MacBook Air M1 vs MacBook Air Intel: Technical Differences

Apple has wanted to mark a before and after in its Mac range, taking a step towards independence from third-party companies with the aim of having absolute control of both hardware and software. This is what they have done with the new MacBook Air with an M1 chip that differs from the MacBook Air that integrate an Intel processor. We tell you about their differences below.

The differences are on the inside

Something that is important to take into account when comparing these two teams is that the differences are within them. At the aesthetic level, the MacBook Air with an M1 chip and the one that includes an Intel processor have hardly any differences. The design of the chassis is identical as well as the size of the screen or the ports that are integrated. That is why a priori both laptops may be difficult to differentiate with the naked eye but once you test them and get inside it is where the big differences begin to be seen.

MacBook Air M1 vs MacBook Air Intel

To give you an idea, we show you the technical differences of each of the computers below.

MacBook Air with Intel processor MacBook Air Silicon
screen 13.3 “IPS screen. 2560 x 1600 resolution 13.3 “IPS screen. 2560 x 1600 resolution. 400 nits brightness. P3 color gamut.
Processor 10th Gen Intel Core (i3 or i5) Integrated in M1 chip. 8-core CPU
RAM 8 or 16 GB. 8 or 16 GB.
Internal storage 256GB / 512GB / 1TB / 2TB 256GB / 512GB / 1TB / 2TB
GPU Intel Iris Plus 7-core GPU integrated into the M1 chip
Ports 2 x Thunderbolt 3 – USBC 2 x Thunderbolt 3 – USBC
Wifi WiFi 5 WiFi 6
Camera 720p resolution 720p resolution
Drums Up to 12 hours of autonomy Up to 18 hours of autonomy
Dimensions 304.1 x 212.4 x 4.1-16.1 mm 304.1 x 212.4 x 4.1-16.1 mm
Weight 1.29 kg 1.29 kg
Price From 1199 euros From 1129 euros

M1 chip far outperforms Intel

As we have previously commented, the main difference between the two computers resides inside them, specifically in the processor. Apple has opted to integrate its own processor at the end, the first of them. This processor is integrated into the so-called M1 chip that encompasses different components such as the GPU or the Neural Engine. All designed with a 5nm ARM architecture. This does not happen in the MacBook Air with Intel that integrate a processor of this company, which is totally alien to Apple and over which it has no control. The main difference between the two devices is obviously in performance.

The M1 chip has the advantage that it has been developed to work closely with the software itself, developed by the same company. In this way we find that to carry out some processes less resources are used and that therefore they are completed in a shorter time.

To give you an idea, using the professional Final Cut program on an Intel MacBook Air was practically a suicidal idea since I was rarely going to be able to export a project correctly. This no longer happens in the case of MacBook Air with M1, which manages to have perfect performance in these cases since we must bear in mind that it is included in higher-end models.

To make a comparison between both processors, Apple itself reports that the CPU is x3.5 times faster than an Intel. This allows you to process video x3.9 times faster or images x7.1 faster. That is why this makes the power directly tripled between both models with the simple change of the heart of the equipment. As we have commented previously, you can use professional programs without causing the computer to suffer too much.

In addition, having the M1 chip integrated will allow you to use applications developed for iPhone and iPad on your own computer with macOS. This is obviously something that cannot be done on a MacBook Air that features an Intel processor. The architecture of the M1 chip, being very similar to that of the type A processors that are integrated in iPhone and iPad, allows this type of use.

From having a fan to having none

One of the great advantages that the M1 chip undoubtedly has is energy efficiency. This in addition to giving greater autonomy as we have already mentioned, also allows less heat dissipation. While in the MacBook Air that integrates an Intel processor, a fan must be installed to dissipate the heat generated, this does not happen in the MacBook Air M1. By releasing less heat it is not necessary to have any type of fan that displaces the air inside the chassis. What is used is a passive cooling system through different copper parts that transfer the heat to the ventilation slits.

ventilación macbook air

But what does this difference imply in practice? Obviously, since it does not have any type of cooling, the MacBook Air with M1 chip does not give off any type of noise. This makes working with it much more comfortable since you will not have to suffer the incessant sound of the fans when you are working with some high performance application. This is exactly what happens in a MacBook Air with an Intel processor that, being more inefficient, requires active cooling, which means that it emits more noise with the minimum activity you do.

Autonomy is no longer a problem

It is a reality: the autonomy of the MacBook Air with an Intel processor is not good. Depending on the tasks you do and what you ask the processor energetically, it can reach a few hours, not extending to the full day, which is what users demand. This is due to high power consumption when you need to put pressure on the processor. From Apple they have managed, as we have commented previously, to reduce the energy consumption of their M1 chip. Specifically, it has been possible to reduce 75% of energy with respect to the Intel processor.

MacBook Air finales 2020

This means that the Intel-chip MacBook Air has a range of up to 18 hours of video playback and 15 hours of wireless web browsing. This is counteracted in the MacBook Air with an Intel processor that only offers 12 hours of autonomy in video playback and 11 hours of surfing the Internet. It is clear that the differences are more than clear and in practice it will guarantee that you forget about the charger when you leave home.

Which Mac is best for you?

After analyzing all these aspects, and more with the difference in price, it is undoubtedly clear that the winner of this comparison is the MacBook Air with an M1 chip. The fact that Apple has included its own processor has many advantages, starting with the performance that is obviously much higher to be able to use professional applications without any pressure on the computer. In addition, this adds to the peace of mind that you will have when using the MacBook Air with an M1 chip by not having any type of fan that can be activated.

Nuevo MacBook Air 2020

And the most important of all. You will have a much better experience paying much less thanks to the M1 chip that is cheaper as it is designed and manufactured by Apple itself. This undoubtedly advances the end of Intel within the Cupertino company to give the logical footing to its own hardware.

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