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Why is Apple’s M1 chip so fast?

Why is Apple’s M1 chip so fast?

Since its launch on November 10, Apple’s M1 processor has been put to the test to confirm the power that Apple has boasted so much about, leaving the company very well.

Apple’s new M1 processor

However, the curiosity to find out what makes the processor really so powerful continues to grow. Thus, developer Erik Engheim shares in a post, his immersion in the ‌M1‌ chip, exploring the reasons why Apple’s new processor is much faster than the Intel chips it replaces.

Specialized chips for specialized tasks

As Apple has described the processor M1 is a System-on-a-Chip, which is a series of chips that are all found together in a silicon package, while Intel and AMD also ship multiple microprocessors in one package.

For Engheim, this new architecture does that instead of focusing on general-purpose CPU cores like its competitors, since Apple is focusing on specialized chips that handle specialized tasks.

In particular, there is also a new unified memory architecture that allows CPU, GPU, and other cores exchange information with each other, and with unified memory, the CPU and GPU can access memory simultaneously instead of copying data from one area to another, speeding up information exchange for faster overall performance.

“This is part of the reason that many people who work on video and image editing with the Mac ‌M1‌ are seeing speed improvements. Many of the tasks they perform can be performed directly on specialized hardware. That’s what allows a cheap Mac Mini ‌M1‌ to encode a large video file, without breaking a sweat, while an expensive iMac has all its fans on full blast and still can’t keep up. “

As Engheim describes, specialty chips have been around for years, but Apple is making a “more radical shift in this direction.” Along with the benefits of an internally designed System-on-a-Chip, Apple is also using Firestorm CPU cores in the ‌M1‌ which are “really fast” and capable of executing more instructions in parallel through out-of-order execution.