Tuesday, Feb 09, 2021, 19:48 Mac: Hardware

New Intel Hit Campaign: Intel Claims New Chip Is Superior To M1 In All Respects

Intel has released a new set of benchmarks in an attempt to leave room for only one conclusion in comparing the company's upcoming architecture to the 1st generation Apple M1: Current chips from Apple are inferior to Intel's upcoming chip in every regard (or at least, that's the claim from Intel). According to Intel, performance, battery life, compatibility, and supported programs are all better on Intel's upcoming chip than the Apple M1. Those who raise their eyebrows at this claim, especially after the practical experience of the last 3 months, should take a better look at the nature of the new benchmarks. Intel is currently trying to sell the narrative that Apple products are more suited as expensive luxury accessories than practical facilitators of productivity. According to Intel, those who use their machines for practical purposes and work should head over to Intel. These new claims are in line with recent statements from Intel's new CEO, who referred to Apple as a "lifestyle company".

The M1 According to Intel: Slow & Incompatible
In the new presentation Intel references benchmark tests where the M1 performs below-average (thanks to poor or not yet finished optimization for the M1 on the part of the programs' developers) such as PDF exporting in Microsoft Office, Chrome on Mac (vs. on Windows), and games. Intel then proceeds to claim that Macs aren't suitable for productivity tasks. This conclusion was made after a claim by Intel that 8/23 of the programs chosen for the productivity measurement were said to be "completely incompatible" with M1 Macs (according to Intel, Zoom conferences, switching to Calendar in Outlook, and "Choose Image" in PowerPoint don't work, although the programs work flawlessly...). This misconstruing of reality is used to justify Intel's claim that Apple is no more than a "lifestyle brand" and unsuited for productivity.



Intels Next Claim: Missing Software
Intel lists video and photo editing, streaming, collaborative work, and general productivity as further examples of the M1 chip's inferiority to the new Intel architecture. In the benchmarks run by intel with the new 11th generation i7 with 4 processor cores, the new Intel chip performed 6x better in AI tasks than the M1 running Adobe programs (Premiere, Photoshop, and Lightroom) – a rather surprising result that hadn't been revealed by earlier tests. As if that weren't enough, Intel then proceeds to give the Mac a "0" in the category of "FPS" for gaming by listing several games available on Windows, which aren't available on Mac – choosing to ignore the selection of games that are available for Mac and certainly run at a higher FPS than "0".

Battery Life
Intel then sets their sights on the M1 Macs' battery life and performance, with claims that M1 Macs don't necessarily hold battery any longer than computers with the new Tiger Lake processor from Intel. Earlier tests from Tom's Hardware saw the M1 beating out computers with Intel's Tiger Lake by several hours in terms of battery life. It's not entirely clear how Intel arrived at these results, but they did use a different chip than the one used for the performance benchmarks.

Commentary About Intel's Benchmarks
Intel's definitely correct when it comes to supported applications and games. Windows has always been ahead of Mac in this regard and the M1 Macs' inability to run Bootcamp has only worsened the situation. This deficit is most glaring in the gaming sector, but there is still a lack of some specialized software available for macOS. Whether or not this would be a problem in the everyday life of the user average can't be answered and must be individually determined by their set of needs and desires. It wouldn't make much sense for a gamer to buy a Mac, just as it wouldn't make much sense to buy a brand new PlayStation for video editing, and thus the comparison is somewhat lacking. Much of the data from Intel's recent benchmark is also quite lacking or simply false. Jason Snell from Six Colors had the following to say, "Today’s M1 processor is a low-end chip for low-end systems, so Intel only has a small window to compare itself favorably to these systems before higher-end Apple silicon Macs ship and make its job that much harder." When Apple switches the 16" MacBook Pro to an even more powerful in-house chip, it'll only get harder for Intel – the current M1 chips are "low end" and still hitting the ball out of the park in comparison to most of the competition. One can only imagine what the future and even more powerful chips will be capable of.

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