Apple in grips for the graphics processor of the M1 chip

The Apple M1 chip integrates several components: the CPU of course, but also the Neural Engine and the graphics circuit, among other bits of silicon. Composed of 7 to 8 cores (the entry-level MacBook Air being the least well endowed), this GPU dislocates hindquarters if you spare me the expression. Our Geekbench and GFXBench benchmarks attest to this (read on this subject our handling of MacBook Air/Pro and Mac mini).

Testing the graphics chip on MacBook Airs with Geekbench 5.
Testing the graphics chip on MacBook Pros with GFXBench Metal.

This is all well and good for consumer computers that don’t necessarily need dedicated graphics cards, and which will still offer peak performance for demanding apps and games (the graphics circuit is not ridiculous either in front of dedicated cards). For machines aimed at business users, like the iMac Pro, Mac Pro and future MacBook Pros, we’ll see what Apple has in the works.

Craig Federighi, the vice-president of software engineering, and his colleague Jony Srouji in charge of hardware technologies, obviously did not promise anything in this long article from Om Malik. They even suggest that the system-on-chip solution that brings together the most critical components of the computer engine is more efficient.

The 8 cores of the M1 chip’s GPU, at the top. Image: AnandTech.

« With a dedicated GPU, you move data back and forth across the system bus “, Notes Federighi,” and this has consequences on performance [de l’ordinateur] “. The machine heats up, the fans roar, and more chips and more memory are needed. The different components of the M1 chip share the same unified memory, which reduces data movement and therefore latency.

« Much of the data processing was once done by the processor », Specifies Srouji. With the M1 chip, ” now, many treatments are shared between the processor, graphics chip, Neural Engine and image signal processor “. Apple seeks less to align technical characteristics than to answer practical questions: ” Architecturally, how many 4K or 8K video streams can you process simultaneously while performing certain effects? », illustre Craig Federighi.

Video editing and editing professionals will be particularly interested in the response given by Apple with its M1 chip! All this does not mean that future Macs intended for professionals will not have dedicated graphics cards from vendors other than Apple. Or that these machines will remain incompatible with eGPUs indefinitely, such as this is the case of Mac M1. But Apple is relying more than ever on its in-house technologies to meet the power needs of its users.


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