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By Jason Snell for Macworld
The first Macs powered by Apple-designed processors are finally here. And from the outside, they’re almost dead ringers for the Intel-based Macs they’re replacing.
But on the inside, they’re not like other computers. Apple has brought its approach to system design, learned through years of iteration on the iPhone and iPad, to the Mac for the first time.
Those of us who are used to thinking of personal computers in certain terms are going to need to adjust to this new reality. It’s a world in which Apple sells three different Mac models without even disclosing the clock speed of the processor inside. (It doesn’t do it for the iPhone or iPad, after all.)
But perhaps the item on the spec sheet that will require the biggest diversion from the old way of thinking is system memory. It’s a feature that’s already frequently misunderstood (and frequently confused with storage size), and now Macs with Apple silicon are using it in an entirely different way.
The old way of thinking of RAM is dead. Welcome to the world of the Unified Memory Architecture.