This leak says that the M1X is set to come with 12 CPU cores, featuring eight high-performance ‘Firestorm’ cores and four efficient ‘Ice Storm’ cores.
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Compare that to the original M1 chip, which only had eight cores in total, evenly split with four performance and efficient cores. It’s a significant upgrade on processing alone, but leaked benchmarks from a “pre-sample” also suggest that the M1X will also come with a 16-core GPU with 256 execution units. That's double the 128 units found in the current M1.
The M1 chip has already blown away the competition, and our own testing shows that it has embarrassingly superior performance to older MacBooks that are powered by Intel chips. If Apple is able to utilize the M1X’s extra hardware in the same way then we’re going to end up with one ridiculously powerful chip on our hands.
Obviously, more powerful chips need more actual power to run. But considering how much better the M1 MacBook Pro’s battery life is than comparable Intel models, we shouldn’t have much to worry about. A suitably large enough battery with enough chip optimizations means an M1X MacBook should last a while.
The M1X is supposed to debut as part of the new MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021, which is expected to arrive later this year. Strangely, current word of mouth claims that Apple will be announcing the new machine with as little fanfare as possible — with a simple press release and no flashy launch event.
The new M1X chip could also find its way into the new MacBook 14-inch 2021, though that's not confirmed. This MacBook is rumored to offer a new mini-LED display as well.
Tech companies love to brag, and Apple is no exception. So if the M1X chip really is this much more powerful than the original M1, you’d have thought Tim Cook and friends would want to tell everyone about it themselves.
Then again, the M1X isn’t the only chip in the works. Rumors have cropped up claiming Apple is working on a 32-core CPU (opens in new tab) for Mac Pros and 32-core GPUs (opens in new tab) for higher-end MacBooks. So the M1X may just be a stopgap between the M1 and a considerably more powerful M2 chip.
Whatever happens, it’s clear Apple has big plans to expand its chip-making efforts and continue to dominate the competition.