Back in November 2020, Apple released their first Macs featuring their new M1 processors. These were debuted in the lower end 13-inch MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini. In 2021, Apple added the M1 processor to the 24-inch iMac and the iPad Pro, over time they will be featured across the board.
Since the introduction it’s fair to say that these processors have been well received, with the new architecture offering boosts in performance, whilst sustaining battery life. At this current moment in time there are both trusty Intel and newer M1 models available to choose from.
We get asked a lot of questions about these new processors, for example what are they, will my software still work, what does this mean for the Intel models - are they still worth considering? In this blog post we’ll walk you through the details, so you have all the facts you need to make an informed decision on which one is best for you.
What is a computer processor?
Before we can get into the nitty-gritty, we need to understand exactly what a processor is. The processor, or CPU, orchestrates all the tasks performed by the hardware and software that make up your Mac. So the more powerful your processor, the faster your Mac will get things done.
Intel and Apple processors
Intel is one of the world’s largest manufacturers and industry leaders of computer processors. These processors have long been featured in Macs as well as PCs 😷 such as Acer 🤢, Dells 🤮and HPs 😉. Intel processors are tried and tested and still featured in top of the range PCs.
Apple have been working on their own processors for more than a decade now, initially introducing them into their iPhones and iPads. Apple have begun the process of featuring these in their newer Macs, initially with the lower end models. At this current moment in time both Intel and M1 Macs are available on our site as well as Apple’s.
We often get asked whether Intel will still be supported by Apple. Apple will offer support of all of their devices for a period of time, following which they get phased out. Both Intel and M1 will be treated the same in this regard. As Intel models are still being sold by Apple, this isn’t something that you have to be worried about at this moment in time.
The M1 chip is packed with technology, with an astounding 16 billion transistors!
Apple M1, what’s new
So, with the history covered we can take a closer look at the M1 chip. Apple’s M1 chip is what’s known as a System on a Chip (SoC). The ‘System on a Chip’ houses several components all in the same place, for example the CPU, GPU, RAM and other components that power the different features. In simple terms, this new integrated architecture improves speed and efficiency as different components are able to access the same data pool.
Apple also reports improved battery life with the M1 processor. With tasks that are less intensive, such as web browsing, the M1 processors are able to better preserve battery life as they function in a different way.
Apple M1, software considerations
The M1 chip is built using a completely new architecture, this means that there may be issues running apps designed for Intel processors.
Apple has developed a tool called Rosetta 2, which allows apps designed for Intel processors to run on M1 models, with limited performance compromises.
In a few years time we suspect most popular apps will likely be built to run on these new processors natively. Until then, we’d recommend checking on the respective developers site to see whether M1 (sometimes called Apple Silicon) is supported.
For anyone wanting to run Windows on their Mac, there is no Boot Camp for M1 Macs so they are not officially able to run Windows.
The takeaway here is to check what apps you are using to see whether they are supported. If you are currently using old software and would like to continue to do so it’s likely best sticking with an Intel model for the time being (again, still worth checking compatibility).
Conclusions: Apple M1 vs Intel
Well the truth is, it depends. Both Intel and M1 models are worth considering if you are currently in the market for a new Mac. At this current moment in time Macs are available with both M1 and Intel processors. For example all of the 27-inch iMacs and Mac Pro’s feature powerful Intel processors. Hence, if you wanted the most powerful desktop it would be an Intel 27-inch iMac or Mac Pro.
One major point of consideration we haven’t yet mentioned is price. As we sell refurbished Apple products we offer a larger range than Apple themselves, as we sell a number of models that Apple have now discontinued. One of the main benefits here is we can offer a significant saving when compared to buying new, with a slightly older model. Hence if you have a lower budget or are looking to make a larger saving then one of our Intel models is certainly worth considering. If budget isn’t a problem or you want to be at the cutting edge with a notebook then an M1 model would be the way to go.
The great news is at Hoxton Macs we stock both, and offer savings on both! Check out the options available below.
If you are still stuck on whether to go for a MacBook with M1 or Intel, get in touch with our knowledgeable team today who will be able to provide more guidance.