What’s Actually The meaning of Unified Memory?
By now you might have heard about the new Silicon M1 Chip Apple introduced on November 10, 2020. They seem to have revolutionized this whole system industry by just altering the way the chip is composed: They changed the way and the location where the CPU and GPU consume their memory. And that’s where the word Unified Memory comes from. But What’s the meaning of a Unified Memory? And how does the chip looks like now we have the M1 Max and the M1 Pro chips that we can choose from?
How is this M1 Silicon Chip Different From The Previous Models
First things first, how is this M1 chip different from the previous intel chips Apple used in their MacBooks and iMacs? The intel chip, and basically every other chip on the market, contains CPU, GPU, and NPU.
These components are also available in the M1 Silicon chip. The only difference here is that in the traditional chip, both the CPU and GPU have their own source from where they get their memory.
The silicon M1 chip, on the other hand, does also contain the CPU and GPU transmitters, but what’s different is that they have one unified pool from where they get their memory.
That’s where the name Unified Memory comes from. Both CPU and GPU get their memory from one place. This promotes a faster transition of memory, and makes the whole communication process between RAM and CPU/GPU run more efficiently.
But isn’t it more burdensome for the CPU when the GPU slurps Its memory?
You might be thinking by now, how is it efficient that the GPU wiretaps from the same memory pool as the CPU? Will that not take the memory that the CPU needs to function well? After all, the CPU is where all computation happens.
Well, that’s a fair question, but it’s not as bad as you might think. First of all, MacBooks come nowadays with a fair amount of memory RAM. They even go up to 64GB of RAM. This means that both units can tap freely from the same pool without limiting each other. That’s why I always advise getting laptops with at least 16GB of RAM.
Second, having both units tapping from the same memory source allow the computer chip to run all tasks more efficiently. So when it comes to, let’s say, playing a videogame, which requires computing power from both the GPU and CPU, a silicone chip will now do that more efficiently.
Compare it with a supermarket
You can compare this “CPU and GPU combined in one chip concept” with a supermarket where all products are available in just one place. Imagine you need ingredients to bake a cake.
You now have two options. The first one is driving to one supermarket where all these ingredients are available. The second option is driving to multiple stores where you’ll buy these ingredients separately. Which one will cost you more gas?
Well, the same principle happens inside a PC. When having both units separated from each other, your PC will need more energy and computing power to process the task that it gets daily.
One side note though
With the latter, you may have more options to choose from since the stores are specialized in selling that one ingredient. This is by the way one advantage of having the CPU and GPU separately. Some who like to build their custom PC have the option to choose between the numerous kinds of GPUs available on the market.
With the Silicone Chip, on the other hand, you get what’s already inside.
I kind of already said this one, but if you’re planning on buying a MacBook Pro (M1 Max or M1 Pro), make sure to get enough memory RAM. If you’re planning on doing a lot of video editing or animation, having at least 32 GB of RAM is even a must.
The reason why RAM is very important is that your MacBook will otherwise run out of this so-called “random-access memory”. Instead it will use your hard drive to store the data of the programs you have running at that moment. In the short term, this shouldn’t be a disaster. But letting this happen day in day out and the lifespan of your hard drive will be shortened drastically.
The iPad Pro Or the MacBook Pro?
Buyer’s Guide For Refurbished iPhone XS Max
How To Change The Folders Icon On Your Mac