Apple has finally announced the new Apple M1 Pro, which we thought would be the Apple M1X, and Apple claims it’s the first time anyone has created an SoC design for a pro-level laptop.
It delivers up to 32GB of unified RAM and incredibly fast memory bandwidth, which should make it extremely powerful, especially when combined with the 10-core design.
These new chips should be available soon, though we’re still not sure which laptops will be supported right now. Although, Apple is claiming that the Apple M1 Pro, along with the more powerful Apple M1 Max will be the most powerful chips for pro laptops. We’ll have to put that to the test, but it’s looking promising.
We’ll keep updating this article as we learn more about the two new processors, along with our expert analysis.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Apple’s new pro-level processors, for the MacBook Pro and others.
- How much will it cost? Depends on the laptop
- When is it out? The new MacBook Pro is available for preorders very soon
Apple M1X release date
We used to think Apple would launch just one pro-level M1 processor, called the M1X, but today Apple announced both the Apple M1 Pro and Apple M1 Max at its October hardware event.
The first laptop Apple has announced with these processors is the MacBook Pro. We’re not sure when it will be available, but it should be within the next week or so.
Apple M1X price
Again, the Apple M1X chip won’t be sold on its own, so its price ultimately depends on the price of the MacBook, Mac, or iPad model it is powering.
The M1 chip didn’t bring down the prices of the new iMac, 13-inch MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or Mac Mini models, but it didn’t increase them either. The move to its own in-house silicon is saving Apple money on production costs, so it’s possible that with the Apple M1X, Apple could pass some of those savings on to the customers, but that’s pretty unlikely.
One other thing to consider is that with the Apple M1X, we might see different processor configurations at different price points the way Intel has Core i3, i5, i7, and i9 chips and AMD has its Ryzen 5, 7, and 9. If Apple does something similar, we would see different pricing for MacBooks and Macs depending on the level of M1X chip it has powering it.
Apple M1 specs and performance
Apple made bold claims about the performance of the M1 that were a bit of an overshoot of what we actually found, at least in terms of performance, but the M1 was still surprisingly powerful and its battery life lived up to its billing, thanks to the improved efficiency provided by the ARM design.
With the M1X chip (or chips), we’re expecting a higher level of performance but it’s hard to predict what kind of boost we’re actually going to see. The M1 chip was already built using a 5nm process, and though TSMC is said to be entering into risk production of its 4nm process later this year, with full production beginning sometime next year, whether Apple can do a 4nm process for the M1X chip is an open question and, in all honesty, it probably can’t. At least not with this chip.
Still, Apple has been known to surprise us, so it’s not out of the question to see a 4nm M1X chip later this year or early next.
Apple M1X:-12 Cores.- 8 performance cores.- 4 high efficiency cores.- Coming first on a MacBook Pro 16” unveiling as a press release.- According to a source who used a prototype, “if you think M1 is fast, you haven’t seen M1X”.-Name isn’t final though. pic.twitter.com/tpBhXpDCadNovember 22, 2020
According to known Apple leaker @LeaksApplePro, the Apple M1X is going to feature 12 cores overall, with four efficiency cores and eight performance cores, double the number of performance cores in the M1. That should seriously improve in-app performance, especially on more demanding apps like those used in creative content work like video editing and graphics work.
The integrated eight-core GPU could also see some variety, including higher core counts for the desktop Mac Pro models typically used in multimedia content creation, and further refinement of the new 16-core neural engine for improved AI-related tasks like resource and heat management, security features, improved webcam and streaming experiences, and more.
According to Apple Insider, the new M1X chip could see double the number of GPU cores, from eight to 16, with 16GB of maximum memory, 256 execution units, and the ability to drive up to three displays, an improvement over the M1’s two. The power draw will obviously be greater, 35W TDP, up from the M1’s 15W TDP.
These specs were pulled from CPU Monkey and haven’t been independently verified, so they should be seen more like a projection of what’s possible than what will actually make it to production.
There are also rumors coming from YouTuber Dave2D that the new Apple M1X integrated graphics will be powerful enough to go toe-to-toe with the latest Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 mobile graphics cards, offering up 16-core and 32-core integrated options. This would be fantastic for anyone in a demanding creative field, but also opens up the possibility of using a new MacBook Pro as a gaming laptop.
Regardless of the specifics, we expect that there will be across the board improvements to all of these components with the Apple M1X chip, but until it is announced, specific details about the new silicon will be pretty slim from the usually tight-lipped Apple.