M1 MacBook Air blows away predecessors, every other CPU in benchmarks

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MacBook Air power
Apple's fastest MacBook yet.
Photo: Apple

Early benchmark results for the new M1 MacBook Air have begun surfacing online, and boy are they impressive. Not only does Apple’s newest ultraportable blow away its predecessors, but its M1 chip outperforms every other mobile CPU on the market.

That’s even more astounding when you remember the new MacBook Air has a completely fan-less design that stays silent no matter how hard you push it.

The MacBook Air has become Apple’s most popular notebook, largely due to the fact that it’s the most affordable. But until now, if you needed to get anything truly intensive done on the go, you typically had to pay more for a beefier MacBook Pro instead.

Thanks to the staggering new M1 system-on-chip (SoC), Apple’s first custom ARM chipset for Mac, that’s no longer the case. The new MacBook Air is now one of the most powerful notebooks money can buy in benchmark tests — faster even than a 16-inch MacBook Pro.

M1 MacBook is insanely powerful

Apple says the new MacBook Air is up to 3.5x faster in CPU performance, and up to 5x faster in graphics. It’s also insanely efficient, with the longest battery life in a MacBook Air to date. But it’s difficult to appreciate what those claims mean without more data.

Well, now we have that data. Early Geekbench 5 tests show the MacBook Air scoring a single-core CPU score of 1,732 and a multi-core CPU score of 7,545. The only processors that beat these figures are high-end desktop chips from AMD and Intel.

No other Intel-based Mac laptop tested to date comes close in Geekbench 5 tests. The fastest we could find in the charts, a 16-inch MacBook Pro from late 2019 that costs upwards of $5,000, achieves a single-core score of 1,095 and a multi-core score of 6,869.

If these results from the M1 MacBook Air are accurate, “that CPU would get you into the top few pages of Geekbench 5 single core results — in a fanless chassis — and it nearly doubles the A14’s multicore results,” noted developer Steve Troughton-Smith.

“Also — bear in mind that Apple’s other two M1 machines have active cooling, which could mean even higher benchmark performance. These are incredibly fast chips. Every MacBook Air now has the power of the top-end 16″ MacBook Pro in CPU performance.”

The fastest Mac yet

A “$999 MacBook Air with no fans is … faster single core by 30% than every Mac ever (yes including iMac/Mac Pro) … faster multi-core than every Mac ever except iMac/Mac Pro with 8+ cores,” added Ryan Jones.

That’s absolutely mind-blowing, and it makes us incredibly excited for the future of Apple Silicon. It also backs up promises Apple makes on its website, like “MacBook Air can take on new extraordinarily intensive tasks like professional-quality editing and action-packed gaming.”

You can order the new M1 MacBook Air today, starting at $999 or $899 for those who qualify for Apple’s education discount. The new M1 MacBook Pro starts at $1,299, while the M1 Mac mini is just $699.