Thursday, November 12th 2020

Apple's M1-Based MacBook Air Benchmarked

When Apple announced that they are going to switch their Mac lineup from Intel-based x86 processors to the custom "Apple Silicon," everyone was wondering how the new processors will look and perform. To everyone's luck, Apple has just a few days ago announced its first Apple Silicon custom processor for MacBook. The M1, as the company calls it, is their first processor designed for higher-power and performance tasks The M1 features eight CPU cores (four high-performance and four-high efficiency) paired with eight cores dedicated to the graphics. On the die, there is also a 16-core neural engine made to accelerate machine learning tasks found in the new applications.

Today, we are getting the first GeekBench 5 CPU benchmarks that showcase just how far Apple has come with its custom design. What we have is the M1 processor found in MacBook Air. This Mac model features a passive cooling system, cooling a CPU with a base frequency of 3.2 GHz. The system scored 1719 points in the single-core result, and 6967 points in the multi-core result. The single-threaded results measure itself with some of the highest-end offerings from Intel and AMD, while the multi-threaded results are very good given the mix and match of small and big cores.
Source: GeekBench 5
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115 Comments on Apple's M1-Based MacBook Air Benchmarked

#101
Sandbo
windwhirl
The first one was wrong, it was from an A12, apparently.
I see, that makes more sense.
While not a performance king, the raw performance is indeed great for the price (assuming MacAir can give this score), let alone the superior battery life.
Now we just need to see how apps transition fairs.
Posted on Reply
#102
Vayra86
Searing
It isn't about changing to favor Apple, it was about removing the memory dependency, that made it a better benchmark (better than Spec that way). You can view all the sub scores in the test.
Ergo, previous versions were a shit bench. But let's hope this one is good now... for how long?

That was the initial point regarding Geekbench
Posted on Reply
#103
dyonoctis


Now people are starting to get their macs. The more I see, the more I start to think : considering what those machines are being used for, this is brilliant. CPU wise The 4800u (15w) is the only thing that come close to be as interesting. Gpu wise it's time for vega to die and for rdna2 to replace it in the zen 3 apu. If you need a light machine with a great battery life and a good screen for photo editing graphic design, and a bit of video editing those machine are nice while not being that expensive compared to equivalent Pcs. (a cheap fast, small windows laptop with a 400-500 nits screen and at least 100% sRGB, doesn't exist, trust me, I've looked. Pc manufacturers like to cheap out on the screen a lot)

It will be interesting to see what AMD will do with the 5800u.
Posted on Reply
#104
londiste
16B transistors at 5nm.
Architecturally it does not seem too exciting. They went wide and slow to get the efficiency where they wanted it. Manufacturing costs of M1 are probably way above what competition is currently doing.
It would be cool to know what the die size of M1 is but there has been no official data as far as I can find and I cannot estimate from the SIP image because no idea what the memory chips and their sizes are.

For some idea how large of a chip we are talking about - this is more than Radeon VII (13.6B) and almost the same size as GA104 powering RTX3070 (17.4B).
Renoir (4800U) is reported to have ~9.8B transistors.

Granted, M1 has additional stuff like Neural Engine, ISP, AES encryption, encoder(s)/decoder(s), Thunderbolt controller. On the other hand, some or most of that also exists for example in Renoir.
There are tradeoffs, amount of USB ports seems to be limited, it does not seem to have PCIe, max 16GB RAM and there is probably a reason it only runs up to 10W (if nothing else then marketing, definitely).

2.6TFLOPS for iGPU is impressive for the power envelope but again I am quite sure they went wide and slow to keep the power usage down.
For comparison, 2.5TFLOPs is something like RX560 can do with 3B transistors. Renoir does 2.1TFLOPs in desktop SKUs (8CU running fast). Both obviously use a hell of a lot more power.
Posted on Reply
#105
Darmok N Jalad
It's not too complicated when you look at the lineup where Apple launched its silicon. The M1 replaced the CPUs in the Air and base MBP, but not the high-end MBP. It is extremely rare that Apple takes a performance hit with a refresh (ahem, 2014 mini), so the implication was strong that the M1 will be overall better than the outgoing Intel CPUs, but not as strong as the Intel CPUs that remained, like the i9 option in the MBP. Apple gets to build both the OS and the chip, so one would hope they would be well optimized for each other. I expect the M1 to be a very solid result, and if nothing else, you're going to get insane battery life. It won't be long now though, since the first units are arriving in people's hands.
Posted on Reply
#107
Darmok N Jalad
thevoiceofreason
Anandtech did some testing with the new mac mini, I think Cinebench R23 single thread is notable as you can easily compare it to x64 results:


Yeah, even when emulating x86, it doesn't do too badly--still faster than the base i3 mini, while being cheaper. I had always assumed Apple had a good plan for this transition, but it's even better than I expected if these preliminary results hold true. They even emulated ROTR, and it did pretty well for a low-TDP chip with an iGPU. There's just not that many native-Apple games to really test the limits, and I don't believe any of the Arcade games have benchmarks.
Posted on Reply
#108
Ravenas
Nvidia realizes Windows is moving in the ARM direction as well. The ARM purchase doesn’t seem so bad after all. We will see how much Intel gets hurt from this.
Posted on Reply
#109
windwhirl
Ravenas
Nvidia realizes Windows is moving in the ARM direction as well. The ARM purchase doesn’t seem so bad after all. We will see how much Intel gets hurt from this.
Definitely will take a while. But it's an interesting possibility.
Posted on Reply
#110
Rahnak
Welp, so that M1 chip performs way better than I expected. I expected it to handily beat the Intel version in optimized apps but struggle a little with emulated apps. It turns out it handily beats the Intel version in emulated apps and crushes in optimized.

If you're in the market for an ultrabook, unless you use some app that isn't available on the Mac side, it's pretty hard to recommend a Windows laptop now.

Spam that F for Intel and AMD in mobile.

Can't wait to see where they take the 2nd gen version.
Posted on Reply
#111
TheinsanegamerN
Dredi
You can just dismiss the sub-benchmarks that you don’t find relevant and see who comes on top (it’s apple).
That's rediculous. That would be like someone using Intel Burn test to show how much stronger intel CPUs totally are over AMD. There are benchmarks that are known to be total garbage for consistency and for comparing between platforms.
Posted on Reply
#112
Stewen1967
Modern landscape times,
Endless pastures,
Winner sheeps,
Master lambs.

It's all scrollable bleat.
Posted on Reply
#113
rvalencia
Sandbo
These are actually very good numbers for a laptop:
My AMD Ryzen 3600X desktop is ST 1251 and MT 6973.
A laptop with AMD 4900HS is ST 1091 and MT 7075.
More: browser.geekbench.com/processor-benchmarks/

I guess at the beginning the software support might be limited, but this suddenly makes Apple's laptop a high performance option, especially at $999.
I had been discouraged by the fact that paying a premium for mac is giving me overpriced, outdated spec, guess this has changed now.
For Geekbench, OS plays a significant role in benchmark scores.
dyonoctis


Now people are starting to get their macs. The more I see, the more I start to think : considering what those machines are being used for, this is brilliant. CPU wise The 4800u (15w) is the only thing that come close to be as interesting. Gpu wise it's time for vega to die and for rdna2 to replace it in the zen 3 apu. If you need a light machine with a great battery life and a good screen for photo editing graphic design, and a bit of video editing those machine are nice while not being that expensive compared to equivalent Pcs. (a cheap fast, small windows laptop with a 400-500 nits screen and at least 100% sRGB, doesn't exist, trust me, I've looked. Pc manufacturers like to cheap out on the screen a lot)

It will be interesting to see what AMD will do with the 5800u.
Pointless benchmarks. Where's the Fortnite benchmarks?
Posted on Reply
#114
Sandbo
rvalencia
For Geekbench, OS plays a significant role in benchmark scores.


Pointless benchmarks. Where's the Fortnite benchmarks?
I agree that Geekbench is not a good reference, given how it "evolves" over time and bias towards Apple.
But there are other bench such as those performing video encoding does look amazing, plus those Javascript tests with native Chrome/Safari.
M1 at least perform well when there is an optimized version of software, and isn't really limited to a small scope of task like creation.
Posted on Reply
#115
dyonoctis
rvalencia
For Geekbench, OS plays a significant role in benchmark scores.


Pointless benchmarks. Where's the Fortnite benchmarks?
Wow will soon be ported for "apple silicon", but well get a real measurement soon. I don't think that there's any native games yet
Posted on Reply
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