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Is Intel i9 better than Apple’s M1?

Can Apple's M1 stand a chance against Intel's i9 platform

Reviewed By: Kevin Pocock

Last Updated on April 24, 2023
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The Intel i9 is a more versatile and overall powerful chip. Thanks to years of experience, Intel has perfected its architecture to work better and more efficiently. Due to those characteristics, we can determine that when pitting the Intel i9 vs the M1, the former is a far more versatile processor than Apple’s option.

However, this is a difficult comparison to make, as the main objective of each brand and chip is different. Besides, both chips are in different stages of development. The M1’s best characteristic is battery enhancement, while the Intel i9 improves over performance. The Intel Core i9 and Apple M1 chips are both high-performance processors, but they have different architectures and are designed for different purposes. It depends on the specific use case and personal preferences as to which one is “better.”

The Intel i9 is a traditional x86 architecture designed for Windows and Linux-based computers, while the M1 is Apple’s custom Arm-based chip designed specifically for MacBook products. The M1 has exceptional performance in tasks that are optimized for it, such as video and photo editing, while the i9 is generally better for more demanding tasks, such as gaming, or running demanding applications like AutoCAD or 3D rendering software.

Intel i9 vs M1: Specs comparison

FeatureM1 MaxM1 Ultrai9-13900Ki9-12900K
CPU Cores10202416
CPU Performance Cores81688
CPU Efficiency Cores24168
Neural Engine Cores1632N/AN/A
Manufacturing Process5nm5nm10nm10nm

The table compares the main features of the Apple M1 Max, M1 Ultra, Intel i9-13900K, and Intel i9-12900K processors. The main differences between the M1 Max and M1 Ultra are in terms of CPU cores, CPU performance cores, CPU efficiency cores, GPU cores, and neural engine cores. The M1 Max has up to 10 CPU cores, 8 CPU performance cores, and 2 CPU efficiency cores, while the M1 Ultra has up to 20 CPU cores, 16 CPU performance cores, and 4 CPU efficiency cores. Additionally, the M1 Max has 24 or 32 GPU cores and 16 neural engine cores, while the M1 Ultra has up to 64 GPU cores and 32 neural engine cores.

In comparison, the Intel i9-13900K and i9-12900K processors have more CPU cores and threads than the M1 Max and Ultra. The i9-13900K has 24 CPU cores and 32 threads, while the i9-12900K has 16 CPU cores and 24 threads. Both have 8 performance cores, with the i9-13900K having 16 efficiency cores and the i9-12900K having 8 efficiency cores. Both processors have a base/boost clock speed of 3.0GHz / 5.8GHz for the i9-13900K and 3.2GHz / 5.1GHz for the i9-12900K. They also have 36MB of cache L3 for the i9-13900K and 30MB of cache L3 for the i9-12900K, and a TDP of 125W.

In summary, the table highlights the key differences between the M1 Max, M1 Ultra, i9-13900K, and i9-12900K processors. Each processor has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the best choice will depend on the specific requirements and workloads of the user.

How fast is M1 compared to i9?

Both processors are fairly speedy. However, in most tests conducted, the i9 processors come out on top. That’s not to say the M1 isn’t speedy – it’s got a clock frequency of 3.2Hz, which should be fine for most tasks. But the i9 processors tend to blow this away.

Is Apple M1 really better than Intel?

When it comes to the question of whether Apple M1 is better than Intel processors, it depends on what you prioritize in a processor. Apple M1 is great for single-threaded tasks, and outperforms some of the more basic Intel processors. However, when compared to the i9 range, the Apple M1 doesn’t quite match up in terms of sheer power and running of more demanding tasks.

What CPU is better than Apple M1?

There’s no doubting the Apple M1 is a great CPU. It’s well-suited to the kind of tasks carried out on a Mac, like photo or video editing. However, there are plenty of other great CPUs which outperform the M1 in many respects. Especially when it comes to complex tasks which require strong multi-threaded performance, or competitive gaming, processors like Intel’s i9 range actually come out on top.

Ryan Epps is a copywriter and content manager for PCGuide. He loves researching the newest PC components and watching underrated anime from the 90s.