Apple MacBook Air powered by M1 SoC outperforms 16-inch MacBook Pro

By Swapnil Mathur | Published on 13-Nov-2020
Apple MacBook Air powered by M1 SoC outperforms 16-inch MacBook Pro

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After months of waiting, Apple Silicon powered Macs have finally been announced and there’s a trio of them for consumers to choose from. Three machines, all with identical base configurations, available at different price points might seem confusing at first, but once you consider the kind of performance you’re getting out of them, you might not care. Early benchmark numbers from the MacBook Air powered by Apple’s M1 silicon seem to outperform the top-of-the-line 16-inch MacBook Pro.

During the ‘One More Thing’ event where Apple unveiled the new chip and corresponding hardware, the company threw some very obscure comparison points, leaving a lot of people to believe that this was nothing more than clever marketing. However, GeekBench 5 numbers of the M1 chip running off of a MacBook Air have popped up, adding serious credibility to many of Apple’s claims. The GeekBench 5 single and multi-core scores for the M1 powered MacBook Air are 1687 and 7433 respectively. In comparison, Apple’s 16-inch MacBook Pro powered by the Intel Core i9-9989HK (8-core chip) and 64GB on-board DDR4 memory scores 1097 and 7014 respectively. Intel has traditionally always been proud of being a leader in single-threaded performance, but it would appear that Apple’s M1 silicon beats it with a large margin. When you take into account that the MacBook Air in question only sports 8GB of memory on-board, then you’ve got something significant to consider.

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Apple’s A-series processors have always led in terms of performance when it came to the mobile side of things, despite significantly lower RAM on board. While Android phones have jumped up to 12GB RAM on their phones, Apple’ iPhone 12 Pro series still limits itself to just 6GB of RAM, with the iPhone 12 still sporting only 4GB memory and still outperforming most Android devices. The Apple iPad has also significantly made headway as a powerful tool for content creators, with the iPad Pro being a favoured device for editing photos and 4K video on the go. We recently reviewed the 8th generation iPad Air with the new A14 processor, which we noted was also capable of editing 8K video in LumaFusion. The iPad Air was also able to edit 45MP RAW files shot from a Canon EOS R5 in Adobe Lightroom with significant ease. We’ve got a video showcasing all of this coming up really soon, so do stay tuned to our YouTube Channel for it.

What might perplex many is how Apple is charging different amounts for money for identical configurations on three different machines, with the MacBook Pro 13” being the most expensive of the lot. The MacBook Air is now completely fanless, meaning that performance under sustained loads might be lower than that delivered by the MacBook Pro and the Mac Mini, given that these two systems come with fans onboard, potentially allowing them to run at their peak clock speeds for longer. You can read all about the pricing, specs and availability of the new Macs in India here.


Swapnil Mathur
Digit's resident camera nerd, (un)official product photographer and the Reviews Editor
Apple MacBook Air MacBook Air Apple Silicon Apple M1 MacBook Pro Apple India

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