Intel Braggadocio

Joe Rossignol, writing for MacRumors:

Intel today unveiled new 12th-generation Core processors suitable for laptops, and as part of the announcement, it claimed that the new Core i9 is not only faster than Apple’s M1 Max chip in the 16-inch MacBook Pro, but is the fastest mobile processor ever.

The new Core i9 features a 14-core CPU with six performance cores and eight efficiency cores, while the 10-core M1 Max chip has eight performance cores and two efficiency cores. The high-end Intel chip has a max Turbo Boost frequency of 5.0GHz, but power draw can reach up to 115 watts, which is significantly more power than the M1 Max chip ever uses and not ideal for the thermal envelope of devices like the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.

Intel shared a very basic performance vs. power chart as part of its marketing, with fine print indicating that performance was measured based on compiling binaries with the SPEC CPU 2017 benchmark suite.

If you look at the chart, the Core i9 may well be faster, but it uses way more power than the M1 Max. You could never fit that chip in a design like the new MacBook Pros. This is a chip for big heavy laptops with big loud fans. I’m sure some people like that tradeoff, but folks at Apple will look at these chips and think “Yeah, this is exactly why we divorced Intel.

Thursday, 6 January 2022