Apple M1 chip outperforms AMD, Nvidia graphics in new benchmarks

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Apple M1 chip
Gaming is about to get a lot better on Mac.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s new M1 chipset has been blowing away rival Intel chips in CPU performance benchmarks, and it doesn’t stop there. It turns out Apple Silicon can give many graphics cards a run for their money, too.

New tests reveal the M1 easily outperforms the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti and AMD Radeon RX 560 in graphics benchmarks. It could make gaming on a Mac better than ever.

Better move fast if you want one of the last Intel-based MacBook Airs

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2020-MacBook-Air
Get the 2020 MacBook Air with Intel processor while you can.
Photo: Apple

The Intel-based MacBook Air is quickly disappearing. Apple introduced the the first version of this svelte laptop with an M1 processor on Tuesday, and pulled the previous version off the Apple online store.

It isn’t unusual for a new Mac to replace on older one. But the MacBook Air just made a quantum leap to a new type of processor, and some people are likely still interested in one with an Intel processor. The supply is dwindling, though.

Performance trajectory shows why jump to Apple Silicon makes perfect sense

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CPU performance vs. power: Apple M1 against PCs
Apple M1 processor outperforms PC chips, even while using less power.
Chart: Apple

Apple improved its processors’ performance by a massive 3x in the past five years, according to analysis carried out by AnandTech. Meanwhile, Intel’s best single-thread performance only improved 28% during that same time frame.

The stats help cement why the risky jump from Intel to Apple Silicon in Macs makes a whole lot of sense.

Why the new iMac is still a great buy, even without Apple Silicon

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2020 iMac: The new iMac looks just like the old one (only faster).
The 2020 iMac is certainly worth your cash.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s newest iMac is by far the fastest yet, with huge increases in both CPU and GPU performance. It also ships with improved speakers and microphones. And yet, it seems a lot of Apple fans don’t care.

The reason? The new iMac is powered by Intel processors, like all its predecessors since 2006, instead of Apple Silicon. Since Apple revealed its plan to switch to its own custom chips at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, Intel processors just don’t hold the same appeal.

But there are some great reasons to continue buying Intel-powered Macs in 2020. Here are a few.

Former Mac boss thinks Apple Silicon could break up Windows and Intel

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Microsoft Surface Pro X
Now that Apple is giving up Intel, and Surface Pro X shows Microsoft is considering it, the future could be grim for Intel.
Photo: Microsoft

Macs moving from Intel to Apple Silicon could cause Windows computer-makers to dump Intel as well, according to Jean-Louis Gassée, the former head of Mac development back in the 1980s. He thinks the move could be led by Microsoft.

Thunderbolt 4 brings only incremental advances over Thunderbolt 3 [UPDATED]

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Thunderbolt 4 coming later in 2020
Apple and Intel developed Thunderbolt, and a new version debuts later in 2020.
Photo: Intel

Intel unveiled the specs for Thunderbolt 4 on Wednesday without bringing dramatic changes to this connectivity standard built into most Macs. Still, any computer running the new version has to offer an upgraded set of specifications, including the ability to handle a pair of 4K monitors.

Update: Apple promised to build Thunderbolt 4 into future Macs. “We remain committed to the future of Thunderbolt and will support it in Macs with Apple silicon,” an Apple spokesperson told The Verge.

First ARM-based Mac could be a 12-inch MacBook with butterfly keyboard

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12-inch-MacBook
The 12-inch MacBook could come back as the first macOS computer without an Intel chip.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s first ARM-based computer will be a very slim and light MacBook, according to a leaker claiming inside information and sources in Apple’s supply chain. The Mac-makers move away from Intel chips will begin with a 12-inch MacBook that supposedly will include the controversial butterfly keyboard.

Apple could confirm Mac’s transition to ARM chips at WWDC 2020

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Full-screen works great on a MacBook.
The move we've all been waiting for is finally getting close.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple reportedly will confirm the Mac’s transition to ARM chips during its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote on June 22.

The company has been using Intel processors inside the Mac since it ditched PowerPC chips in 2006. But speculation regarding a move to custom CPUs has been growing as Apple’s own chips have become incredibly powerful.

We may not see an ARM-powered Mac this year, however. Sources say Apple plans to announce the initiative, code-named Kalamata, at WWDC 2020. That would give developers time to adjust before the first ARM Macs arrive in 2021.