Apple MacBooks come in two varieties: one powered by an Apple M1 chip, and the other kind, run by an Intel processor.
In Australia, Macs saw double-digit growth in 2020, mainly fueled by interest in Apple’s new M1 system-on-a-chip. In this article, we’ll be talking about their ongoing battle, along with giving you a deep comparison of the two.
We present to you the only guide you’ll ever need on Apple MacBook: M1 vs Intel – which is best?
Apple M1 vs Intel: Overview
|M1 MacBook Pro 13″ (2020)||Intel MacBook Pro 13″ (2019)*|
|Processor||M1, 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine||Intel, 2.4 GHz, QCore i5, Intel Iris Plus Graphics|
|Display||13.3″ Retina display||13.3″ Retina display|
|Memory||8 GB||8 GB|
|Storage||256 GB||256 GB|
|Ports||2 x Thunderbolt/USB 4||4 x Thunderbolt (type C)|
|Battery life||20 hours||10 hours|
Up until 2020, MacBooks had an Intel processor in them and depending on their GPU and CPU scores, it was a stronger or a weaker version of Intel. Apple was mainly using Core i5, Core i7, Core i9, and Xeon. The bigger the core number, the better the performance. Intel provided Mac with lots of storage, more ports, and plenty of memory.
When it comes to the question of apple m1 chip vs intel, in 2020, Apple released their own M1 chip that is now implemented in most of the new Macs, making the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air far more powerful than their Intel-equipped counterparts. The M1 chip will also be included in Apple’s new iMac, which is one of the best computers for video editing. It offers longer battery life, so you’re not plugged in all the time, and the camera is top quality, but is it the best thing that’s ever happened to Macs?
Stay with us to find out more.
CPU and GPU
Sometimes, the processor is called CPU, which stands for Central Processing Unit. The processor determines how strong your Mac is. As mentioned above, different processors have different cores, and the bigger the number, the stronger the Mac. But, with the number of cores going up, so does the price.
GPU stands for Graphics Processing Unit, really important for the graphic requirements of your computer. You’ll need a stronger GPU if your profession requires it, or if you want to play games on the Mac in your free time.
MacBooks are equipped with a turbo boost feature that allows them to temporarily run at faster speeds when needed. This can be beneficial for tasks that require extra processing power, such as video editing or graphic design.
The turbo boost is specific to Intel processors. Although Apple can implement something similar in their chips, they can’t get the exact speed and power that Intel processors have.
Processor (CPU) Cache
A processor cache is a type of memory that is used to store frequently accessed data. It is designed to improve the performance of a computer by reducing the number of times that the processor has to fetch data from the main memory.
Apple M1 powered MacBooks have a larger CPU cache than the Intel-powered ones.
Hyper-threading is unique for Intel, and it allows multiple processes to be done simultaneously, by dividing CPU physical cores into virtual cores. This allows more efficient use of the processor and helps tasks to be done much quicker.
The technique was presented in 2002 and has been successfully implemented and used on different Intel-powered computers since then.
Intel-powered Macs cannot be ordered from Apple’s official site in Australia anymore. The only Mac still available for purchase featuring an Intel chip is the Mac mini (2018), Apple’s small desktop computer. It sells for $1,699, while the two years younger Mac mini, run by M1, starts at $1,099.
However, plenty of refurbished Intel-powered Macs are still around to buy. For example, an ex-demo second hand MacBook Pro 13” (2019) can be found for around $1,350, and the new MacBook Pro 13” (2020) will set you back $1,899.
If you’re looking to save, opt for a good-quality refurbished Intel Mac, but add a couple of hundred bucks, and you can get yourself a brand new device run by Apple’s chip.
If memory is one of your top priorities on your new laptop, an Intel-powered MacBook would be the perfect choice for you. Intel models originally have 16GB of RAM, with the possibility to upgrade them up to 32GB RAM.
While M1 MacBooks are limited to 16 GB of RAM, independent tests show that 16GB of memory on M1 actually performs the same as Intel’s 32GB. Most people do just fine with 16GB anyway, but investing in a good computer with enough memory if you’re using the laptop professionally (e.g. if you’re a video game designer, graphic designer, and photo editor) you’ll probably need more than that.
In terms of audio, M1 powered Macs are really quiet, and they stay cool all the time. You won’t get an overheating laptop, and there will be no buzzing noise at all.
When it comes to Audio processing, M1 MacBooks take the cake. They are a step up from the Intel-powered models. The built-in speakers on the M1 MacBooks are noticeably louder and clearer, with better bass response.
When you connect headphones or external speakers, you’ll get even better sound quality thanks to the M1’s improved audio processing.
Storage size is one of the most important things when you’re looking for a new laptop. Obviously, you’ll want to make sure you have enough space for all your files, photos, and apps.
M1 powered MacBooks are limited in terms of storage, as they are configured to 2TB.
Intel MacBooks, on the other hand, can be upgraded to 4TB, but most people who aren’t using the Macs professionally will stick to the basics.
The display is perhaps one of the few things that are completely the same in both M1-powered Macs and MacBooks Intel.
Both models have a LED-backlit Retina IPS display with 2,560 x 1,600 pixels resolution and True Tone technology. The image presented is sharp, clear, and extremely detailed.
Aside from the display, both MacBooks have the same Magic Keyboard, Touch Bar, and Touch ID. These things fall into the fine details and they ease your mind when making the final decision.
Both Apple M1 and Intel computers have the same camera of 720p. But, there is a slight difference in quality, and Apple M1 cameras seem to win on this one.
This is because the M1 MacBooks have the company’s image processor within them, making the final picture look better, brighter, and with bolder colours.
In 2021 at the Apple event, Apple presented the FaceTime camera that will be implemented on their MacBook Pros, with high quality of 1080p. In fact, it’s been already implemented on the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros.
When it comes to laptops, battery life is always an important consideration. After all, nobody wants to be tethered to an outlet all day long.
One of the main benefits of the M1 chip is that it offers a much better battery life. In fact, Apple claims that the M1 MacBook can last up to 20 hours on a single charge. That’s an impressive number, and it’s definitely something that Intel-powered laptops can’t match.
The Intel MacBooks can last around 10 hours when performing simple tasks, which is nowhere near the life of the M1 battery life. However, it’s important to keep in mind that battery life will vary depending on how you use your laptop.
Read more: How Often Should You Replace Your Laptop
No matter how many great specifics both M1 and Intel-powered laptops have, they still have limitations, such as the ports. Both MacBooks rely on Thunderbolt ports, and the only difference is in the number.
When it comes to ports, this is the area where Intel laptops take advantage. They have four Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, while M1 powered Macs have only two Thunderbolt/USB-4 ports. Both laptops have a functional headphone jack.
Via the USB port, you can charge your NoteBook, iPad, or iPhone, but if you have no device that is compatible with the port, you can use an adaptor to connect it.
Except for the ports, both MacBooks look identical on the outside. They both don a uniform, thin, compact design, coming in Silver and Space Grey finish, with a Magic Keyboard and a Touch Bar.
M1 and Intel MacBooks have almost the same weight, so in terms of portability, you’ll be carrying 1.4kg no matter your final choice.
Verdict: Are Intel Macs better than M1 Macs?
Depending on your needs and requirements, you can opt for the M1 Mac for a great camera, audio, and a long-lasting battery, or you can choose the Intel-Mac competitor, with a great processor and high speeds, offering plenty of RAM and storage.
We hope this guide resolves your pondering: ‘Apple MacBook: M1 vs Intel – which is best?’ Whichever you choose, it’s bound to be a great addition to your work and life overall.
1. Is M1 Apple better than Intel?
M1 is a newer technology presented by Apple, and in the future, all Apple products will have the M1 chip implemented in them. Intel is a well-known tech, used by many, which is why people trust it. Depending on the features that are important to you, you can make your final decision.
2. Should I buy Intel MacBook or M1 MacBook?
M1 MacBook Pro has a longer battery life and better audio and camera. On the other hand, the Intel MacBook pro has more storage, high speed, and plenty of RAM. Thought both varieties have pros and cons, it depends on your priorities, Apple MacBook: M1 vs Intel – which is best addition for you.