Wednesday, Jun 23, 2021, 16:23 Hardware

iMac M1 Impresses With Low Power Consumption & Heat Levels

When the first M1 Macs hit the shelves, critics were amazed – not only was the performance or were the innovations to the ARM architecture (thought to be on its way out) extremely impressive, the energy efficiency of the new chips was also astounding. For example, in the case of the MacBook Pro, Apple promises up to 20 hours of playback with the preinstalled Apple TV application. For owners of an iMac with Apple Silicon, currently Apple's only desktop computer in the M1 lineup, battery time obviously isn't an issue – although critics are still quite impressed with the computer's efficient usage of energy. Barely two months now after the device's release and Apple has released concrete details concerning the matter.

Apple Releases Data: iMac's Energy Usage & Thermal Radiation Levels
When it comes to electronics, there's often concern that a device will become a power guzzler during regular usage – spiking electricity bills. Not only do power guzzlers increase bills – they're also bad for the environment and in the world of global warming and the ever-present climate crisis, more and more customers are starting to modify their purchasing behaviour in an attempt to not be a part of the problem. In the form of a diverse set of support documents, Apple has provided information concerning the energy usage and thermal radiation of most Macs. However, the new 24" iMac with M1 isn't on the list. However, a document on Apple's US English support site does provide some information, with impressive values.

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The iMac with M1: An Energy Conserving Device
When inactive, the iMac with Apple Silicon only needs 43 watts or a little bit less than its predecessor – the 21.5" 2019 iMac with retina display, which needed 47. Although this might not seem all that impressive so far, the difference in energy consumption and thermal radiation between the two devices becomes much more apparent when the CPUs are placed under full load. The iMac M1 consumes almost half the amount of energy as its 2019 predecessor when under full load. In the case of the 7 core GPU M1 variant, 80 watts, in the case of the 8 core variant, 84 watts. For comparison, the 2019 iMac devoured 166 watts under full load.

iMac M1 Emits Little Heat In Comparison
Especially noteworthy is the difference in thermal radiation and heat buildup between the M1 and Intel iMacs. The Intel iMac has a relatively high value during inactivity – 161 BTU/h (BTU = British thermal units), and an even higher value during full load – 568 BTU/h. The iMac M1 does significantly better in this area, 147 BTU/h during inactivity and 274 - 286 BTU/h under full load. In comparison to the power guzzling Mac Pro, all of these values are significantly lower. The Mac Pro uses 902 watts and has an enormously high value of 3076 BTU/h under full load.

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