Apple’s departure from the usage of Intel-based CPUs came as something of a shock following years of successful x86-64 laptops and desktops. The proprietary M1 has instead come out swinging full force and has made quite the splash. The M1 is here to stay for the foreseeable future, and future iterations like the M2 are only going to build and refine the architecture.
Intel has been a staple of computing for decades, and its i5-13600KF presents a great medium between performance and affordability. Some of the praise for the i5 has been wiped away in light of more cost-effective CPUs from Intel and AMD, namely the i7 and Ryzen 7 series. However, those looking into purchasing a new laptop or desktop might be running into the question of how the i5 stacks up against the M1.
There is a multitude of key differences between the two CPUs, which are the subject of this guide. Let’s take a look at six of these differences and determine which CPU is best for your next purchase.
Apple M1 vs Intel i5-13600KF: Side-By-Side Comparison
|Apple M1||Intel i5-13600KF|
|Clock Speed||3.2 GHz||3.5 GHz|
|Maximum Amount of RAM||16 GB||128 GB|
|TDP||15 Watts||125 Watts|
Apple M1 vs Intel i5-13600KF: What’s the Difference?
The Apple M1 and Intel i5-13600KF are fairly disparate processors despite occupying similar niches for desktop usage. There are six key differences that separate the Apple M1 from other processors, including the Intel i5-13600KF, which are as follows:
Apple M1 Differences
- Proprietary architecture based on RISC chipset.
- CPU integrated as a system-on-a-chip or SoC.
- Uses proprietary RAM instead of standard DDR4 or DDR5 formats.
- Has an integrated GPU intended for video processing and gaming purposes.
- Much lower thermal draw than conventional CPUs.
- Uses far less power under heavy load than x86-64 CPUs.
The Apple M1 isn’t a monolithic chip, meaning there is no separate component you go out and install in your computer to obtain the CPU. Instead, the CPU is installed in a variety of Apple products on the market like the Macbook Air, Mac Mini, iPad Air, and iPad Pro.
There are some distinct advantages, of course, to having purpose-built hardware intended for a specific platform. Chief among these benefits is compatibility. Programs and other utilities are drawing from the same small pool of computer specifications rather than having to optimize around a variety of builds and differing components.
The M1 isn’t a powerhouse when it comes to gaming, let that be said. Mac-compatible games are plentiful on platforms like Steam, Epic, and GoG. But there isn’t an overwhelming sense of the platform being oriented or capable of running technically demanding titles like Doom Eternal and the like.
Instead, the M1 shines in areas more aimed toward productivity and overall workflow. For video processing and image editing it excels, and the CPU proves more than skillful at handling the oft-nebulous realm that is audio post-production.
Legacy Compatibility and New Age Chipsets
Virtualization handles legacy compatibility for the M1, using a technology Apple has called Rosetta to run x86-64 compatible applications from the last decade or so of 64-bit compatible Macs. This feature is intended as a stopgap rather than a compatibility layer and Apple does seek to sunset Rosetta at a later date.
For professionals in the creative fields, office workers, and those just looking for a stable and quick machine, the M1 is a great choice. What it lacks in a variety of builds it gains in being a fully integrated system. SoCs aren’t an uncommon thing in computing.
Most smartphones and tablets over the last fifteen years have utilized SoC to deliver performance and low thermals. The major benefit of the SoC is that there is far less distance between the various layers of the machine, meaning it can access the RAM, storage, audio processor, and graphics processor rapidly. It lacks the sheer overwhelming power of an i5 or i7, but for many purposes, it can prove to be a superior processor.
The Apple M1 is certainly a more than capable CPU, but it is tied exclusively to Apple hardware. Prospective customers can’t build a machine around the M1, rather they’ll be purchasing an Apple computer of some sort.
One other factor to consider is program compatibility. The M1 is still relatively new on the market, and the switch to a new architecture and instruction set has left many developers in a lurch as far as providing ample support and native compatibility. If there are certain applications or programs you can’t do without for the sake of work or school, it might not be worth the switch just yet.
- 14 cores (6 P-cores + 8 E-cores) and 20 threads
- Performance hybrid architecture integrates two core microarchitectures, prioritizing and distributing workloads to optimize performance
- Up to 5.1 GHz unlocked. 24M Cache
- Compatible with Intel 600 series and 700 series chipset-based motherboards
- Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0, and PCIe 5.0 & 4.0 support. Intel Optane Memory support. No thermal solution included. Discrete graphics required
The 13th generation i5 boasts some stellar improvements over its forebears. The core count has been upped to 14 physical cores, with 6 acting as performance cores and another 8 acting as efficient cores. 20 logical threads mean the i5 can soar under the right conditions and the CPU certainly lends itself well to a variety of tasks where parallel processing can benefit from a greater pool of dedicated RAM.
Nothing is out of the ordinary for the 13600KF. Intel isn’t seeking to reinvent the wheel with the latest CPU, and it remains a steady performer in its particular price range. The i5 excels in a variety of tasks, proving to be a great choice for mid-range gaming.
Multi-threaded applications benefit from the increased thread count, allowing users to greatly leverage the power and cores to accomplish their tasks. Where it has some detriments is just being a processor. There are certainly pre-built machines using the CPU, but DIY users will have to choose their own components to take advantage of everything the i5 has to offer.
That aside, for the price, the Intel i5-13600KF is a solid performer and one which could easily serve a desktop user for years to come. While it perhaps lacks the immediacy of the Apple M1 when it comes to loading certain applications, it makes up for it in sheer power.
The i5 and its siblings are built exclusively for desktop use. There are different variants of the i5 aside from the 13600KF intended for mobile and laptop usage.
The i5-13600KF is well-suited for a variety of tasks. It isn’t an ideal pick for running a server but does the job quite well in a pinch. It won’t handle massive amounts of throughput, but could very easily handle the workload in a smaller office.
While gaming, it does just fine; most users aren’t going to notice a bottleneck unless they’re using an underpowered GPU. Testing and benchmarking done with the i5 acquit it nicely with a variety of games. This extends out to popular titles like Modern Warfare 2, Fortnite, and Elden Ring.
The i5-13600KF is a mid-range CPU and as such works well in that sort of workflow. It can certainly benefit from large pools of RAM and fast storage.
Overclocking is certainly possible, as the i5-13600KF is capable of this in the UEFI settings. It was sufficiently fast in the base clock configuration for most workloads tossed at it, but for those looking to eke out every last bit of performance, it can certainly go beyond its modest limits.
Thermal draw power is a chief concern with the i5, and it is far hungrier than the M1. Most CPUs for desktop usage run hotter, that’s just a simple fact of life for monolithic CPUs like this. Another consideration is that while the cost difference between the two models is quite different, the M1 does present itself in a fully configured machine.
Potential customers of the i5 are going to have to source out their own motherboard, power supply, RAM, and so on. This can be part of the draw when it comes to designing your own computer, but there is something to be said about having something that just works out of the box as well.
In the price range, it also isn’t hard to imagine spending a little bit more to snag a comparable Ryzen with more physical cores.
Apple M1 vs Intel i5-13600KF: 8 Must-Know Facts
- Proprietary CPU.
- Custom-designed SoC.
- Available only in newly manufactured Apple products.
- Won’t always be compatible with Intel-based Apple applications.
- Good price-to-performance ratio.
- Supports more RAM than the M1.
- Uses the latest Intel socket for motherboard installation.
- Has robust support for AI modeling work.
Apple M1 vs Intel i5-13600KF: Which One Should You Buy?
The Apple M1 presents a power-efficient platform to do serious work while avoiding excessive power draws. If you’re already in the Apple ecosystem, it presents an attractive leap forward to getting the best performance in similarly priced platforms. Apple has thrown its lot in on the ARM64 instruction set, and the upcoming M2 looks to improve and iterate on the technology.
The Intel i5-13600KF is a modestly priced CPU that is more than capable of most modern tasks. Whether you’re seeking to work in AI or indulge in a game, it can handle many of these tasks ably thanks in part to its plentiful cores and threads.
There is a greater amount of memory the i5 can pull from, and it can work in enterprise situations as a good workstation CPU in a pinch. While it lacks a unified system, it affords flexibility in configuring the machine to better suit your needs. With this in mind, consider what you value more in a desktop PC because they both are certainly usable machines.