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Apple A14 Bionic: which is the most powerful Apple processor?




The main (and so far the only) source of rumors denigrating Apple and its new chip is Apple itself. Apple VP of Platform Architecture Tim Millett spoke about how Apple a14 the new iPad Air 4 outperforms the chip in the previous iPad Air. CPU performance increased by 40%, GPU performance increased by 30%, and neural processor performance more than doubled (from 5 to 11 trillion operations per second). But the iPad Air 3 did not use last year’s Apple A13 system-on-chip, but the Apple A12 from 2018, which the Apple A13 CPU and GPU outperformed by 20%. That is, the breakthrough, most productive and economical Apple A14, praised to smithereens, hardly surpasses its predecessor?

First of all, I would like to point out an important but useless detail at the moment. Until now, the Apple A14 has only been used in one device in the world, and this device has not yet gone on sale. It seems that it has not even been given to the most trusted journalists for testing.

Or they did it with even more sophisticated cruelty: they gave him, but they categorically forbade publishing any information about him. So far, no one outside of Apple has managed to drive the new iPad Air through Geekbench or AnTuTu tests, to test it for adequacy and performance in real tasks. Test results can be anything you want.

Apple A14 vs Apple A13 vs Apple A12 comparison

The performance of the various processors on the Apple A14 chip used in the new iPad Air surpasses the performance of the same processors in the previous iPad Air (A12). Central processing unit – by 40%, graphic – by 30%, neural on 120%… In the Apple A13, both the Lightning cores and the energy efficiency cores outperformed the same cores in the A12 by 20%. The CPU in the A14 outperforms its counterpart in the A13 by about 16%.

If you look at the official data, the performance gain seems to be very small

And with the GPU, it’s even worse. In the A13, it was 20% more productive than in the A12. The graphics processor in the A14 is 8.3% faster than in the A13. Yeah, fans of the main competing platform (Android) were delighted, this December or early next year, Qualcomm Snapdragon 875 has a great chance to put Apple Silicon on both blades!

And one more fact: Tim Millet compared the performance of the Apple A14 SoCs in the fourth iPad Air with the performance of the Apple A12 in the third Air. Does it change anything? Processors based on apple chips have an important fundamental difference from all other processors in the world. And it changes, if not everything, then a lot.

Apple VP of Platform Architecture Tim Millet

What’s the most powerful Apple processor?

Unlike all the CPU and GPU makers in the world, Apple doesn’t sell them. She has a single client, with the requirements and wishes known exactly, and usually in advance. She herself. Apple does not have to take into account the often conflicting demands of customers and make sub-optimal trade-offs.

On the contrary, each of its chips is carefully customized to the requirements of a specific devicein which it is applied. The same Apple A12 used in the iPhone XS / XS Max, iPhone XR, the fifth iPad mini, the third iPad Air, and iPad 8 has at least five modifications. Or six (for iPhone XS Max). Or even more – over time, something improved or some problems invisible to users were fixed.

The trick is that each Apple processor is made for a specific device. Therefore, the A14 is the most powerful

The result of this adjustment: formally, an order of magnitude more powerful chips, with a larger number of cores and with higher clock frequencies, almost always give way to formally weaker onesthan they are, apple chips. So far they have not got used to this, which only Apple did not suspect – but the secret is simple, and Apple does not even hide it.

What processor will the iPhone 12 have?

Whenever people think about saving energy and sacrifice performance for it, it becomes uncomfortable. In the case of Apple A14, this has already been discussed. Not yet Apple journalists. But what if there really is a problem in the absolutely key Platform Architecture division for Apple? Suddenly, the departure of several dozen far from the worst engineers (Gerard Williams, “the third,” who headed the development of A-series chips, up to Apple A12 and Apple A12X, also left) caused more serious damage than they say?

When iPhone 12 comes out, performance Apple a14 they will most likely compare not to the system-on-a-chip performance of the iPad Air 3 (Apple A12), but to the Apple A13 in the iPhone 11. This is the first moment of truth. When both iPad Air 4 and iPhone 12 of the first released types show what they are capable of in tests and in performing real tasks, this will be the second moment of truth. Before that, alas, doubts cannot be dispelled.


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