KEY POINTS

  • Apple recently launched a MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro and Mac mini with the new M1 chip
  • The company said the new processor allows the devices to overtake their predecessors
  • A test drive of the M1-powered MacBook Air appears to prove that the claim is true

Some might be wondering why they should make the jump from an Intel-powered Mac or MacBook device to one that’s powered by Apple’s new M1 chip. The new processor is reportedly based on the same chip powering the latest iPhone and iPad. Does this mean it’s inferior to Intel’s silicon?

Engadget looked into the matter and took the new M1-powered MacBook Air on a test drive to see if the Cupertino tech giant’s new processor is indeed capable of powering a notebook computer.

To be specific, the site used the MacBook Air that retails for $1,249 and features the chip with an 8-core GPU, 512GB of storage and 16GB of RAM. It didn’t use the base model. Here’s what the tech site found:

It’s powerful

The M1 chip on the new device, the site said, overtakes most Intel and AMD chips in Benchmark scores. It was overtaken by the i7-10875H and Ryzen 9 4900H but only in terms of multi-core scores. That said, it is the king among the chips in single-core scores.

It’s fast

Without a doubt, the new MacBook Air with M1 is fast, the site said. It is very responsive, just like the iPad Pro. It is able to launch apps just as fast as the iPad Pro does. One will also find browsing on the device a pleasurable experience since websites are loaded instantly and scrolling through pages feels “effortless.”

It can run iPhone and iPad apps

As a bonus, the MacBook Air is capable of running iPhone and iPad native apps. These apps, like Safari and GarageBand, run smoothly on the device. Chrome and Slack run smoothly through Rosetta as well.

Interestingly, the device runs emulated Intel apps faster than when these are run through some Windows PCs.

It offers decent gaming performance

The M1 chip with an 8-core GPU “blows away Intel’s integrated graphics,” the site said. It can run Apple Arcade titles such as “The Pathless” at 60fps and can also run “Fortniteat around 60fps with high graphics settings, the site added.

It’s not noisy

The M1 chip enables the MacBook Air to do these things and more without making any fan noise. This is because the chip doesn’t need a fan to cool it while working.

These things, and more, make the new MacBook Air with M1 chip a device worth considering over some Intel-powered computers. And if the MacBook Air is already a powerful device, consumers can expect even more from the higher-end MacBook Pro with an M1 processor.

2020-macbook-air Apple's new MacBook generation is its most powerful yet. Photo: BestBuy