The advent of Apple Silicon chips has somehow changed our view of Apple computers. The transition from Intel processors to custom solutions has significantly affected the world of MacBooks. Unfortunately, they ran into a number of not-so-pleasant issues between 2016 and 2020, and we’re not far from the truth when we say there were no suitable Apple laptops available back then – not to mention the exception of the 16″ MacBook Pro (2019), but it cost tens of thousands of crowns.
The move to ARM chips started a revolution. While previous MacBooks suffered from overheating due to a poorly chosen (or too thin) design and did not use the full potential of Intel processors. Although they weren’t exactly the worst, they couldn’t deliver optimal performance because they couldn’t be cooled, leading to a reduction in the mentioned performance. Conversely, for Apple Silicon chips, because they are based on a different architecture (ARM), similar issues are a big unknown. These parts offer significantly higher performance with lower consumption. After all, it’s the most important attribute for Apple, and so keynote what keynote boasts is that its solution offers industry-leading performance per watt or the best performance ever in terms of consumption per watt.
MacBook consumption vs. competition
But is it really true? Before looking at the data itself, we need to explain one importance. Although Apple promises superior performance and actually delivers on its promises, it is important to realize that maximum performance is not Apple Silicon’s goal. As mentioned above, the Cupertian giant focuses instead on the best possible power/consumption ratio, which is the reason for the long lifespan of the MacBooks themselves. Let’s shed light on the representatives of the apple from the very beginning. For example, such a MacBook Air with M1 (2020) is equipped with a 49.9 Wh battery and uses a 30 W adapter for charging. On the other hand, we have a 16″ MacBook Pro (2021). It relies on a 100Wh battery paired with a 140W charger. The difference is already quite significant in this regard, but you have to take into account that this model uses a much more powerful chip with higher power consumption. .
If we look at the competition, we won’t see very similar numbers. Let’s start for example with the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4. Although this model comes in four variants – with a 13.5″/15″ Intel/AMD Ryzen processor – it shares the same battery in all cases. Microsoft relies on a 45.8Wh battery paired with a 60W adapter. The ASUS ZenBook 13 OLED UX325EA-KG260T is relatively similar with its 67Wh battery and 65W adapter. Compared to the Air, the two models are quite similar. But we can see the fundamental difference in the charger used – while Air can easily handle 30W, the competition is betting for more, resulting in more power consumption.
In this regard, however, we focused on classic ultrabooks, the main advantages of which are low weight, sufficient performance for work and long battery life. In a way, they are relatively economical. But what about on the other side of the barricade, or with professional work machines? In this regard, in competition with the aforementioned 16″ MacBook Pro, the MSI Creator Z16P series is offered, which is a full-fledged alternative to the Apple laptop. It is based on a powerful 12th generation Intel Core i9 processor and an Nvidia RTX 30XX graphics card. In the best configuration we find the RTX 3080 Ti and in the weakest RTX 3060. Such an assembly is of course already energy-intensive. It is therefore not surprising that the MSI uses a 90Wh battery (paradoxically weaker than the 16″ MBP) and a 240W adapter. So it’s almost twice as powerful as MagSafe on this Mac.
Is Apple the winner in terms of consumption?
At first glance, it may seem that Apple laptops have no competition in this regard and are simply the least demanding in terms of consumption. It should be noted at the outset that the performance of the adapter does not indicate the direct power consumption of the device. This can be explained by a practical example. You can also use a 96W adapter to quickly charge your iPhone, and your phone won’t charge faster than with a 20W charger. The same goes between laptops, and the data we have that way should be taken with a grain of salt.
We must also continue to draw attention to a relatively crucial fact – in fact, we are mixing apples and pears here. It is very important to know the main differences between the two architectures. While ARM is characterized by low power consumption, x86, on the other hand, can deliver significantly higher performance. Likewise, even the best Apple Silicon M1 Ultra chip cannot compare to the current Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 in terms of graphics performance. . But higher performance also requires more consumption.
With that comes another interesting thing. While Macs with Apple Silicon can almost always deliver their full potential to the user, whether they’re currently plugged in or not, that’s not the case with competitors. After disconnecting from the mains, the performance itself may decrease, since the battery itself is “insufficient” for power.