Apple Latest M1 Chip Technology Explained


Apple released the brand new M1 chip as it officially announced it in the presentation held in July 2020. MacBook Air, Macbook Pro(13 inches), and Macbook Mini will be the three partners who will take this latest technology to the users while giving well-optimized Softwares and features. Apple M1 Chip is using RISC Technology which is pretty much unfamiliar for some people. By using this technology, Apple is going to optimize everything more than the previous versions and all the hardware and Softwares are going to perform a smooth job with this architecture.

Before jumping into the M1 Design first of all there’s one thing that’s good to know. What are these RISC and CISC architectures? What are the differences between them?

The RISC AND CISC Architectures

A processor that is included in your mobile, laptop, or desktop computer is designed to execute the command that we want. But they all are different from the speed, data handling, and many things but they all have one thing that’s similar which is the Instruction Set Architecture(ISA). In these architectures, there are two main types.

  • Reduced Instruction Set Computer(RISC)
  • Complex Instruction Set Computer(CISC)

Mostly CISC architecture is used in laptops and desktops and the RISC architecture was mostly used in smartphones and tablets. When it comes to performances, Processors which is designed with RISC architecture is faster than CISC architecture-based processors. We all know that the data transfer into our machine are just binary numbers made with 1 and 0. though we think that computers are more intelligent than humans, it’s not. The only thing is that a computer can do calculations x100000 or even more times faster than a human. When we want to a certain task we need to give the set of instructions to our computer and that’s what the programmers do by using a programming language.

CISC based processors are a little bit ahead in executing the command as we don’t need to give each and everything in commands. We only need to give the task that we want to do and the processor breaks that task into small tasks and it’s going to perform each task and give us the output. But RISC-based processors are just like a baby or a small child. We need to give each and every instruction line by line and the processor is just going through the line of codes and they start executing them one by one.

These RISC architecture-based processors don’t have to do any calculations because all the instructions were given to them. But In CISC once, before performing the task, It needs to break it into small once, and then only they can perform the task. And until it finishes the previous task it can’t move into another one. This needs a lot of time and power than a RISC based processor and that’s how the RISC architecture based processors are faster than the CISC architecture-based processors.

As a result of this difference between these two architectures, when you give several commands to a computer at once, it’s getting stuck or freeze and this can be changed based on your machine performance. Moreover, you can’t play a mobile game or use a mobile app on your PC, and to do that you are going to need an emulator. And the cool thing is that Apple is going to release their brand new M1 Chip designing it with RISC architecture and this time both Macbook Pro and Macbook Air versions will also have this brand new chip.

History of Transitions

Apple PowerPC vs. Intel Comparison
Apple PowerPC vs. Intel Comparison

Till 2005 Apple used the PowerPC RISC Architecture model with the help of IBM and Motorolla companies but in 2005 they made a transition to Intel by giving a dead stop to PowerPC Architecture. Till now all the processors are based on Intel’s CISC architecture but with the M1, Apple is switching back to the previous RISC architecture.

In 2011 they started manufacturing their own chips for iPhones and iPads and we can see a tight integration in their systems and thanks to the good optimization, nobody needs to care about the performances like RAM, CPU, or the battery life. Even the iPhone 12 is using 4GB Ram but they perform away better than android flagship phones with 6GB or 8GB RAMs.

Apple M1 Design

Apple Latest M1 Chip Technology Explained
Apple M1 Chip Design

Normally we can see a RAM, Graphic chip, CPU, Neural Engine, Security Chip, I/O system inside our machine in different places. In M1 design, apple brought all of them together into one single chip(SOC – System On a Chip) and this makes a huge advantage for the users.

Placing all the main components that we need in one place is like cooking while looking at a recipe after keeping all the ingredients you need nicely arranged. You don’t need to go here and there to find them because all of them are almost ready and the only thing you need to do is adding them according to the recipe.

Top Highlighted Features

In these types of designs, RAM cannot be upgraded and Apple announced that there will be 8GB and 16GB variants with this design. But we don’t need to worry as all the Softwares and operating system is optimized by them to the last piece of code. In windows, it’s a little bit different. Microsoft creates the Operating System and all the other manufacturers make their products according to a standard. And the next thing is, CPU, GPU or other components placed in the SOC can access the RAM according to a Unified Memory Architecture.

M1 Benchmarking
Apple M1 Benchmarks

For example, If you are using Photoshop, the data is been loaded to the RAM then to the CPU and after the processing, it needs to load the image data from our GPU, and then it’s been displayed on our screen. There’s a huge latency when we are going through this process but when GPU, CPU, and everything is placed in one place, CPU just need to give the command to GPU by pointing out where’s the data, and GPU will display the data at once which makes the long way short. Even a 4K edit or rendering can be performed without any stuck.

Apple M1 CPU vs. Power Performance

We can see more performances in gaming, video editing, graphics rather than the Intel version. When it comes to power consumption, the Apple M1 takes only 10W to do the job. This is compared to Intel’s 11th Gen 28W or AMD’s 15W chips and you can see the Apple M1 is going to give the best power to performance value in the next few years. However, there will be another variant of M1 for the iMac users but still, it’s not confirmed.

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