Apple M1 vs Intel i5-13600KF: 6 Key Differences and Full Comparison

Apple M1 vs Intel i5-13600KF

Apple M1 vs Intel i5-13600KF: 6 Key Differences and Full Comparison

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 vs Intel i5-13600KF comparison infographic


Apple M1Intel i5-13600KF
Clock Speed3.2 GHz3.5 GHz
Integrated GPUYesNo
Memory SupportedLPDDR4X-4266DDR5-2600
Maximum Amount of RAM16 GB128 GB
TDP15 Watts125 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.

Apple M1

apple m1 vs intel i5-13600kf
The M1 has four high-performance “Firestorm” and four energy-efficient “Icestorm” cores.


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.

Intel i5-13600KF

Intel Core i5-13600KF Desktop Processor 14 cores (6 P-cores + 8 E-cores) 24M Cache, up to 5.1 GHz
  • 13th Gen Intel Core processors offer revolutionary design for beyond real-world performance. From extreme multitasking, immersive streaming, and faster creating, do what you do
  • 14 cores (6 P-cores + 8 E-cores) and 20 threads
  • Up to 5.1 GHz unlocked. 24M Cache
  • Discrete graphics required
  • Compatible with Intel 600 series (might need BIOS update) and 700 series chipset-based motherboards
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/28/2023 06:36 pm GMT

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.

Use Cases

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

Apple M1

  1. Proprietary CPU.
  2. Custom-designed SoC.
  3. Available only in newly manufactured Apple products.
  4. Won’t always be compatible with Intel-based Apple applications.

Intel i5-13600KF

  1. Good price-to-performance ratio.
  2. Supports more RAM than the M1.
  3. Uses the latest Intel socket for motherboard installation.
  4. Has robust support for AI modeling work.

Apple M1 vs Intel i5-13600KF: Which One Should You Buy?

It isn’t an easy decision or even a clear one when it comes to making a recommendation between the Apple M1 and the Intel i5-13600KF. They have some overlap in terms of use cases, but their intended purposes could not be more disparate.

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.

Apple M1 vs Intel i5-13600KF: 6 Key Differences and Full Comparison FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What platforms use the M1 chip?

Apple provides M1 chips and revisions for all of their current hardware aside from the iPhone. The iPad Pro and iPad Air, Macbook Air, Macbook Pro, Mac Studio, and Mac Mini all use some form of the M1. These have received rave reviews and Apple is only going to move forward with using their own custom chipsets to power their ecosystem.

What is the i5 good for?

For Windows and Linux users, the i5 presents good value for the money. It is powerful, especially for its price range. As such, it can more than handle a wide variety of tasks.

If you’re looking into more intensive AI modeling, 3D renders, and so on, it might be worth looking at a more powerful CPU to couple with an enterprise-grade GPU. It can certainly do enterprise work as well.

What is an efficiency core?

Smaller tasks get offloaded to the efficiency cores on modern Intel processors. The performance cores handle the more intensive tasks. It is meant to split some of the workloads between smaller, less important tasks, and ones that would take precedence in parallel processing.

What is the benefit of a SoC?

SoCs have less distance between each of the components, as they’re all integrated on the same silicon wafer. It makes an immediate difference when seeing how a system accesses memory or storage.

With a system like the M1, launching an application can feel nearly instantaneous. This comes from having a clever implementation of solid-state storage and memory, coupled with a multi-core CPU which is wasting zero time communicating its instructions to those components.

Is the M1 a desktop or mobile processor?

It is both. The M1 effectively is provisioning both the desktop and mobile spaces. This extends further to the compatibility of former iPhone and iPad apps in the newer Mac Minis and Macbooks.

Users can enjoy some of the more high-performance iPad apps while also using apps designed explicitly for the more powerful laptops and take advantage of their hands-on controls and interfacing options.

The M1 represents a unified platform for Apple to move forward for all future products. Time will tell if the SoC makes its way to future Apple smartphones or if Apple will continue to develop its custom ARM64 A-series processors for mobile phones.

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