Apple M Chip Vs Intel Core | Which Processor is Better?

No doubt, Apple’s transition from Intel Core processors to their custom-designed M series chips marks a significant shift. These chips are tailored specifically for Macbooks and promise better performance, longer battery life, and improved integration with macOS.

But, is the M chip better than Intel in all aspects?

In this article, I’ll try to explain the core differences between Apple’s M series chip and Intel Core processor, and help you to make better decisions as per your needs:

>>> Jump Directly to the Comparison Between the Apple M Chip and Intel Core Processor

Apple M Chip vs intel Core processor

The Apple M Chip (M1, M2 and M3) Overview

In November 2020, Apple announced its first generation of M-series computer chips, a shift from Intel CPUs. They started with an M1 chip and currently live with an M3 chip in the latest Macbook Air 2023.

Apple believes M-series chips could even outclass high-end chips in desktop PCs. Are Apple engineers right about M-series chips surpassing competitors like Intel and AMD, both now and in the future?

Key Benefits of M Series Processors

  1. Performance & Speed:
    • Apple M-series chips offer remarkable performance, delivering faster speeds and smoother multitasking compared to Intel processors.
    • Thanks to their optimized architecture and macOS integration, tasks like video editing, software development, etc run more efficiently, providing a seamless user experience.
  2. Better Power Efficiency:
    • The exceptional power efficiency is another key advantage of Apple’s M-series chips.
    • They are designed to maximize performance while minimizing power consumption, resulting in longer battery life for MacBooks.
  3. Integration with Apple Eco-system:
    • When it comes to syncing data between MacBooks, iPhones, or iPads, or utilizing features like Handoff and Continuity, these new chips perform like no one else.
    • They seamlessly integrate with the broader Apple ecosystem, enhancing user experience across devices.

Potential Downsides

  1. Higher Pricing:
    • Due to factors like brand premium, additional features, or simply the cost of licensing Apple’s technology, M-series chips may come with a higher price tag compared to Intel’s offerings.
    • This higher cost of entry might deter budget-conscious users or those seeking better value for money.
  2. Limited Hardware Customization:
    • Apple’s M-series chips offer limited customization compared to Intel-based systems.
    • Users have fewer options to customize hardware configurations, such as CPU choices, which are fixed in M-series MacBooks.
    • This lack of flexibility is one of the key reasons why many users who are gadget enthusiasts or who want higher computing power move towards tailor-made setups rather than these new Apple chips.
  3. No Aftermarket Upgrade Options:
    • Due to Apple’s closed ecosystem, aftermarket upgrades like RAM or storage expansions are limited or nonexistent in MacBooks with M-series chips.
    • In simple words, If you have a Macbook with an M series processor, then you can’t just upgrade its RAM or SSD.
    • Currently, Apple’s design contains everything integrated into the motherboard, which restricts users from easily upgrading their Macbook to meet changing needs or preferences.
  4. Compatibility:
    • Another downside of M-series chips is compatibility issues with non-Apple software.
    • While many apps are properly optimized for macOS, some may not run smoothly or at all, particularly older or niche applications.

Intel Core Processors (i5, i7 and i9) Overview

Intel processors have long been a cornerstone of computing, known for their versatility, reliability, and widespread compatibility.

Whether it’s for everyday productivity tasks, professional applications, or gaming, Intel processors have established themselves as a trusted and dependable choice for users worldwide.

Key Benefits of Intel Core Processors

  1. Wildly Compatible:
    • Whether it’s popular productivity suites, specialized professional software, or a variety of other peripherals, We all know that Intel processors are widely compatible with a vast array of software and hardware without any compatibility concerns.
  2. Better Customizability:
    • From selecting different CPU models with varying performance levels to choosing motherboard features and expansion cards, users have the freedom to customize their systems to suit their specific requirements and preferences.
    • Basically, unlike Apple’s M series, Intel processors provide users with extensive customizability options and versatility which allows for highly personalized computing experiences tailored to individual needs.
  3. Easy Upgradeability:
    • Another major benefit of Intel-based systems is their upgradeability.
    • Users can easily upgrade components like RAM, storage, and even the CPU itself in many cases, allowing for tailored performance improvements over time.

Potential Downsides

  1. Multitasking Performance:
    • While Intel processors have been in the market for a long time and do offer solid performance, I do experience performance gaps.
    • Depending on the specific tasks and software applications, Intel-based systems might lag in certain scenarios, especially multitasking or intensive computing tasks.
  2. Lower Power Efficiency:
    • One of the key downsides of Intel core processors is they often consume more power and have relatively lower power efficiency as compared to Apple’s M chips.
    • This directly impacts overall energy consumption and leads to shorter battery life in Macbooks.

Comparison Between Apple M Chip and Intel Core Processor

Here I am comparing two subsequent Macbook models and expressing my thoughts when I switched from my Macbook Air 2019 with i7 processor to a Macbook Air 2020 with M1 Chip.

Let’s compare them on different parameters so you can choose the better processor for your needs:

1. Performance

When it comes to performance in terms of speed and multitasking, believe me, previous Macbooks with Intel chips are nowhere near to latest M-series models.

For instance, I tried video rendering and Android application development, very heavy tasks on both systems. I think you already guessed the results.

Intel Core processors do have a solid performance history, but due to the optimized architecture of M-chips and their seamless integration with macOS, they offer you better performance, especially during intensive computing tasks and workloads.

2. Cost

Obviously, Apple’s M-series processors are priced noticeably higher than even the latest similarly specced Intel core processors. but really how much and why?

Apple’s M chip does come with architecture-level improvements which allows it for faster and better parallel computing. Along with this proprietary technology, Apple’s brand premium is also playing its role in the pricing.

If I try to improve the 8GB RAM in my Macbook Air 2019 to 16GB RAM, it will cost me around INR 6000. On the other hand, with Air M1 model, will cost me around INR 18000.

Even though the M-series is offering better performance, premium pricing might discourage budget-conscious users or those seeking better value for money.

3. Power Efficiency

When I started using a MacBook with an M1 chip, I was pleasantly surprised by its exceptional power efficiency and the extended battery life it provided.

Along with the other core improvements, Apple’s new M-chip is able to provide relatively better battery life, because Apple has successfully solved the heating issues to most extent in the latest models.

So, If you’re someone who desires to work for several hours longer without needing to frequently recharge, M-series Macbooks would be the best choice for you.

4. Software Applications Compatibility

Apple’s M-series chips seamlessly integrate with the latest macOS ecosystem and thus are compatible with almost every Apple software and application.

But what about non-Apple software applications, particularly some niche or older apps? There were a few instances where I experienced compatibility issues.

For example: If you’re a game developer who wants to compile your C# code, then Visual Studio Code is going to perform much better with Intel i7 or Intel i9 processors as compared to Apple M1 Chip.

But, most of the applications that I used regularly, including task management software, office suits and my 1 or 2 professional software, are nicely compatible with both processors.


Which Macbook Processor Should You Pick?

In conclusion, with newer and latest versions, Apple’s M-series chips are improving significantly in terms of speed and performance. Moreover, with all the latest MacBook models coming by default with M-chips, users don’t have the option to opt for Intel processors anyway.

That’s why, I am not able to think there is any reason why someone should not pick a MacBook with the latest M-series chip.

However: you can go for a Macbook with an Intel processor only if you’re facing budget constraints or have a specific work requirement. But for most users, the M-series processor is the clear and logical choice for their MacBook.

>>> Checkout the Latest Deals and Offers on Latest M Series Models

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