Apple’s M1 MacBook Air Smashes Windows on ARM in New Benchmark

A benchmark test published on Tuesday showed massive performance differences between Mac computers powered by Apple’s M1 chip and running the latest 64-bit x86 apps via an official emulator on ARM machines.

Organized by Computer worldThe evaluation includes a Microsoft Surface Pro X against the new M1 MacBook Air, two devices that incorporate ARM processors.

As noted by the publication, there are precious ARM-based Windows boxes, with only two chips to choose from – Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx and Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 – powers the platform. Microsoft’s derivative SQ1 and SQ2 processors, designed in partnership with Qualcomm, are on the Surface Pro X.

PCWorld’s Windows testing relied on the first generation SQ1, although any advantages derived from the more recent SQ2 are considered insignificant.

The MacBook Air crushed the Surface Pro X in single and multi-score Geekbench 5 testing. Apple’s new laptop scored 1730 points in the single-core process, beating the Surface score by just 1000 points. Multi-core testing revealed an even greater disparity with the MacBook Air’s 7454 issue Surface with 2734 points.

Results from Maxon’s Cinebench also landed the M1 with single and multi-core scores at 1496 and 6838, beating the Surface X’s 371 and 1604, respectively.

Running on the open source video transcoding tool Handbreak, the MacBook Air transcoded a 12-minute 4K video into a 1080p H.265 file six times faster than the Surface.

It should be noted that Microsoft’s 64-bit x86 emulator is still in beta. Still, with a solid software development effort, Windows on ARM lacks hardware chops to catch up with Apple’s MacOS and M1 integration.

The first line of in-house designed Mac chips, the M1 debuted in November and currently powers the new MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro and Mac Mini. Initial benchmark, and Of AppleInsider Own reviews have revealed higher levels of blazing compute speed and power efficiency than legacy Intel models.

With high-performance chip design on the horizon, Apple Silicon may soon represent a paradigm shift in personal computing.


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