Apple is finally moving away from Intel Corp. The company has been trying to do this for quite a while now. Moving forward, Apple will be using the A12Z, but the question is: how will these ARM chips work? What should we expect to see in the future? It hasn’t been long since the company announced its shift away from x86, and benchmark results are starting to appear. Based on Apple developer kits, the results are quite fascinating.
Geekbench is the benchmark recording the new Apple results, as you can see in the photo below:
In the picture above, only four cores are published. However, the A12Z is more than likely an eight-core processor. But, these dev systems are not very clear whatsoever. We don’t know if the results are for the “big” cores only. Maybe the application doesn’t work correctly. Perhaps this is just the result of an emulator limitation. Nevertheless, it is way too soon to talk facts about the new Apple chipsets.
However, there is a catch. Depending on the application, the emulation performance may differ—some programs run with either small or big penalties. For example, Rosetta 2 is a program made specifically to avoid the so-called significant penalties. However, if we are real, all emulators have some nasty corners.
On the other hand, some applications are harder to emulate than others. All in all, whether that 1.44x lead the 13-inch MacBook has is an accurate result or not, time will tell. It could be a malfunction of the emulator. But, if it’s not, then we are looking at a pretty fantastic CPU performance. Plus, data from the iPad Pro backs up the former opinion.
A12X as a stand-in for A12Z
iPad Pro runs on the A12X chip. Therefore, if this chip is similar to the new macOS chip, it is much easier to form an opinion based on native ARM performance on Geekbench. Of course, that means looking into iOS. The results show an 1120 single-thread, followed by a 4650 multi-thread score— a scaling factor of 4.16x. Therefore, comparing the 13-inch MacBook Pro to iPad Pro, we can see an 8% increase in single-core and 10% decrease in multi-core.
These early results already raise the standard. Therefore we can expect to see some fierce competition between Apple, Intel, and AMD. These results imply that the gap between the 13-inch Mac and the A12Z is mostly the result of emulation. But, let’s not forget that OS differences matter in situations like this. However, the penalty the A12Z is carrying is more than likely related to emulating x86 code.
Apple vs. Intel vs. AMD performance
Looking at the yearly performance charts, Apple has better results than Intel Corp at the moment. Apple is excellent at delivering new performance improvements. On the other hand, AMD is doing quite well, thanks to Ryzen.
Overall, the situation is a bit funny right now. I mean, Intel Corp has provided Apple with chipsets for a really long time. However, AMD is a better supplier in terms of performant mobile CPUs today. For example, the 4900HS scored an 1116 single-thread and a 7013 multi-core. Therefore, x86 MT is not in great danger for now. The downside of 4900HS is that it draws far more power than Intel or Apple processors.
Let’s get one thing straight. All of the above results are no proof that the next MacBook ARM chip-based will rival the best Intel and AMD can offer. However, it surely seems that Apple is getting ready for the battle. The x86 companies may want to ask their mobile CPU designers to raise the current standard even higher.