• December 2, 2020

ARMs Race | Microsoft SQ2 vs Apple M1

 ARMs Race | Microsoft SQ2 vs Apple M1

In the realm of ultra-powerful ARM Silicon for mobile computers, Apple and Microsoft can claim they have the two most powerful, but between them which one performs the best? We will examine specs for both Apple’s new M1 and Microsoft’s SQ2 chip.

Apple’s commitment to move all of their Macs to Apple-made Silicon has culminated in the three new Macs announced yesterday, Mac mini, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro powered by Apple’s M1. Apple’s continued innovation with its silicon and is chips are still the ones to beat in the industry.

Microsoft is taking a different approach, the company is developing Windows 10 for both x86 and ARM chips concurrently, which could maintain its dominance in enterprise and gaming but could deprive the oxygen Windows 10 on ARM needs to win over developers and prosumers alike. Perhaps our recent reporting that Windows 10 on ARM is gaining 64-bit legacy app emulation support this month, will help a bit.

M1 vs SQ2

SOCMacBook AirSurface Pro X
Display13″ 2560×1600, 227 PPI13″ 2880×1920, 267 PPI, Multi-Touch, Pen Support
CPU8-core @ ?GHzSQ2 8-Core @ 3.15GHz
GPU7‑core GPU (256GB)

8-core GPU (512GB+) 2.6 TFlops
Microsoft SQ1 Adreno 685 GPU, 2.1 TFlops

Microsoft SQ2 Adreno 690 GPU, 2.1+ TFlops
RAM8GB

16GB
8GB

16GB
Storage256GB

512GB

1TB

2TB
128GB

256GB

512GB
Portsx2 Thunderbolt / USB-C 4 portsx2 USB-C 3.2
CoolingPassivePassive
Size & WeightHeight: 0.16–0.63 inch

Width: 11.97 inches

Depth: 8.36 inches

Weight: 2.8 pounds
Height: 8.2 inch

Width: 11.3 inches

Depth: 0.28 inches

Weight: 1.7 pounds
KeyboardIncluded$139 additional
ColorGold, Silver & Space GrayBlack (SQ1 & SQ2), Platinum (SQ2 only)
Geekbench Best Single core1745802
Geekbench Best Multi core76923153
Starting Price$999$799

Apple’s M1 benchmarks

Apple’s new M1 in the MacBook Air has new benchmarks revealing the massive performance of Apple’s new silicon. Below is a screenshot of Apple’s recent claims that Apple M1 outperforms the “Latest PC laptop chip” but without any specifics on which one. At least when compared to the Surface Pro X Apple’s new M1-powered MacBook Air wipes the floor with it, it’s not even close.

Microsoft SQ2 Benchmarks

qualcomm snapdragon 8cx gen 2 5g performance

The Surface Pro X has something that none of the M1-powered Macs have, LTE. The Surface Pro X has LTE which means that even if you are not near Wi-Fi, you will still be connected. It is likely that the M1 will outperform the SQ2 in the benchmarks because the A14 Bionic in the iPad Air slightly outperforms the SQ2 chip inside the Surface Pro X.

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