Apple’s MacBook Air M1 smashes Windows on ARM in new benchmarks

A benchmark test released on Tuesday shows a huge performance gap between Mac computers powered by Apple’s M1 chip and Windows on ARM machines running the latest 64-bit x86 apps via an official emulator.

Led by PCWorld, the evaluation pits a Microsoft Surface Pro X against the new M1 MacBook Air, two devices that incorporate ARM processors.

As noted by the publication, there are a few valuable ARM-based Windows boxes to choose from as only two chips – Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx and Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 – power the platform. Microsoft’s SQ1 and SQ2 derived processors, designed in collaboration with Qualcomm, are in the Surface Pro X.

PCWorld’s The Windows test bed was based on a first generation SQ1, although any gains derived from the newer SQ2 are believed to be insignificant.

The MacBook Air outperformed the Surface Pro X in both single-score and multiple-score Geekbench 5 tests. Apple’s new laptop scored 1730 points in the single-core process, beating Surface’s score by just over 1000 points. Multi-core testing revealed an even greater disparity, with the MacBook Air scoring 7454 points versus the Surface’s 2734 points.

Maxon’s Cinebench results also gave the M1 a massive lead with single and multi-core scores coming in at 1496 and 6838 respectively, easily beating Surface Pro X’s 371 and 1604.

Moving on to the open-source Handbrake video transcoding tool, MacBook Air finished transcoding a 12-minute 4K video to a 1080p H.265 file six times faster than the Surface.

It should be noted that Microsoft’s 64-bit x86 emulator is still in beta. However, even with a concerted software development effort, Windows on ARM lacks the hardware skills to achieve Apple’s macOS and M1 integration.

The first in an expected line of in-house designed Mac chips, the M1 debuted in November and currently powers the new MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini. The first benchmarks e AppleInsider’s own reviews, revealed incredible processing speeds and extremely high levels of energy efficiency compared to legacy Intel models.

With high-performance chip designs on the horizon, Apple Silicon may soon represent a paradigm shift in personal computing.