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New iMac 2021 with Apple M1 destroys Intel version in new benchmarks

iMac 2021
(Image credit: Apple)

The new iMac Pro 2021 with the Apple M1 chip trounces its Intel-based predecessor, once again showcasing the power of Apple’s in-house silicon.  

New benchmarks popped up on Geekbench 5 revealing that the octa-core M1-based iMac rakes in a single core score of 1,736 and a multi-core score of 7,429. Comparatively, the 21.5-inch iMac with an Intel processor, which the new M1 iMac replaces, scored around 1,200 and 6,400 respectively. 

As such, 9to5Mac reported that the new iMac is 42% to 78% faster in the single-core Geekbench 5 test than its predecessor with Intel Core i3 and Core i7 chips. In multi-core testing the gap between a Core i3 iMac and a M1 iMac is a hefty 128% difference, while up against the Core i7, the M1 chip is a healthy 16% faster. 

The M1 in the new iMac also compared favorably to the latest powerful Intel processors, with the Intel Core i7-10875H in the Razer Blade 15 Advanced delivering a single-core score of 1,287 and a multi-core result of 6,531. 

In short, the iMac 2021 isn’t just offering a slick new design, but also a significant jump in power over its predecessors. That should translate into the whole macOS experience feeling snappier, especially if you have a lot of apps and browser tabs open. But it should also make Apple’s all-in-one computer more capable of handling demanding tasks like photo and video editing. 

And this all serves as a good indicator that Apple is certainly pushing hard with moving away from Intel-based Macs. But there is a minor catch. 

MacRumors reports that the 27-inch iMac with an Intel 10th-generation Comet Lake Core chip will still beat the smaller M1 iMac. That’s not hugely surprising, given Comet Lake CPUs are full-fat desktop processors, whereas the M1 chip is based on mobile CPU architecture and is flexible enough to be fitted into the iPad Pro 2021 as well as larger machines. So powerhouse users who want a macOS machine are currently better off with the 27-inch iMac. 

But that might not be the case for too long, as rumors have suggested that a new 27-inch iMac 2021 is on its way. It’s expected to offer a new design and access to the rumored Apple M2 chip

Speaking of which, the M2 chip is tipped to be built on a 4-nanometer fabrication node, rather than the 5nm process its predecessor uses to deliver more power and efficiency. It’s predicted to have 12 CPU cores, which is for more than the M1, and 16 GPU cores, eight more than the M1. All that should see a hefty boost in processor and graphics performance, potentially making the M2 chip a serious contender against dedicated desktop processors. 

We’re forecasting that such a chip will deliver a solid uptick in performance over the M1 and potentially be used by Apple as a true rival to the best processors from Intel and AMD. 

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer is U.K. Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.