M1 7 Core Vs 8 Core [Price & Performance]

M1 7 Core Vs 8 Core. A lot of people are wanting to know if the 8 core GPU version of the M1 is worth the extra money. Apple’s M1 processor family was an instant hit the moment it was released due to its ultra high-performance level and stunning power efficiency.

There are several different versions of the M1 processor, and if you are not familiar with how CPUs and computers work in general, it may be difficult for you to know which M1-based Mac is best for you.

When it comes to M1 7 core vs 8 core GPU, there is little-to-no noticeable performance difference in most use cases. The M1 has an extremely powerful CPU mated to either 7 or 8 active graphics cores, depending on its configuration. The graphics cores in the M1 are just as powerful as the M1 CPU, so whether an M1 has 7 or 8 of them is negligible in terms of real-world performance. Unless you need the extra ports or slightly higher performance that the M1 Macbook Pro offers, then the M1 Macbook Air is the better option.

In this article, we will explain the differences in M1 7 Core Vs 8 Core GPU configurations. We will also compare the performance of both configurations to see if there is any noticeable difference.

Apple M1 8-Core GPU 

The Apple M1 GPU is an integrated graphics subsystem built into the Apple M1 CPU and is composed of 8 graphics cores. These 8 cores are extremely powerful, and are far more energy efficient compared to other integrated GPUs.

In fact, the M1 GPU has a peak performance of 2.6 teraflops. This is due to its unified memory architecture and fast access to RAM.

The Apple M1 is produced using a cutting-edge 5nm process at TSMC. This alone offers excellent energy efficiency characteristics, regardless of the chip’s design. The M1 uses about 10 watts under load.

Apple M1 7-Core GPU 

The 7-core CPU variant of the Apple M1 uses the same, powerful graphics processors. In fact, the 8 core and the 7 core chips are the same physical silicon, with a single graphics core disabled. The 7-core version of the M1 offers around 2.3 teraflops.

On paper it’s only a 0.3 teraflop difference in graphical performance. Because of this, the average end-user will notice little-to-no graphics performance difference between the 7-core and 8-core M1 GPUs.

Why Is There A 7-Core Version Of The M1?

While extremely advanced, the process of making a CPU is not perfect. There are always CPUs that do not meet specifications.

When a batch of M1 processors have flaws that can be isolated to a single graphics core, that entire graphics core is disabled so the rest of the chip can be used. 

This practice not only provides the market with lower cost chips that are still extremely useful, but being able to sell those otherwise useless chips also helps to indirectly bring down the price of the fully operational M1 SoCs.

How Powerful Is The M1?

The Apple M1 with the 8-core GPU scored the record highest score in the SoC category on AnTuTu. In the tests, the Apple M1 CPU scored 282265. The M1 got 189921 in the MEM test and 108113 in the UX test. The GPU, on the other hand, scored a mind-boggling 538944, which brought the overall AnTuTu Benchmark score to 1119243.

AnTuTu is by no means the only place where the Apple M1 does well. In 3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited, the 8-core variant of the Apple M1 scored 280200 points. When tested in Cinebench R15, the 8-core and 7-core versions got the same 90 frames per second.

In GFXBench, both versions of the Apple M1 were able to run the Manhatten and Aztec Ruins test with very similar performance. Both the 8-core GPU and 7-core GPU version of the Apple M1 were able to hit almost exactly 60fps for the Manhatten test.

When it came to running the Aztec Ruins test, however, the 8-core M1 did a little better at 79.1fps compared to 72.4fps for its 7-core counterpart.

M1 7 Core Vs 8 Core

The 2020 Macbook air uses the 7 core version of the M1, while the 2020 Macbook Pro uses the 8-core version. There is a 300 dollar price difference, but if performance is all you care about, you may find that the 300 dollar price difference is not worth it.

2020 M1 Macbook Air8 Core7 Core13″ Retina256GB2.3 Teraflops$999
2020 M1 Macbook Pro8 Core8 Core13″ Retina512GB 2.6 Teraflops$1299

As you can see from the table above, if performance is the most important thing to you, then it makes a lot more sense to go with the 2020 M1 Macbook Air.

Macbook Air M1 7-Core GPU – $999

The 2020 Apple MacBook Air has an Apple M1 Chip with 8 CPU cores and 7 GPU cores, a 13” Retina Display, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD Storage. Remember, in the 7-core M1, only a single GPU is disabled. All 8 CPU cores are fully functional.

This means that in terms of CPU horsepower, the 7 core version of the M1 is going to be just as fast.

When it comes to graphics horsepower, it only has 12.5% less GPU cores. The GPU cores in the M1 are powerful enough that if you have 7 of them, they will still provide an excellent user experience.

Macbook Pro M1 8-Core GPU – $1299

The 2020 Apple MacBook Pro has an Apple M1 Chip with 8 CPU cores and 8 GPU cores, a 13” Retina Display, 8GB RAM, and 512GB SSD Storage. Its slightly thicker and slightly heavier than the Macbook air, and unlike the Macbook air, the Macbook Pro requires a fan.

With that being said, having access to the full 8 GPU cores on the Macbook Pro provides a raw computational power of 2.6 teraflops compared to the 7 core M1’s 2.3 teraflops.

Also, the Macbook pro has a larger battery and more ports than the Macbook Air. So, if those things are important to you, the Macbook Pro is the way to go.

Is M1 better Than i7?

Yes. Clock for clock, watt for watt, and dollar for dollar, the Apple M1 is better than an Intel Core i7. While there are many Apple-specific innovates in the M1, the real star of the show is the use of the ARM instruction set.

What Is ARM, What Is An Instruction Set? 

An instruction set is basically a set of base-level calculations that a processor can make. All further complicated calculations and operations are a combination of those base instructions. As of the time of this writing, most traditional PCs that you come into contact with are based on the x86 instruction set. 

The x86 instruction set dates back to the Intel 8086 microprocessor. Each subsequent update to the x86 instruction set placed heavy emphasis on backwards compatibility with all previous generation x86 processors. 

While this has provided a great deal of stability and has allowed the computer industry to flourish and become what it is today, maintaining support for older hardware is starting to become a hindrance.

Enter The ARM Instruction Set

The ARM instruction set is the newer alternative to Intel’s x86. ARM is, by design, more efficient than x86 and updates to the ARM instruction set do not place such a heavy emphasis on maintaining backwards compatibility. 

Because of this, an ARM based processor will always be able to do much more work per unit of power than an x86 chip with the same clock speed and core configuration. 

Is 7-Core Or 8-Core Better?

Technically, the M1 with the full 8-core GPU will provide slightly better performance. In reality, however, the performance difference between the 8-core and 7-core GPU is hard to notice.

M1 7 Core Vs 8 Core – Cooling Differences

8 active GPUs will produce more heat than 7 active GPUs. This obvious fact lead Apple to provide 8 core GPU M1s with more robust cooling systems.

For example, the M1 version of the Macbook Air requires no fan, but the M1 version of the Macbook Pro does. In another example, the cooling system of the base-level M1 iMac only has one fan, while the more expensive iMac that has all 8 GPU cores enabled has two fans.

Both setups have their pros and cons. The systems that don’t have fans will obviously run quieter. In fact, a fanless computer with a solid state drive is completely silent. While a system with a fan will be a tiny bit louder, it will run a lot cooler than the passively cooled (fanless) system.

This can lead to M1 systems that have better cooling to turn out to be more reliable than M1 systems without a fan or with less fans. The jury is still out on this one, as M1 systems are not old enough yet to begin to fail.

Does M1 Need An 8 Core GPU?

There is almost no difference in real-world performance between the 7-core and 8 graphics core M1 processors. There is, however, a catch. Apple generally only pairs larger storage options with the more expensive processor options.

So, if 256 GB of storage is enough for you, then you should go with the lower cost systems that feature M1 processors with 7-core GPUs. If, on the other hand, you need 512 GB of space, it makes a lot more sense to get the more expensive Mac with the 8-core GPU as it’s going to be the only option that has the largest storage.

Is M1 Really Faster Than Intel?

Yes. Before Apple introduced the M1, they used intel chips. Because they were using Intel’s chips, Apple also had to use separate chips for the CPU, GPU, I/O, security, and storage subsystems. With the M1, Apple has integrated all of those chips into a single, powerful, power-efficient package.

What Is A GPU, What Does A GPU Do?

The GPU, or graphics processing unit, is a hardware accelerated computing component that is specifically engineered to perform graphics-oriented calculations in a highly parallel fashion.

The GPU in the Apple M1 is highly integrated with the rest of the SoC (System on Chip). In an Apple M1, the GPU and other chipset components are not discreet chips, but instead are fully integrated into the same piece of silicon.

Why Unified Memory Is Important

This level of interconnection is unprecedented in the desktop and laptop market, and its one of the core reasons why the M1 is so powerful. In the M1, the CPU and the GPU has access to the same unified block of system memory.

In contrast, x86-based systems require two separate memory pools for system memory and video memory. This arrangement makes it so there is quite a bit of processing overhead due to the fact that data has to be sent back and forth so often between the graphics memory and system memory.

The M1’s unified memory architecture totally sidesteps this problem, resulting in a much more powerful and much more efficient graphics subsystem.

Is The M1 GPU Fast? 

Yes. Whether you have an M1 with a 7 core or 8 core GPU, it’s going to perform well. In the case of the 7 core vs 8 core M1 GPU, we can take a look at some benchmarks to make a clear performance comparison.

In Video decoding tests, both the 7-core and 8-core GPU variants of the M1 can play 8K video at 30fps. As you would expect, CPU load while playing 8k video on an M1 is about 60% and it uses about 6 and a half gigs of RAM to do so. 

Considering the fact that 8k video is not even a thing yet and there are no M1 powered macs that even come with 8k displays, we would say that being able to play 8k video at all, let alone so smoothly, is a performance testament in itself.

When it comes to real-world performance, such as playing 4k 60FPS video, both the 7 core and 8 core version of the M1 do a phenomenal job. Neither version of the M1 CPU will have any trouble keeping up with high framerate 4k video.


As it turns out, any version of the M1 you get it going to be a powerful processor that can provide an excellent user experience. Because there are different versions of the M1, it can be confusing for someone without a technical background to understand the differences.

The debate of M1 7 core vs 8 core GPU comes down to what storage and cooling configurations you want. There is little-to-no noticeable performance difference between the two versions of the M1 SoC, but there are better storage and cooling options for the Macs based on the 8-core CPU M1. Macs based on the 8 core version of the M1 have a more robust cooling system and have larger storage options compared to 7 core Macs. 

We hope this article helped you gain a better understanding of M1 7 Core Vs 8 Core and what that means in terms of performance and user experience. Thanks for reading!