Apple's new exciting M1 CPU was just announced and promises significant performance gains over the companies previous systems equipped with Intel core processors. Unfortunately, in Apple's presentation, the performance numbers shown were at best vague and non-conclusive. That leaves us in the dark as to where exactly the M1 will actually land in terms of CPU performance. That changes today with a tweet from @andysomerfield, who has real performance numbers for the Apple M1 chip in the Affinity Photo benchmark. The M1 is put against one of Apple's older 2019 iMacs with an 8th generation Intel Core i5 6-core CPU that features a boost frequency of up to 4.1GHz.
Affinity Photo is a photo editing service with a built-in benchmark that measures vector and rasterization performance. Apple's M1 processor scored the following:
- 504 points in Single-Core Vector
- 2032 points in Multi-Core Vector
- 538 points in Multi-Core Raster
- 6966 points for GPU Raster
- Combined 532 Single Core
- Combined 7907 Single GPU
For the Core i5 and Radeon Pro 580X combo in the 2019 iMac, here are the results:
- 310 Single-Core Vector
- 1515 Multi-Core Vector
- 393 Multi-Core Raster
- 8133 GPU Raster
- 407 Single Core
- 5568 Single GPU
In the CPU tests, the M1 chip wins hands down, being on average 25% faster than the Core i5 CPU. The M1 is also not much slower than the RX 580X in the GPU scores. This is exciting for Apple's M1 chip, which clearly demonstrates its ARM based architecture can go toe to toe with previous-gen Intel x86 chips in performance. In the past, ARM was a great for attaining great power efficiency and long battery life. Now Apple is demonstrating we can have the best of both worlds: high performance and long battery life.
There are of course caveats. This is only one set of benchmarks, which could be specifically optimized for the M1 chip. This is also against a base model 8th Gen Core i5. We need to see a lot more data to get a handle on how the M1 truly compares against other processors across a variety of tasks. Either way, it'll be very interesting to see how the M1 stacks up against Intel's and AMD's latest offerings. Those have more cores and higher frequencies, which the initial M1 isn't likely to match, but it should still prove great for laptop battery life.