If you remember the details of the last keynote Apple, will certainly remember the moment when the company started talking about its new mobile chip, the A12 Bionic, which equips iPhones XS, XS Max and XR. Among the several novelties and improvements introduced in the component, the company stated that it is about 15% more powerful compared to its predecessor, the A11 Bionic that equips the iPhones 8, 8 Plus and X. According to an expert, however, the Apple may be being modest in that estimate.
The specialist, in this case, is Andrei Frumusanu, from AnandTech – site known for its extremely technical and in-depth analyzes of new devices and technologies. In a thorough review of the XS and XS Max iPhones, Frumusanu unraveled all the news from the A12 Bionic on pages and pages of benchmarks, tests and comparisons, reaching a series of very encouraging conclusions.
The complete analysis is a delight for those who like the technical part and the numbers (and those who know English, of course), but here are some highlights. Most impressive of all, I would say, is to note that the new Apple chip may actually be about 40% more powerful than its predecessor – far more than Apple is saying. In some cases, this improvement can be even better, and the processor can achieve performance even computer chips.
Apple’s marketing department is really being modest about improvements here when talking about 15% – many of the processes will see performance improvements that I estimate will be in the 40% range, with even greater gains in some specific cases. Apple’s CPUs have become so powerful that we’re only a few margins below the best desktop processors; it will be interesting to see how that will develop over the next few years and what it will mean for Macs.
On average, based on benchmark SPECint2006 (which, according to the analyzer, takes into account a larger and more complex set of data to assign scores to processors), the A12 Bionic had a performance 24% superior to its predecessor. Energy efficiency improved by 12%, even though the new chip uses a little more energy in intense tasks – the A12 reached an average rate of 3.64W, while the A11 was around 3.36W.
In all measurements, the new Apple CPU surpassed the main competitors in the Android world, such as the Samsung Exynos 9810, Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 and Huawei Kirin 970. The A12 Bionic proved to be better than all of them in performance and energy efficiency, in all scenarios – according to the analyzer, matching the performances with the energy rate used, the Apple chip is about 3x higher in efficiency.
The graphics performance of the chip was also praised, but with reservations:
In terms of GPU, the performance gains promised by Apple are within the promised numbers and even above them if we consider the performance maintained. The new GPU appears to be a variation on last year’s design, but the addition of a fourth core and major introductions to the area of memory compression allow performance to rise to new heights. The downside here is that I think Apple should review the throttling – and not in the sense that it should be applied less often, but that the GPU should be slowed down more often or even limited at the end of the performance curve, considering that it consumes a lot of energy and overheats the device in minutes initials of a gambling session.
In general, the analysis was extremely impressed with the performance of the new Apple chips – and there is really no disagreement: if there is an area in which Apple has exceeded expectations year after year, even in a period of not very fruitful creativity, is that of its own processors. If that doesn’t get you excited about the future of computing in Cupertino, I don’t know what else you can do.