Apple M series
Actual generation: 2.
Actual architecture: M2
Technology: 5 nm
Chip design: Chiplet
Instruction set: Rosetta 2 x86-Emulation
Virtualization: Apple Virtualization Framework
With the Apple M-Series processors, Apple entered the CPU market for mobile devices and desktop computers at the end of 2020. Apple has been developing its own smartphone processors for many years, which are used in the successful iPhone and iPad devices, for example. The basis of the new Apple M processors is very similar to the Apple A smartphone processors, but the processors have been significantly strengthened in some places.
In contrast to current AMD and Intel processors, Apple uses the ARM instruction set while the classic processors use the x86-64 instruction set. The Apple M processors include models with 8 to 10 CPU cores, which consist of a hybrid structure of performance cores and smaller efficiency cores. Intel has been using a similar concept in the Alder Lake processors since 2021. The advantage is that the processors are very economical when the load is low and still have high computing power when required.
A strength of the Apple M processors is e.g. the wide memory interface, whereby the largest Apple M (Max) processors can achieve memory bandwidths of up to 400 GB/s by using several 64-bit memory channels to the faster LPDDR5-6400 main memory. For comparison: the fastest Intel processors in this segment support two DDR5-4800 memory channels and thus achieve approx. 76.8 GB/s.
The internal graphics unit of the processors also benefits from the fast memory connection, which, for example, in the largest Apple M1 Max (32 GPU cores) achieves 10.6 TFLOP/s of computing power (FP32). Again, a comparison to the current Intel Alder Lake H processors for notebooks: the currently fastest Intel Core i9-12900HK only achieves 2.2 TFLOP/s.
The current Apple M processors are already being manufactured at TSMC using a modern 5 nm process. The current AMD Ryzen processors are also manufactured by the Taiwanese contract manufacturer.
All Apple M series CPUs
Apple M series generation list
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