New iMac M1 blows Intel iMacs out of the water - kinda

Apple spring event 2021
(Image credit: Apple)

A new benchmark for the just-announced iMac featuring the Apple M1 chip has been found online in the GeekBench 5 database, and if it's accurate, the new iMac greatly improves on the performance of its predecessor.

The benchmark results show both single-core and multi-core performance for the forthcoming All-In-One from the Cupertino tech goliath. Its single-core performance scores ranged between 1,707 and 1,736 on three different results that had been uploaded to the database on May 12. In multi-core performance, it scored between 7,429 and 7,471, with an average score of 1,724 in single-core and 7,453 in multi-core performance.

Over at MacRumors, they compared this to the 21.5-inch iMac from 2019 that the new iMac is replacing and they have the new iMac outperforming the 2019 iMac by about 56% and 24% in performance. 

It doesn't quite beat the 27-inch iMac from last year, though, at least in multi-core benchmarks. In terms of single-core performance, the new iMac is about 39% faster than a 27-inch iMac running an Intel Core i7-10700K (someone helpfully benchmarked that system on May 12 as well), which comes in with a single-core score of 1,240. 

Multi-core performance is a different story though, with the 27-inch iMac scoring 8,281 to the new iMac's average of 7,453, or about 11% better. Which in itself is pretty remarkable, considering the Intel Core i7-10700K is seriously powerful CPU.

Obviously, we haven't tested the new iMac ourselves, so everything should be taken with a grain of salt until we can put it through its paces ourselves.

The new iMac's performance is good news for the Apple MX chip

While we're all still fully engrossed in the new Apple M1 chip, Apple is certainly busy behind the scenes working on the next generation of their silicon, known unofficially as the Apple MX chip.

It's long been suspected that the Apple M1 chip wouldn't be powerful enough for some of the more serious Apple hardware like the 27-inch iMac and 16-inch MacBook Pro, so these systems will likely feature the next generation of Apple silicon.

The fact that the Apple M1 appears to score as highly as it does means that it's nearly as powerful as the Intel processor running on those systems. Obviously, a processor will perform better in these smaller systems, so we can't say the M1 would do as well if Apple just slapped it into the 27-inch iMac, so we're still convinced that the next MacBook Pro and 27-inch iMac will see the introduction of the MX chip.

Still, the MX chip will almost certainly be a major improvement over the M1 if the rumors we've heard so far are accurate, so we can expect to see a similar improvement in the new 27-inch iMacs when they do come out as we're likely to see in the new 21.5-inch iMacs due out later this month.

John Loeffler
Components Editor

John (He/Him) is the Components Editor here at TechRadar and he is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. 

Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.

You can find him online on Threads @johnloeffler.

Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 (just like everyone else).