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Question What do M1 desktops do with small CPU cores?

Vegasus

Member
Jul 27, 2016
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The M1 chip has big and small CPU cores. In a battery powered device, the small cores are useful for extending battery life when the device isn't doing much, but what do they do in a desktop? Allow the device to be slightly thinner? Save a few pennies per year off the electric bill?
 

TheStu

Moderator<br>Mobile Devices & Gadgets
Moderator
Sep 15, 2004
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In MacOS Big Sur, almost all background tasks are shunted to the Efficiency cores, so when it comes time to do something more serious, the High Performance cores kick in and everything feels faster. The Efficiency cores handle the little stuff, which is valuable from a Quality of Service standpoint, because it makes the rest of the system feel more responsive.
 

Justinus

Platinum Member
Oct 10, 2005
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In MacOS Big Sur, almost all background tasks are shunted to the Efficiency cores, so when it comes time to do something more serious, the High Performance cores kick in and everything feels faster. The Efficiency cores handle the little stuff, which is valuable from a Quality of Service standpoint, because it makes the rest of the system feel more responsive.
But on desktop, they could just have more big cores....
 

TheStu

Moderator<br>Mobile Devices & Gadgets
Moderator
Sep 15, 2004
12,060
42
91
But on desktop, they could just have more big cores....
1: Having the background tasks managed by the efficiency cores means the fans kick on less frequently (beneficial), and more demanding tasks launch quicker and are more responsive (again, beneficial)
2: That will almost certainly happen, but the way M1 was designed doesn't allow for that.
 

Eug

Lifer
Mar 11, 2000
23,125
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But on desktop, they could just have more big cores....
That would imply Apple had chips designed exclusively for desktop Macs, which they never will.
The current rumour for M1X is 8 performance cores and 2 efficiency cores. So, that would mean not only more performance cores, but also less efficiency cores. These would not be exclusive for desktop Macs though as they would be used in MacBook Pros as well.

However, there are other rumours of chips with up to 32 performance cores. The number of efficiency cores is unknown. Such a design would be desktop exclusive, as in specifically for the Mac Pro.

We'll see if these rumours pan out, but they make sense to me.
 

manly

Diamond Member
Jan 25, 2000
9,172
652
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The current rumour for M1X is 8 performance cores and 2 efficiency cores. So, that would mean not only more performance cores, but also less efficiency cores. These would not be exclusive for desktop Macs though as they would be used in MacBook Pros as well.

However, there are other rumours of chips with up to 32 performance cores. The number of efficiency cores is unknown. Such a design would be desktop exclusive, as in specifically for the Mac Pro.

We'll see if these rumours pan out, but they make sense to me.
I'm holding out for an iPhone 30 UberPro Max with 32 performance cores and 8 efficiency cores. :p
 

biostud

Lifer
Feb 27, 2003
15,522
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Having the same hardware available, makes it possible to optimize the OS to a higher degree, than running on different hardware. And no matter what, if the task can be handled by efficiency cores, no reason to use performance cores.
 

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