Understanding the four Apple M1 Series processors
The brilliance of Apple silicon is the components of each one are the same*. There are just more or less of them in each type. The Apple M1 Processor Series are truly game changing processors. By the end of 2022 all Intel based Macs should be history and replaced by M Series processors.
The M1 processors are Apple custom ARMv8 processors and based on a TSMC 5nm process.
* Exception is the M1 does not have the ProRes Encode Decode Engines that the M1 Pro, M1 Max and M1 Ultra have.
** If you are browsing this page from a phone, you may want to view the following chart in landscape mode.
|Component||M1||M1 Pro||M1 Max||M1 Ultra|
|Efficiency CPU Cores||4||2||2||4|
|Performance CPU Cores||4||6 or 8||8||16|
|Neural Engine Cores||16||16||16||32|
|GPU Cores||7 or 8||14 or 16||24 or 32||48 or 64|
|Unified Memory||8GB or 16GB||16GB or 32GB||32GB or 64GB||64GB or 128GB|
|Video Decode Engines||1||1||1||2|
|Video Encode Engines||1||1||2||4|
|ProRes Encode-Decode Engines||0||1||2||4|
Assuming a 2 year processor upgrade cycle, by the end of 2023 the M1 Series should be history and fully replaced by the Apple M2 Processor Series in newly released products.
Buying an Apple M1 Series computer
Any Apple M1 Series computer will be a joyful experience compared to music and video production on Intel hardware. If you can squeeze it, try to get at least 16GB of memory and 512GB storage if you select an M1 system. At the other end of the scale, 64 GPU cores and 128GB of memory will probably not make an appreciable difference if you select an M1 Ultra system.
There are 5 basic types of Apple macOS systems with M1 Series processors, 3 desktops and 2 laptops. Prices quoted below are from Apple.
Mac mini desktop
Prices start at $699.00. M1 with 8GB or 16GB memory and 256GB to 2TB storage.
MacBook Air laptop
Prices start at $999.00. M1 with 8GB or 16GB memory and 256GB to 2TB storage.
Prices start at $1299.00. M1 with 8GB or 16GB memory and 256GB to 2TB storage.
Prices start at $1299.00. 13″ – M1 with 8GB or 16GB memory, and 256GB to 2TB storage. Prices start at $1999.00. 14″ – M1 Pro with 16GB or 32GB memory, or M1 Max with 32GB or 64GB memory, and 512GB to 8TB storage. Prices start at $2499.00. 16″ – M1 Pro with 16GB or 32GB memory, or M1 Max with 32GB or 64GB memory, and 512GB to 8TB storage.
Apple related posts
June 26, 2022 – Apple Mac Studio M1 Ultra: Delivered!
March 22, 2022 – Apple M1 is the new DAW performance minimum
March 9, 2022 – Changed MacBook order to Mac Studio M1 Ultra
February 20, 2022 – Finally a MacBook Pro M1 with all the wanted features
Apple related pages
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Studio M1 Max & M1 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Pro M1 Pro & M1 Max
Updated periodically – Apple Mac mini M1
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Air M1
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Air M2
Updated periodically – Apple 24″ iMac M1
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Pro M2 Series
Updated periodically – Apple M1 Processor Series
Updated periodically – Apple M2 Processor Series
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Miscellaneous
Updated periodically – Apple Technology YouTube Critique
Updated periodically – Apple Studio Display
Updated periodically – Apple Studio Pro Display
Updated periodically – Apple M Series External USB-C SSD Options