Apple M1 vs. Intel i7: Everything you should know

By Connie | Posted to Home > News on September 28th, 2021

Are you confused about purchasing an Apple Silicon Mac or an Intel-based Mac? Have you ever compared the two processors? With Apple's transition to M1 chip, it is necessary to do an Apple M1 vs. Intel i7 analysis.

Apple M1 vs. Intel i7

What are Apple M1 and Intel i7?

Apple Silicon M1 chip and Intel Core i7 chip both are processors mainly used on computers. But the two processors are different. They use different technology and show distinct performance on your computer.

About Apple M1 chip

Released in late 2020, the M1 chip is the first Apple-designed System on a Chip (SoC) for Mac computers. Unlike Apple T2 chip, the M1 chip is a symbol that Apple begins to transmit from the Intel chips to their own ARM-based Silicon chip.

This new chip combines the features of Intel chips used on the previous Mac devices and brings an enhanced performance. Now, it has been used on iMac (24-inch, 2021), MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020), MacBook Air (2020), Mac mini (2020), etc.

About Intel Core i7 chip

Intel Core i7 is a line of computer processors developed by Intel company and used for high-end desktop and laptop computers and tablets.

The first i7 processors were rolled out in late 2008, and since then, they continue to be published. Up to now, there has 11th Generation Intel Core i7 processors.

Apple M1 vs. Intel i7: which processor is better?

It is testified that Apple M1 and Intel i7 have differences in performance, speed, battery life, software compatibility.

M1 chip vs. Intel i7 on performance

It is claimed that the Apple M1 chip benchmark results in higher performance when compared to Intel. In fact, benchmarks don’t mean everything. The two processors both have high performance.

Apple M1 chip is designed with four high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores. Each high-performance core can promote proceeding single-threaded tasks. And the four cores together also boost multithreaded performance.

Apple M1 chip 8-core CPU
Source: From Apple

The 11th generation Core i7 shows advanced content creation and productivity performance in media-editing and media-creation tasks. Besides, the Intel i7 is more suitable for gaming.

Apple M1 vs. Intel i7 on Graphics

The M1 chip features eight cores enabling the GPU to deal with complicated tasks easily. With Integrated Graphics, whether you play multiple 4K videos or render complex 3D scenes, the M1 chip can support that.

Intel i7 can support Multi-4K display too. But from AppStudio's conclusion, the GPU frequency of the Intel i7 is lower than that of the Apple M1 chip. It indicates that the M1 chip performs faster in running and process data.

Apple M1 vs. Intel i7 on software compatibility

In terms of software compatibility, the M1 chip is less impressive.

The M1chip is based on ARM architecture (ARM64). But most of the apps are Intel (x86-64). So, to run these apps on an M1-based Mac, an emulator or software-translation layer is required. That’s why Apple introduced the translator called Rosetta 2.

But the M1 chip is still inferior to the Intel I7, which is already compatible with Intel (x86-64) applications.

Apple M1 vs. Intel i7 on battery life

Apple claims that the M1 chip makes battery life up to 2x longer than previous-generation Macs. It is true.

The low-power media encode and decode engines of the M1 chip bring extended battery life. It is tested that the latest M1 laptop has an 18hr battery life. But in the same brightness, for Intel-based computers, the average battery life is around 10hr.

Our suggestions:

It's a trend to use an M1 Mac as Apple has transmitted from Intel chips to their self-designed M1 chip. In general, the M1 chip with the top-leading 8-core CPU shows high performance and battery life.

However, if you get used to using an Intel-based computer, it is also okay. Intel i7 also makes unprecedented upgrades, bringing advanced media-editing and media-creation performance.