Comparing The M1 MacBook Pro And The Intel MacBook Pro
Comparing the M1 MacBook Pro and the Intel MacBook Pro Apple’s base 13-inch MacBook Pro has been refreshed with an Arm-based Apple chip. This brings significant speed and efficiency improvements. However, Apple still sells the more expensive 13-inch MacBook Pro with Intel inside for hundreds of dollars more.
Is it worth spending the extra money for the 13-inch Intel MacBook Pro, or is it more worth upgrading to Apple Silicon? This guide will help you decide which 13-inch MacBook Pro model is right for you.
Comparison of the M1 MacBook Pro vs. the Intel MacBook Pro:
The M1 MacBook Pro and the Intel MacBook Pro share some features, such as the same 13.3-inch Retina display. They are identical in terms and form factors, but the differences outweigh the similarities.
- 13.3-inch LED-backlit display featuring IPS technology
- Wide Color (P3) & True Tone technology
- Touch Bar and Touch ID
- 720p FaceTime HD camera
- Stereo sound with Dolby Atmos support
- 3.5 mm headphone jack
- Magic Keyboard
- Force Touch Trackpad
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Available in Space Gray and Silver
Apple’s breakdown reveals that both machines share the same chassis design. However, there are some significant differences underneath the hood and in the number of Thunderbolt ports available.
There are differences
MacBook Pro 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro
- Eight-Core Apple M1 chip, with 16-core Neural Engine and eight-core GPU
- Unified memory up to 16GB
- Storage up to 2TB
- Battery life up to 20 hours
- A three-mic array of studio-quality quality with directional beamforming
- 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6
- Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports
- Integrated 58.2-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery
- One external display up to 6K resolution at 60Hz
Intel MacBook Pro 13 inch
- Four-core Intel Core i7 processors with Intel Iris Plus Graphics up to 4 cores
- Memory up to 32GB
- Storage up to 4TB
- Battery life up to 10 hours
- Three-mic array with directional beamforming
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi
- Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports
- Integral 58.0-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery
- A 6K external display at 60Hz with 6016-by-38384 resolution. Up to 2 external 4K displays at 60Hz with 4096-by-2304 Resolution.
Continue reading to see each specification in greater detail. Also, learn how Apple’s first MacBook Pro equipped with an Apple Silicon processor compares to its more expensive Intel sibling.
Apple’s entry-level Intel MacBook Pro is now the M1 MacBook Pro 13 inches. It is almost identical in every way, except for the internals. The M1 MacBook Pro and high-end Intel MacBook Pros that Apple sells still share the same design and layout.
Other than that, there is no external difference between the models. The Thunderbolt3 ports are the only thing that distinguishes them. (More on that later). The weight differences between the models are negligible: 3.0 lb (1.4 kg) for M1 and 3.1 lb (1.4kg) for Intel. Both models are portable, so it doesn’t matter which model you choose.
The M1 MacBook Pro has two Thunderbolt USB C ports, which share one Thunderbolt 3 bus. It is identical to the entry-level Intel MacBook Pro. The high-end Intel MacBook Pro features four Thunderbolt ports, with two on each side. Four ports might be necessary for power users who have multiple Thunderbolt 3 accessories. However, this is less important with the increased availability of Thunderbolt 3 hubs. Most users can get by with two ports, particularly if their Mac is docked at work.
The M1 MacBook Pro can only connect to one external 6K display at 60Hz, including Apple’s Pro Display XDR. The Intel-based entry-level 13 inch MacBook Pro, which it replaces, only supports two 4K displays and one 5K display at 60Hz.
Another point to note is that the M1 MacBook Pro’s USB-C ports are Thunderbolt 3 compatible and conform to the USB4 specification. It is important to note that USB4 is not a technological advancement over Thunderbolt 3 ports but rather an attempt to unify the confusion of USB3 and its generational variants and the multitude of protocols that can be connected via USB-C, such as DisplayPort and HDMI.
Intel also transitioned from a proprietary Thunderbolt protocol paid licensing scheme to an openly licensed industry standard. This is why Apple was able to create its own Thunderbolt 3 controller to support the M1. USB4 can allocate different bandwidths to video and data transfers (up to 40Gb/s), just like Thunderbolt 3. However, despite the name change, there is very little practical difference for end-users.
However, there is one caveat to the M1 MacBook Pro’s connectivity. For whatever reason, the Apple Silicon machine isn’t compatible with external GPUs, including the Blackmagic eGPU that Apple has promoted alongside other Macs, available through the online store. This means that the M1 MacBook must rely on its built-in GPU cores for graphics power. For some, this could prove to be a problem.
The high-end MacBook Pro 13-inch models still use the 10th-generation Intel Core chips. Both standard configurations use a 2.0GHz quad-core processor. This can be modified to a 2.3GHz quad-core Core i7 processor. Both Intel models include Intel Iris Plus graphics.
The 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro, a Mac’s first Mac to get an Apple-designed Arm-based chip instead of an Intel chip, will be the first Mac to update. Apple’s first System on a Chip for Mac is the M1. It includes the processor, GPU, and I/O. These components are separated on the logic board in the Intel MacBook Pro, giving the M1 chip many performance advantages.
The M1 has a unified architecture for memory (or UMA), which unifies high-bandwidth and low-latency memory in a single pool. The M1 chip’s technologies can access the same data and not copy it between different memory pools. This results in a dramatic improvement in performance across the entire system.
The M1 also has an 8-core CPU with an integrated 8 core GPU. There are four high-efficiency cores as well as four high-performance cores. The MacBook Pro uses high-efficiency cores for simple tasks such as browsing the internet or reading emails. However, the high-performance cores are used for more complex tasks such as photo and video editing. The high-efficiency cores consume a tenth of the power of the high-performance cores while still providing the performance Mac users require for daily tasks.
Apple claims that the M1 chip’s processor is up to 2.8x more powerful than the Intel chip in its entry-level MacBook Pro. The GPU speed is 5x faster than the integrated graphics of the former model. That said, Apple hasn’t provided any performance comparisons with the existing high-end Intel MacBook Pro models it still sells. Still, recent Geekbench benchmarks are telling: The M1 chip has a 3.2GHz frequency and earns single-core scores that exceed 1700, and multi-core scores around 7500, which makes it faster than even 2019’s high-end 16-inch MacBook Pro models, which come with 10th-generation Intel Core i7 or i9 chips.
The M1 chip in the entry-level MacBook Pro delivers single-core performance superior to any other Mac. It is more powerful than the Intel-based MacBook Pro models (although it may not match them all in GPU performance). Even when emulating x86 under Rosetta 2, the M1 MacBook Pro is faster than all previously released Macs. These scores do not consider the M1 MacBook Pro’s new Neural Engine, which benefits apps that use machine-learning for audio, video, and photo editing, such as Pixelmator and Final Cut Pro.
Microphones and speakers:
The same stereo speakers are available on both the Intel M1 and Intel M1 13-inch models. They have a high dynamic range and stereo sound and support Dolby Atmos playback. The Intel model features a three-mic array and directional beamforming. Apple calls the M1 mic array “studio-quality” with high signal-to-noise ratios. This could be a problem if you make any video calls.
According to the M1 MacBook Pro, the battery life is twice as long as the Intel model. You read that right. Apple breaks it down like this: The Intel machine offers up to 10 hours of web browsing or up to 10 hours of Apple TV movie playback, while the Apple Silicon machine offers up to 17 hours of web browsing or up to 20 hours of Apple TV movie playback.
Apple’s incredible computational efficiency has allowed it to get twice the usage out of a single battery that is basically the same 58-watt hour lithium-polymer.
Apple Silicon will natively run apps for the iPhone and iPad. This means that you can use many of your favorite iOS apps on the M1 MacBook Pro, although with different degrees of control compatibility. It will depend on how much third-party developers attempt to provide Mac input controls such as keyboard and mouse in their iOS applications. Still, it is expected that the future Catalyst app will support both touch and Mac input.
The Intel MacBook Pro only runs x86 64 code, so none of the above applies to it. Apple’s Rosetta 2 translation layer allows the M1 MacBook Pro to run iOS and x86 64 software. Rosetta 2 can sometimes run apps built with x86 64 faster than those made on Intel Macs.
It’s important to note that Apple views Rosetta 2 as a temporary solution. This is because developers will need to remake existing Intel-based programs so they can run on Arm-based Macs. They will then have to create native apps for Apple Silicon Machines. Apple discontinued support for OG Rosetta 3 years after it was released to ease the transition from PowerPC to Intel processors. This means that if a developer does not update their app, it could become inaccessible on Apple’s M1 computers in the future.
Boot Camp isn’t compatible with Apple Silicon. This means that you can’t use dual boot natively into Microsoft Windows from an M1 MacBook Pro. Apple has made it clear that macOS virtualization software is the only way to run Windows or PC software on a machine-powered Apple Silicon. We are still waiting for major virtualization programs like VMware to update their software to work with Apple’s new chips. Microsoft will also allow Windows for Arm licensing for virtual machines.
Other Mac Options:
Apple Silicon’s 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro notebook is the most advanced currently available. The 13-inch MacBook Air is currently the only M1-powered machine, as well as the Mac mini.
Apple Silicon has yet to transition to the larger 16-inch MacBook Pro. Apple will continue to sell its Intel-based high-end 16-inch MacBook Pros. The more expensive iMac Pro, iMac Pro, and Mac Pro are all Intel-based machines. However, they offer distinct advantages and disadvantages in terms of connectivity and portability compared to MacBook Pro.
The M1 MacBook Pro is the best choice for the majority of buyers. The M1 MacBook Pro is the best option for getting the most out of their Mac notebooks. It also has two Thunderbolt 3 ports. Apple’s latest macOS Big Sur may work on both Intel and M1-powered machines. Still, it’s optimized for Apple Silicon, so you’re also future-proofing your system by buying into Apple’s system architecture for many years to come. The 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro is priced at $1299
However, some customers may prefer to stay with Intel. Pro users who rely on legacy software, or use Windows via Boot Camp on their Macs or virtual machines, should consider buying an Intel-based MacBook Pro until more Apple Silicon options are available and the technology has had time to gain software support. The Intel machine is the best choice if you require four Thunderbolt3 ports, lots of RAM, and more storage or an eGPU. The Intel MacBook Pro 13″ starts at $1799.