Apple's independence rises to an unprecedented level with the launch of the M1 chip designed for the MacOS world - and this may be the best proof we have that the architectureARM Ripe for a world war in the processorsx86 On all fronts
We knew it was coming, after years of preparation and even an official announcement of the move that came a few months ago - and yet we were greatly surprised, as if it all happened in one moment without warning. After more than a decade of fruitful collaboration with Intel in the field of processing, Apple has taken another crucial step and moved to use self-developed processing chips for its computers, based on architecture ARM And a state-of-the-art 5 nm production process - and the results leave mourning for all chip Mobile Another available in the market right now, at least according to data from the giant from Cupertino.
ChipApple M1 is the first product in this new and intriguing era of the company, which will be based on an architecture similar to the chipApple A14 but increased in size and power with 8 general processing cores (including 4 Firestorm for maximum performance and 4 Icestorm for optimal efficiency) and a graphics core with 8 processing clusters capable of reaching theoretical performance of 2.6TFLOPS when it is at its peak. There is also an accelerator unit for machine learning and artificial intelligence with 16 cores and performance of up to 11TOPS, a unified cache memory architecture with 12 megabytes at the fast L2 level for powerful cores and 4 megabytes at the L2 level for efficient cores, a separate Secure Enclave unit for storing the most sensitive information , NVMe storage based on PCI-Express 4.0 standard and support for USB 4 andThunderbolt 4 - A total of about 16 billion transistors in the loaded and tiny chip, with a basic power shell of only 10 watts.
All of this data is interesting, but what is much more interesting is the promise of Dark Because as part of their use it will be able to provide a 2x improvement in overall performance and graphics performance relative to leading competing mobile chips, under the same 10 watt power envelope. In a market where we are used to getting a 10 or 15 percent improvement at best from generation to generation, the statement of Dark Breaks all conventions at once - even if it is "only" partially correct.
Apple has adapted its MacOS Big Sur system to work seamlessly with architecture-based Apple M1 chips ARM And with x86 chips from home Intel At the same time without any compatibility or performance issues between them, and the first products based on the innovative hardware are expected to be available as early as next week - so we can start getting independent impressions about the achievements and pretensions of Dark Starting with its first generation. Will be very interesting.
Apple begins the journey to complete hardware independence at the bottom, naturally, with compact Mac Mini and MacBook that were previously based on the most economical chips Intel has to offer - but it certainly makes sense to assume that Apple can adapt its architecture relatively quickly to larger, more powerful systems, including In the desktop world, with the power envelope and arrays Cooling Increases that will allow you to bounce the operating frequencies, add more graphics processing clusters and maybe even increase the amount of general processing cores from eight to 12 or 16 (or alternatively replace the Icestorm units with more powerful Firestorm units, when there is no practical reason to consider the power savings) .
The main limitation and challenge in this expansion may, in fact, come from the partner’s direction TSMC Responsible for mass production itself - the 5 nanometer process is still in its infancy and may support the volumes, outputs and chip dimensions that Apple will only need in a few years from now, regardless of the money Apple will be willing to invest to maintain the highest quality products from these production lines.
We hope these two slides will stand the test in the real world as soon as possible
How will Apple's move affect the entire PC market in the long run? It is still very early to pretend to provide reliable and accurate analysis, but we can certainly imagine a future where more ARM (Qualcomm? Samsung?) Keys will gather courage and try to make PC makers abandon their dependence on processing products from Intel andAMD For more efficient and even more powerful chips under the same power consumption.
Think you know what the world of computing will look like in 2025? Feel free to share them all in the comments.