Unlike previous Mac chips, the M1 is designed and manufactured by Apple. It is ARM-based, meaning it uses a design similar to the "A-series" chips found in iPhones and iPads, rather than the Intel "x86" architecture. Additionally, the M1 is a System on a Chip (SoC), which contains several types of processors. Besides the CPU, the M1 includes a GPU, neural engine, media engine, and "high-efficiency" processing cores that help reduce power consumption.
Not only does the M1 contain multiple types of processors, but most of them are multi-core. Below are the M1 processor specs:
- CPU: 8-core (4 high-performance cores running at a 3.2 GHz clock speed + 4 high-efficiency cores)
- GPU: 8-core (7-core on the low-end model)
- Neural Engine: 6-core (for AI and ML computations)
- Transistors: 16 billion (5 nm)
- RAM: 8 or 16 GB of unified (integrated) memory
- L2 Cache : 12 MB per performance core; 4 MB per efficiency core
NOTE: Apple released two high-performance variants of the M1 — the M1 Pro and M1 Max — with new MacBook Pros in October 2021.