Apple M1

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Apple M1
Illustration of an M1 processor
Apple M1 chip
General information
LaunchedNovember 10, 2020[1]
Designed byApple Inc.
Common manufacturer(s)
Product codeAPL1102[2]
Max. CPU clock rate3.2 GHz[1]
L1 cache192+128 KB per core (performance cores)
128+64 KB per core (efficient cores)
L2 cache12 MB (performance cores)
4 MB (efficient cores)
Architecture and classification
ApplicationDesktop (Mac Mini, iMac), Notebook (MacBook family), Tablet (iPad Pro)
Min. feature size5 nm
Microarchitecture"Firestorm" and "Icestorm"[1]
Instruction setARMv8.4-A
Physical specifications
  • 16 billion
  • 8 (4× high-performance + 4× high-efficiency)
GPU(s)Apple-designed integrated graphics (up to 8 cores)
PredecessorIntel Core and Apple T2 chip (Mac)
Apple A12Z Bionic (iPad Pro)

The Apple M1 is an ARM-based system on a chip (SoC). It was designed by Apple Inc. as a central processing unit (CPU) and graphics processing unit (GPU) for its Macintosh computers and iPad Pro tablets.[3] It also marks the first major change to the instruction set used by Macintosh computers since Apple transitioned Macs from PowerPC to Intel in 2006. Apple claims that it has the world's fastest CPU core "in low power silicon" and the world's best CPU performance per watt.[3][4]

In addition to Apple's own macOS and iPadOS, initial support for the M1 SoC in the Linux kernel was released on June 27, 2021, with version 5.13.[5]



The M1 has four high-performance 'Firestorm' and four energy-efficient 'Icestorm' cores, providing a hybrid configuration similar to ARM DynamIQ and Intel's Lakefield and Alder Lake processors.[6] This combination allows power-use optimizations not possible with previous Apple–Intel architecture devices. Apple claims the energy-efficient cores use one-tenth the power of the high-performance ones.[7] The high-performance cores have an unusually large,[8] 192 KB of L1 instruction cache and 128 KB of L1 data cache and share a 12 MB L2 cache; the energy-efficient cores however, only have a 128 KB L1 instruction cache, 64 KB L1 data cache, and a shared 4 MB L2 cache.


The M1 integrates an Apple-designed eight-core (seven in some base models) graphics processing unit (GPU). Each GPU core is split into 16 Execution Units, which each contain 8 Arithmetic Logic Units (ALUs). In total, the M1 GPU contains up to 128 Execution units or 1024 ALUs,[9] which by Apple's claim can execute up to 24,576 threads simultaneously and have a maximum floating point (FP32) performance of 2.6 TFLOPs.[6][10]

Other features[edit]

The M1 uses 4266 MT/s LPDDR4X SDRAM[11] in a unified memory configuration shared by all the components of the processor. The SoC and RAM chips are mounted together in a system-in-a-package design. 8 GB and 16 GB configurations are available.

The M1 contains dedicated neural network hardware in a 16-core Neural Engine, capable of executing 11 trillion operations per second.[6] Other components include an image signal processor (ISP), an NVMe storage controller, Thunderbolt 4 controllers, and a Secure Enclave.

Performance and efficiency[edit]

The M1 was welcomed with positive reviews[12] and recorded competitive performance and efficiency in popular benchmarks (Geekbench 5, Cinebench R23).[13]

The 2020 M1-equipped Mac mini draws 7 watts when idle and 39 watts at maximum load,[14] compared with 20 watts idle and 122 watts maximum load for the 2018, 6-core Intel i7 Mac mini.[15] The energy efficiency of the M1 doubles the battery life of M1-based MacBooks from the previous Intel-based MacBooks.

The announcement of MacBook Air (M1, 2020) and MacBook Pro (M1, 2020) dropped the resale value of Intel MacBooks sharply.[16]


The processor without the heatspreader showing the CPU die and the small SMD capacitors underneath.
The Apple M1 processor with the heatspreader, only showing the two modules containing the LPDDR4X SDRAM.
M1 on a Mac mini (model 9,1, 2020) logic board compared with A13 SOC on an iPhone 11 CPU board.

Products that use the Apple M1[edit]


USB power delivery bricking[edit]

After its release, some users who charged M1 devices through USB-C hubs reported bricking their device.[22] The devices that are reported to cause this issue were third party USB-C hubs and non-Thunderbolt docks (excluding Apple's own dongle).[22] Apple handled this issue by replacing the logic board and by telling its customers to not charge through those hubs.[citation needed] macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 includes a fix to prevent 2019 or later MacBook Pro models and 2020 or later MacBook Air models from being damaged by certain third-party USB-C hubs and docks.[23][24]

Hardware errata[edit]

The M1 chip has errata given the name "M1RACLES". Two sandboxed applications can exchange data without the system's knowledge by using an unintentionally writable processor register as a covert channel, violating the security model and constituting a minor vulnerability. It was discovered by Héctor Martín Cantero.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Frumusanu, Andrei (November 17, 2020), The 2020 Mac Mini Unleashed: Putting Apple Silicon M1 To The Test, archived from the original on 2021-02-01, retrieved 2020-11-18
  2. ^ [Teardown] Late 2020 Mac mini: Apple Silicon M1, Thunderbolt..., archived from the original on 2020-12-02, retrieved 2020-11-18
  3. ^ a b "The Apple M1 is the first ARM-based chipset for Macs with the fastest CPU cores and top iGPU". Archived from the original on 2021-01-25. Retrieved 2020-11-11.
  4. ^ Sohail, Omar (2020-11-10). "Apple's 5nm M1 Chip Is the First for ARM-Based Macs - Boasts 2x More Performance Than Latest Laptop CPU, Uses One-Fourth the Power". Wccftech. Archived from the original on 2021-01-26. Retrieved 2020-11-11.
  5. ^ Adorno, José (2021-06-28). "Linux Kernel 5.13 officially launches with support for M1 Macs". 9to5Mac. Retrieved 2021-06-29.
  6. ^ a b c "Apple M1 Chip". Apple. Archived from the original on 10 November 2020. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  7. ^ "Here's what the future of Apple silicon Macs look like". iMore. 2020-11-10. Archived from the original on 2020-12-07. Retrieved 2020-12-05.
  8. ^ "Apple Announces The Apple Silicon M1: Ditching x86 - What to Expect, Based on A14: Apple's Humongous CPU Microarchitecture". AnandTech. 2020-11-10. Retrieved 2021-07-15.
  9. ^ Frumusanu, Andrei. "The 2020 Mac Mini Unleashed: Putting Apple Silicon M1 To The Test". Archived from the original on 2021-02-01. Retrieved 2021-01-30.
  10. ^ Kingsley-Hughes, Adrian (10 Nov 2020). "Apple Silicon M1 chip: Here's what we know". ZDnet. Red Ventures. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  11. ^ "M1 MacBook Air & Pro - EXCLUSIVE Apple Interview! | The Tech Chap - YouTube". Archived from the original on 2020-11-13. Retrieved 2020-11-14.
  12. ^ Cade, DL (December 21, 2020). "Apple Silicon M1 MacBook Pro Review: This Changes Everything". PetaPixel. Archived from the original on January 1, 2021. Retrieved January 6, 2021.
  13. ^ Antoniadis, Anastasios (November 21, 2020). "Apple M1 Benchmarks Are Here – Apple Delivered Performance and Efficiency". Borderpolar. Archived from the original on December 28, 2020. Retrieved January 6, 2021.
  14. ^ "Mac mini power consumption and thermal output (BTU) information". Apple Support. Retrieved 2021-08-08.
  15. ^ Lovejoy, Ben (January 28, 2021). "M1 Mac mini power consumption and thermal output figures highlight Apple Silicon efficiency". 9To5Mac. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  16. ^ "The Mac price crash of 2021". ZDNet. 2021-02-25. Archived from the original on 2021-03-01. Retrieved 2021-03-01.
  17. ^ "MacBook Air (M1, 2020) - Technical Specifications". Archived from the original on 2020-11-11. Retrieved 2020-11-13.
  18. ^ "Mac mini (M1, 2020) - Technical specifications". Archived from the original on 2020-11-11. Retrieved 2020-11-13.
  19. ^ "MacBook Pro (13-inch, M1, 2020) - Technical Specifications". Archived from the original on 2020-11-11. Retrieved 2020-11-13.
  20. ^ "iMac features all-new design in vibrant colors, M1 chip, and 4.5K Retina display". Apple Newsroom. Archived from the original on 2021-04-20. Retrieved 2021-04-20.
  21. ^ a b "iPad Pro - Technical Specifications". Apple. Archived from the original on 2019-01-04. Retrieved 2021-04-21.
  22. ^ a b "M1 MacBook Air won't power on". MacRumors Forums. Archived from the original on 2021-01-12. Retrieved 2021-02-26.
  23. ^ Miller, Chance (February 25, 2021). "macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 released with fix for using MacBooks with 'non-compliant' USB-C hubs". 9to5Mac. Archived from the original on February 25, 2021. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  24. ^ "What's new in the updates for macOS Big Sur". Apple Support. February 25, 2021. macOS Big Sur 11.2.2. Archived from the original on February 26, 2021. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  25. ^ Goodin, Dan (30 May 2021). "Apple's M1 Chip Has a Fascinating Flaw". Wired. Condé Nast. Retrieved 1 July 2021.

External links[edit]