13-inch MacBook Pro – M1 vs Intel CPU: What’s the Difference?

Alongside the M1 MacBook Air, Apple also announced the M1-based 13-inch MacBook Pro. Like the Air refresh, this one too solely focuses on an internal overhaul with no design changes. If you are wondering how the new M1-based 13-inch MacBook Pro is better than the Intel-based 13-inch MacBook Pro, read our comparison below.

Barring the switch to the M1 chip and the improvements that it brings to the table, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro from Apple is exactly the same as the Intel model that it replaces. This means the display still has huge bezels surrounding it and the machine has the same weight and dimensions as the outgoing model.

M1 13-inch MacBook Pro vs Intel 13-inch MacBook Pro Comparison

Dimensions

  • 13-inch MacBook Pro (Intel): 0.61-inch x 11.97-inch x 8.36-inch, 1.4 kg
  • 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro: 0.61-inch x 11.97-inch x 8.36-inch, 1.4 kg

As mentioned earlier, the M1-based 13-inch MacBook Pro has the same dimensions as the Intel-based MacBook Pro. There’s no change in its size or weight despite the internal switch.

Display

  • 13-inch MacBook Pro (Intel): 13.3-inch LED-backlit display, Retina Display, 2560 x 1600, 500 nits, Wide Color, True Tone
  • 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro: 13.3-inch LED-backlit display, Retina Display, 2560 x 1600, 500 nits, Wide Color, True Tone

The M1 and the Intel-based 13-inch MacBook Pro have the same 13.3-inch Retina Display with 500-nit brightness. There’s no difference in the panel here and if you were expecting the new M1-based MacBook Pro to have a display with slimmer bezels, then sadly that’s not the case.

Performance

  • 13-inch MacBook Pro (Intel): 8th gen. quad-core Intel CPUs running at up to 1.7GHz
  • 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro: M1 chip, 8-core CPU, 7-core GPU in the base model, 8-core in high-end, 16-core Neural engine

The M1 Apple chip has an octa-core CPU while the Intel-based 13-inch MacBook Pro had a quad-core CPU. The M1 chip also features an 8-core GPU and a 16-core Neural engine thereby giving it a major performance uplift over Intel CPUs in AI and ML-specific tasks.

Below are some performance claims made by Apple while unveiling the 13-inch MacBook Pro:

  • Build code in Xcode up to 2.8x faster.
  • Render a complex 3D title in Final Cut Pro up to 5.9x faster.
  • Fluidly design intricate game scenes in Unity Editor up to 3.5x faster.
  • Perform ML tasks in Create ML up to 11x faster.
  • Separate out beats, instrumentals, and vocal tracks from a recording in real time in djay Pro AI, thanks to the amazing performance of the Neural Engine.
  • Play back full-quality, 8K ProRes video in DaVinci Resolve without dropping a single frame.
  • Compile four times as much code on a single charge, thanks to the game-changing performance per watt of the M1 chip.

The new M1 chip is miles ahead of any other CPU in the market in terms of power as well as efficiency.

One thing that’s important to note here is that Apple continues to offer the 13-inch MacBook Pro variants with 10th gen Intel CPUs. This indicates that the higher-end 13-inch MacBook Pro might offer better peak performance or just be better in selected scenarios which the M1-based MacBook Pro might not be able to match in its current form.

Connectivity and Ports

  • 13-inch MacBook Pro (Intel): Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.0, 2x USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, 2x Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports

The new M1-based 13-inch MacBook Pro features faster Wi-Fi 6 support. It also comes with USB 4 ports, though the total number still remains a paltry two. One bummer with the new M1 MacBook Pro is that it does not support eGPU which the Intel-based 13-inch MacBook Pro does.

RAM & Storage

  • 13-inch MacBook Pro (Intel): Up to 16GB RAM, Up to 2TB SSD
  • 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro: Up to 16GB RAM, Up to 2TB SSD

The 13-inch Intel-based and the M1 MacBook Pro both come with up to 16GB RAM and up to 2TB storage. The base model on both machines come with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage. The RAM is soldered on both models so one has to upgrade the RAM directly from Apple itself while getting the machine.

Battery Life

  • 13-inch MacBook Pro (Intel): 58.2wH battery, Up to 10 hours of wireless web browsing, Up to 10 hours of Apple TV movie playback
  • 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro: 58.2wH battery, Up to 17 hours of wireless web browsing, Up to 20 hours of Apple TV app movie playback

The M1-based 13-inch MacBook Pro offers 7 hours longer web browsing and double the movie playback time. In terms of battery life, the M1-based 13-inch MacBook Pro is a massive jump over the Intel versions. There is basically no comparison between the two variants here.

Price

  • 13-inch MacBook Pro (Intel): Starts from $1,299
  • 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro: Starts from $1,299

The new 13-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 chip continues to carry the same starting price tag of $1,299. Other than the base model, Apple is also selling another variant for $1,499 which comes with 512GB storage, though the performance on both variants is the same.


If you already have a 13-inch MacBook Pro that you purchased earlier this year, then there’s no reason to upgrade to the M1-based 13-inch MacBook Pro. However, if you are looking for a new 13-inch MacBook Pro, the M1-based variant is a no-brainer.

Related posts

Leave a Comment