Fans of Apple computer hardware have more options than ever before among the ever-growing and ever-impressive collection of business laptops from the leading brand.
Recently, the M2 chips from Apple Silicon landed and are debuting in the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.
However, you might have already noticed that many other MacBooks are still using M1, particularly chip variations like the M1 Pro, M1 Max and M1 Ultra.
This may have caused some confusion to business owners looking to source business MacBooks for their staff.
If you’re wondering whether to trade in all your MacBooks with M1 for the M2 upgrade, don’t be too hasty.
M1 chips absolutely still matter now that M2 has landed. We’ll help you understand the difference between the Apple Silicon chips and what this all means for choosing the best business laptops from Apple.
What Is The M1 Chip?
M1 The M1 chip is a SoC (system on a chip) designed by Apple Silicon as a central processing unit and graphics processing unit for Mac desktops, laptops, and iPads.
For years Macs had used Intel chips like most PCs, but Apple recently returned to designing their own chips.
The advent of the M1 chip caused quite the stir in the computer industry upon its release. This is because it utilised unique technology, such as an integrated architecture system.
This integrated many systems together such as the CPU, GPU, unified memory architecture (RAM), Neural Engine, Secure Enclave, SSD controller, image signal processor, encode/decode engines, Thunderbolt controller with USB 4 support etc.
Integrating all these elements in one chip, rather than multiple chips, has led to incredible speeds in Macs because the different elements did not have to access different pools of data or copy data.
However, the standard M1 was not the only M1 chip released by Apple. Soon after the release of M1, which would be featured in many consumer and business model MacBooks, Apple Silicon released M1 Pro, and M1 Max, then later M1 Ultra.
What Is The M2 Chip?
The M2 chip is the successor to the M1. It is intended to replace the standard M1 chip.
However, this does not apply to the M1 Pro, M1 Max, or M1 Ultra, only the standard M1 chips.
While M2 is certainly capable of making devices moderately faster than the M1 chip (about 18% faster) and extends battery life significantly, it is not nearly as powerful as the M1 Pro.
M1 Max and M1 Ultra are far more powerful than the M2.
That’s right, apart from the standard M1 chips, the rest of the M1 range very much still matters.
Don’t forget that M2 is still only currently available in the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro and has not yet rolled out to other devices.
M2 builds on the tech of M1. The CPU is 18% faster, the GPU is 35% more powerful, and there’s a 40% faster Neural Engine. There’s more memory bandwidth to support up to 24GB of unified memory.
M2 has 20 billion transistors up from 16 billion in M1. A 10-core GPU is supported in M2.
M2 is still a notable improvement on M1. The original chip was industry-shaking with its new technology lending greater speeds. While the advent of M2 is less dramatic, the increased speeds and extended battery life will still significantly improve performance for business users.
What Is M1 Pro?
M1 Pro was designed for workers who need more power than normal. While most staff will have their needs met by the M1, or now the M2, some tasks in certain industries require more power dedication.
If your workers’ roles go beyond general office tasks and into the use of more demanding software and plenty of app multi-tasking, then M1 Pro is designed for them.
M1 Pro can have up to eight performance cores, double that of M2, yet only two efficiency cores, of which M2 has double that. M1 Pro has 10 cores overall but puts its efforts into performance cores and power vs speed and energy efficiency, which are M2’s focus.
M1 Pro provides 60% better CPU performance than M1. Early calculations suggest that M1 pro is still 35% higher in multi-core performance.
M1 Pro has 16 GPU cores and should be roughly 40% faster GPU than M2.
While M2 offers more memory than M1 at 24GB, the M1 Pro is up to 32GB. The M2 boasts the same media engine as M1 Pro.
So why bring out the M2 if it provides less performance than M1 Pro?
They are intended for different purposes and uses.
M2 is a replacement and upgrade for M1 standard chips, which will serve most users and workers well. They are ideal for balancing power, speed, and energy efficiency. They are ideal for most office tasks and make their devices into superb travel business laptops.
M1 Pro is for workers who require more power. FinTech developers and similar fields will want to keep M1 Pro devices. M2 would be a performance downgrade for them.
What Is M1 Max?
M1 Max has the same CPU as the M1 Pro, and so outperforms the M2, but it has far more graphics power than both of them.
The GPU is double the size and has twice the memory bandwidth of the M1 Pro. The GPU performance should be about 2.5x that of M2. The M1 Max has two media engines. M1 Max is perfect for demanding industries requiring that level of graphics power. Video editing, photo editing and even game design will be superior.
What Is M1 Ultra?
M1 Ultra currently offers the most power you can possibly get from an Apple Silicon chip. The most powerful Mac devices are facilitated by M1 Ultra, which is essentially two M1 Max chips brought together. Therefore, M1 Ultra provides double the power and speed of M1 Max. It uses a superior and fast interconnect system.
Engineering firms and industries that need a huge amount of power should consider sourcing Macs with M1 Ultra chips.
How Do I Know Which Chip Is Best For Me?
As we can now see, most of the M1 chip range is still highly relevant even with the advent of M2. It is those sectors with the largest power requirements that will still need to look to the M1 Pro, M1 Max and M1 Ultra.
However, many businesses will not require this level of power and performance. To decide which chip is right for you, look at the type of programmes that staff must utilise and how much multi-tasking they do. An evaluation by your computer hardware lease provider can also guide you in the right direction.