Apple's Mac M1 chip just humiliated the Surface Pro X

MacBook Pro 2020 M1 chip
(Image credit: Apple)

The Apple Silicon M1 chip powering Apple’s latest new MacBook Air M1 and Mac mini models has gotten some well deserved fanfare for boosting the performance of those Macs. But it’s not just macOS that’s benefitting from the Apple-designed chip.

A virtualization test found that Windows 10 on ARM ran much faster on Apple’s Mac M1 chip — which is based on ARM — than on Microsoft's SQ2 ARM CPU in a Surface Pro X.

The test, spotted by Notebookcheck, was conducted by Twitter user and developer Alexander Graf, who took an Insider Preview of Windows 10 ARM that he ran through open source virtualization and machine emulation software QEMU in addition to Apple's Hypervisor framework to bring a Windows setup to life.

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Running Windows 10, the M1 chip hit scores of 1,300 in single-core and a whopping 5,4000 in multi-core using the Geekebench 5 general performance test. That topped the Surface Pro X’s scores of about 800 (single-core) and around 3,000 (multi-core). Though some testers have mentioned there are a few issues with this setup, the majority of Geekbench scores reflect a similar disparity between Windows and Apple here. 

That the M1 is a top-performing chip isn’t a surprise if you’ve seen our MacBook Air review and Mac mini review, not to mention our own MacBook M1 benchmarks. Our testing found that the M1 is a huge leap forward in performance over the Intel chips that previously powered Apple’s computers, and that Apple had good reason to move on to its own silicon. Still, it’s revealing to see the M1 perform so well running another operating system altogether.

And Apple may not be done. Recently word leaked of the M1X, a chip designed for 2021 MacBook Pros that promises 8 performance cores and four high-efficiency cores. The Apple Silicon transition may have just begun, but it sounds like there are plenty of performance gains to come.

Brittany Vincent

Brittany Vincent has been covering video games and tech for over 13 years for publications including Tom's Guide, MTV, Rolling Stone, CNN, Popular Science, Playboy, IGN, GamesRadar, Polygon, Kotaku, Maxim, and more. She's also appeared as a panelist at video game conventions like PAX East and PAX West and has coordinated social media for companies like CNET. When she's not writing or gaming, she's looking for the next great visual novel in the vein of Saya no Uta. You can follow her on Twitter @MolotovCupcake.