Apple’s new release of proprietary silicone, the 5nm M1 Chip, claims “incredible performance” and “revolutionary power efficiency.” Skeptics will say that these giant leaps leave already-battered Mac gamers in danger of being left behind.
With the introduction of Thunderbolt 3 ports on Apple products and only comparatively recent support for eGPUs, there was a golden period where Mac gamers could connect external GPUs and enjoy performance improvements over Intel’s integrated graphics options. However, Apple has made it clear that the M1 Chip will not support external graphics cards, opting instead for their “8-core GPU” built into the M1 Chip. Ouch.
In all reality, the GPU performance of the M1 chip is yet to be determined; however, the system currently maxes out at a total system RAM of 16GB to be shared between all processor components. Apple has partnered the new processor with improved integration into their newest OS, Big Sur. Apple’s website touts that you can now run iPhone and iPad apps directly on Mac with access to “more games to play.”
Apple seems to be hedging their bets and going full-forward with what they believe to be everyday computing needs for the mass market. Improved battery life and performance for Apple’s proprietary apps are attractive, but the move definitely short-changes those with specific needs… like gaming. Time will tell if the new M1 Chip-powered Macs are more than just an overpriced iPad with a keyboard case.