M1 Intel Core i9
Architecture Technology 5nm 14nm
Frequency 3.20 GHz 3.60GHz
Cores 8 8
Hyperthreading No Yes
GPU Apple M1-8 core Intel UHD Graphics 360
GPU frequency 3.20 GHz 0.35GHz
GPU technology 5nm 14nm
Max. Displays 2 3
Execution Unit 128 24
Max. GPU Memory 8 GB 64 GB
L2 Cache 16MB
L3 Cache 16MB
Instructions Set ARMv8-64 bit ×86-64 bit
M1 vs Intel Core i9 Chips comparison

MacBook – M1: Conclusion

This detail about MacBook Air with M1 has shown us why this new mac is a revolutionary laptop combined with good speed and performance. Just with minor improvements like having more available ports and thinner bezels, it can nearly perfect. I found no reason to not buy this fantastic piece of technology. You can get these things like small bezels and more ports in other laptops like Dell XPS 13 and Asus ZenBook 13, but then you will be sacrificing a decent amount of battery backup and blazing performance. It can be an easy choice for mac lovers, and other brand users can shift towards it when they taste it.

• Does M1 impress you?
• Are you Going to buy M1 MacBook Air or continue using an Intel-powered mac?

 

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