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MacBook Air M1 benchmarks revealed — and they destroy Windows laptops

New MacBook Air 2020
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has barely had time to reveal its M1 chip and the Apple Silicon MacBook Air before benchmarks for the ARM-based chipset have leaked. 

And they’re pretty impressive. Spotted by MacRumors, the benchmarks are for Geekbench 5 and show how the M1 in the upcoming new MacBook Air can deliver performance that destroys most Intel-powered laptops. 

In the single-core Geekbench test, the MacBook Air with M1 scored 1,687, and it notched a very high 7,433.in the multi-core test. For comparison, the MacBook Pro 13-inch hit 4,399 with its 10th gen Core i5 CPU. That's by no means bad, but it's far outclassed by the M1. 

MacBook Air M1 Geekbench 5 results

LaptopGeekbench 5 score
MacBook Air M17,433
Dell XPS 13 (Core i7-1165G7)5,319
Asus ZenBook Flip S (Core i7-1165G)5,084
MacBook Pro 13-inch (10th gen Intel Core i5)4,399
MacBook Pro 16-inch (9th gen Intel Core i9)7,250

So how does the M1 in the new MacBook Air compare to new Windows laptops running Intel's latest Tiger Lake chips? Very well — in fact, the new Air pummels them.

We are currently testing the new Dell XPS 13 with an 11th Gen Core i7-1165G7, which delivers a Geekbench 5 score of 1,521 in the single-core test and 5,319 for the multi-core result. These are decent scores, but the MacBook Air M1 is way ahead.

The MacBook Air M1 also far outpaces the Asus ZenBook Flip S, which reached 5,084 in the Geekbench multi-core test. It has the same chip as the Dell XPS 13. 

Given the M1 still uses the fundamental base architecture as the A14 Bionic chip found in the iPad Air 2020 and iPhone 12 models, it’s no surprise it’s single-core scores are faster than the A14 Bionic. For example, the iPhone 12 manages 1,595 on the single-core test/

But in multi-core performance the M1 jumps ahead. The iPhone 12’s A14 Bonic managed a score of 3,880 in the multi-core test. That’s hardly surprising given the M1 has an 8-core CPU, while the A14 Bionic has a 6-core CPU. 

This is all good news for people who use MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops for intensive multitasking and use software that can run across multiple CPU cores at once. 

Apple Event

(Image credit: Apple)

However, synthetic benchmarks are one thing; real-world performance is another. And while Apple is making some bold claims about the performance of the M1, we need to test it ourselves across a wide range of tasks.

Moving to use its own ARM-based chips means a shift from x86 architecture to the RISC architecture that supports nearly all the chips found in smartphones. As such, software originally configured to run on x86 architecture needs to be made compatible with RISC.

Apple claims it’s software tools, like Rosetta 2, will allow x86-based apps to run on the new M1 with ease. Again, we'll need to see this for ourselves before we pass judgment on what Cupertino’s engineers have cooked up.

But these early Geekbench 5 results promise impressive performance from the Apple Silicon MacBook Air. And that bodes well for the Apple Silicon MacBook Pro. The Pro has the same M1 chip but comes with a more powerful 8-core GPU and an active cooling system for better sustained performance.

The new MacBook Air will start at $999 and go on sale November 17, with pre-orders live right now. And the MacBook Pro with the M11 chip will go on sale the same day, starting at $1,299; its also ready to pre-order right now. 

  • max2go
    I'm suggesting some grammar, spell checking / proof reading before posting articles: "it’s no surprise it’s single-core scores are faster than the A14 Bionic"
    Reply
  • JTWrenn
    What a dumb headline. The processor is the issue here not the operating system. Destroys Intel laptops fine, but Windows? What's the point of that?
    Reply
  • Eric Gold
    If I'm not mistaken the Dell benchmarks were from the i7 equipped computer but the $999 price is the i3 cpu. Dell offers the i7 variant for $1350 (along with a touch screen.)
    Reply
  • faslane
    Which version of the Air was used? the base model with 8 core and 7 core GPU or the slightly more version with the extra GPU core 8 Core CPU and 8core GPU? Probably won't make a difference with one more GPU core but curious is all. VERY impressive to say the least. Can't wait to get it. Shipping can't come soon enough lol.
    Reply
  • Eric Gold
    faslane said:
    Which version of the Air was used? the base model with 8 core and 7 core GPU or the slightly more version with the extra GPU core 8 Core CPU and 8core GPU? Probably won't make a difference with one more GPU core but curious is all. VERY impressive to say the least. Can't wait to get it. Shipping can't come soon enough lol.
    I'm pretty sure the base model M1 was tested. IIRC they said so; and second, so far as I know that is the only model available today. I ordered the 16 GB version for my wife and have a tentative shipping date a month from now.

    One of the less publicized features of the M1 is really fast RAM swapping (and 60 GB/sec on SOC communication, if you can believe it) so for most every day tasks 8 GB with Mac OS is a lot better than 8 GB in a Windows computer. I'm not really sure that it is worth it to pay $200 for the extra RAM but it is now or never and we keep our Macs for a long time. I just hope that extra 8 GB RAM does not cause much of a hit on the stellar run time.
    Reply