MacBook Air with Intel or with M1, which is better? — 2022

Apple has wanted to mark a before and after in its Mac range, taking a step towards independence from third-party companies with the aim of having absolute control of both hardware and software. This is what they have done with the new MacBook Air with the M1 chip, which differs from the MacBook Air that integrates an Intel processor. We tell you their differences below.

Main differences

Something that is important to keep in mind when comparing these two teams is that the differences are inside. On an aesthetic level, the MacBook Air with the M1 chip and the one that includes an Intel processor have hardly any differences. The chassis design is identical as well as the size of the screen or the ports that are integrated. That is why, a priori, both laptops may be difficult to differentiate at first glance, but once you try them and get inside, it is where the big differences begin to be seen.

To give you an idea, we show you the technical differences of each of the computers below.



MacBook Air with Intel processorMacBook Air Silicon
Screen13.3' IPS screen. Resolution 2560 x 160013.3' IPS screen. Resolution 2560 x 1600. Brightness 400 nits. P3 color range.
Processor10th generation Intel Core (i3 or i5)Integrated in M1 chip. 8 core CPU
RAM8 or 16 GB.8 or 16 GB.
Internal storage256 GB / 512 GB / 1 TB / 2 TB256 GB / 512 GB / 1 TB / 2 TB
GPUIntel Iris Plus7-core GPU integrated into the M1 chip
ports2 x Thunderbolt 3 - USBC2 x Thunderbolt 3 - USBC
WiFiWiFi 5WiFi 6
Camera720p resolution720p resolution
BatteryUp to 12 hours of autonomyUp to 18 hours of autonomy
Dimensions304,1 x 212,4 x 4,1-16,1 mm304,1 x 212,4 x 4,1-16,1 mm
Weight1,29 kg1,29 kg
PriceFrom 1199 eurosFrom 1129 euros

The M1 chip far outperforms Intel

As we have previously commented, the main difference between the two computers lies inside, specifically in the processor. Apple has opted to integrate its own processor at the end, the first of them. This processor is integrated into the so-called M1 chip that encompasses different components such as the GPU or the Neural Engine. All designed with a 5nm ARM architecture. This does not happen in the MacBook Air with Intel that integrates a processor from this company, which is totally unrelated to Apple and over which it has no control. The main difference found between both devices is obviously in performance.

The M1 chip has the advantage that it has been developed to work intimately with the software itself, developed by the same company. In this way we find that to carry out some processes, fewer resources are used and therefore they are completed in less time.

To give you an idea, using the Final Cut professional program on an Intel MacBook Air was practically a suicidal idea since I was rarely going to be able to export a project correctly. This no longer occurs in the case of the MacBook Air with M1, which manages to have perfect performance in these cases, since we must bear in mind that it is included in higher-end models.

To make a comparison between both processors, Apple itself reports that the CPU is x3.5 times faster than an Intel. This allows you to process video x3.9 times faster or images x7.1 faster. That is why this means that the power has directly tripled between both models with the simple change of the heart of the equipment. As we have mentioned before, you can use professional programs without causing your computer to suffer too much.

In addition, having the M1 chip integrated will allow you to make use of applications developed for iPhone and iPad on your own computer with macOS. This is obviously something that cannot be done on a MacBook Air that has an Intel processor. The architecture of the M1 chip, being very similar to that of the type A processors that are integrated into the iPhone and iPad, allows this type of use.

From having a fan to having none

One of the great advantages that the M1 chip undoubtedly has is energy efficiency. This, in addition to giving greater autonomy, as we have already mentioned, also allows less heat dissipation. While in the MacBook Air that integrates an Intel processor a fan must be installed in order to dissipate the generated heat, this does not happen in the MacBook Air M1. By giving off less heat, it is not necessary to have any type of fan that moves the air inside the chassis. What is used is a passive cooling system through different copper parts that transfer heat to the ventilation slots.

macbook air ventilation

But what does this difference mean in practice? Obviously, since it does not have any type of cooling, the MacBook Air with M1 chip does not emit any type of noise. This makes working with it much more comfortable since you won't have to suffer from the incessant noise of the fans when you are working with a high-performance application. This is exactly what happens in a MacBook Air with an Intel processor that, being more inefficient, needs active cooling, which means that it gives off more noise with the minimum activity you do.

Autonomy is no longer a problem

It is a reality: the autonomy of the MacBook Air with an Intel processor is not good. Depending on the tasks you do and what you ask the processor for energy, it can take a few hours, not lasting until the full day, which is what users claim. This is due to high power consumption when you need to put pressure on the processor. From Apple they have managed, as we have mentioned before, to reduce the energy consumption of their M1 chip. Specifically, it has been possible to reduce 75% of energy with respect to the Intel processor.

MacBook Air Late 2020

This materializes in that the MacBook Air with Intel chip has a battery life of up to 18 hours in video playback and 15 hours of wireless web browsing. This is counteracted by the Intel-based MacBook Air, which only offers 12 hours of battery life in video playback and 11 hours browsing the Internet. It is clear that the differences are more than clear and in practice it will guarantee that you forget about the charger when you leave home.

Similar aspects

Despite all the changes that we have told you that the Apple M1 version has undergone with respect to the Intel chip version, after all, we are still talking about a MacBook Air. For this reason, between these two models there are still notable similarities in some aspects, and that is exactly what we are going to talk about next.

The design has not changed

We could really say that the MacBook Air has undergone a harsh redesign, yes, but inside, aesthetically, the entry-level computer with the M1 Chip from the Cupertino company maintains and inherits the same design as its predecessor with the Intel chip. Surely this movement, or rather, this non-movement is a strategy of Apple itself to boost the sales of this computer due to the reasonable doubt generated around the new architecture that Apple computers have with the M1 Chip. Thus, by maintaining the same design, the feeling that they want to convey from Cupertino is that really, nothing has changed, although it really has, and very much for the better.

Review MacBook Air M1 Apple Silicon

This can be a positive point for those who already enjoyed the design of the MacBook Air, but negative for users who were asking for a redesign of the thinnest laptop that Apple currently sells, which it seems that users are demanding a more modern design that resembles to what you can find with the 16-inch MacBook Pro where the screen bezels have been reduced from its predecessor.

same ports

Something that many users continue to miss is the absence of ports, especially those who need to connect the different accessories or peripherals with which they use their computer to their Apple laptop on a daily basis. Well, in this sense, Apple continues without giving its arm to twist, and this MacBook Air continues to have two USB-C ports on the left side of the device, and a 3.5 mm jack on the right side. This makes it practically mandatory that all users have to use a Hub to be able to satisfy their needs when connecting peripherals.

Obviously, the absence of ports has a very clear reason and that, the vast majority of users know, and that is that if users want to have a device with the thickness so reduced that the MacBook Air has, there is no other way to do it than reducing the ports it has to a minimum. We have already seen how this movement has been largely varied with the range of MacBook Pro laptops, although it seems unlikely that Apple will do the same with the renewal of this model, since one of the hallmarks of the MacBook Air has always been the thinness of his body.

Let's talk about prices

In order to put the prices of one computer and another into perspective, we have to start from the most basic models. In this way, in its day you could find the MacBook Air with an Intel Core i3 processor, 256GB of SSD and 8GB of RAM for a price of 1199 euros. Let's now go with the most basic option that you can find of the MacBook Air with Apple's M1 Chip, in this case also with 256 GB of SSD and 8GB of RAM, which you can currently buy for 1129 euros, that is, the MacBook Air with M1 Chip more basic that, without a doubt, is far above in terms of performance and power with the basic MacBook Air with an Intel chip, it is even cheaper, something that does not usually happen in Apple devices, since as you can see, in In this case, the Cupertino company has lowered prices.

Which Mac suits you best?

Once all these aspects have been analyzed, and more so with the price difference, it is undoubtedly clear that the winner of this comparison is the MacBook Air with the M1 chip. The fact that Apple has included its own processor has many advantages, starting with the performance, which is obviously much higher to be able to use professional applications without any pressure on the computer. In addition, this adds to the peace of mind that you will have when you use the MacBook Air with M1 chip as it does not have any type of fan that can be activated.

New MacBook Air 2020

And the most important of all. You will have a much better experience paying much less thanks to the M1 chip, which is cheaper as it is designed and manufactured by Apple itself. There really is no color between one device and another if we look at the famous quality / price ratio that is always talked about. Apple has given a good blow on the table, and one of the devices that has benefited the most from the arrival of its own chips is without a doubt the MacBook Air, since with these capabilities it is capable of seducing a much wider audience than before. , as it has the ability to meet higher demands in terms of power and performance. This undoubtedly advances the end of Intel within the Cupertino company to give its own hardware the logical footing.