The Apple M1 and new MacBook Air cut a fine figure in an emulated x86 benchmark
A few days ago, the first Geekbench results showed that the new M1 chip could take on anything that Apple has committed to a MacBook, even the lofty Core i9-9880H. The MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac mini all scored at least 1,650 points in Geekbench 5 single-core and 6,800 points in the corresponding multi-core benchmark, which is impressive considering that we are looking at first-generation hardware. It is worth pointing out that these machines achieved their scores running an ARM version of Geekbench though, limiting comparisons with x86 machines somewhat.
However, someone has now benchmarked the new MacBook Air in an x86 emulated version of Geekbench, presumably using Rosetta 2. The MacBook Air scored 1,313 points on a single-core and 5,888 points on multiple cores, so there will be some emulation-based performance losses for the M1 chip. Based on this result, the M1 may perform up to 21% slower when emulating x86 programs than when it can utilise native ARM-based ones. A similar problem also exists on Windows 10 on ARM when emulating 32-bit programs, though.
Nonetheless, the MacBook Air and its M1 processor still outperform every Intel Mac, including the 27-inch iMac with desktop processors, in the single-core portion of Geekbench 5. Additionally, a score of 5,888 points in the multi-core benchmark leaves the machine around 10% ahead of the 16-inch MacBook Pro with a Core i7-9750H processor and only 4% behind the Core i9-9880H version of the 15-inch MacBook Pro.