CPU Performance

Now that we have a good idea of what the A8 SoC looks like, we can talk about performance. While we covered this in the preliminary article, it’s worth going over again. For those that are unfamiliar with our test suite the CPU-based tests are mostly browser-based benchmarks. Once again, although I’m not quite happy with the state of benchmarking things we’re getting close to a more platform-agnostic solution.

SunSpider 1.0.2 Benchmark  (Chrome/Safari/IE)

Kraken 1.1 (Chrome/Safari/IE)

Google Octane v2  (Chrome/Safari/IE)

WebXPRT (Chrome/Safari/IE)

BaseMark OS II - Overall

BaseMark OS II - System

BaseMark OS II - Memory

BaseMark OS II - Graphics

BaseMark OS II - Web

For the most part, the A8 SoC performs admirably despite the relatively low (1.38 GHz) frequency and half the cores when compared to competing SoCs. It seems that this is mostly building upon the lead that A7's Cyclone CPUs began. It remains to be seen if other SoC manufacturers will catch up in their CPU architecture at one point or another (NVIDIA's Project Denver in particular is interesting), but for now Apple seems to be quite far in the lead in CPU performance.

A8’s GPU: Imagination Technologies’ PowerVR GX6450 GPU and NAND Performance
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  • Morawka - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    mods please clean this junk up. I don't want to see anandtech ruined by people like this. it's like the floodgates just opened and all the gremlins got in.
  • Aengland818 - Wednesday, October 1, 2014 - link

    Your blind hatred for someone with an opposing opinion is something worth examining. Why would you use such offensive language? What does it accomplish other than to make you look like a defensive, homophobic jerk!
  • Kidster3001 - Thursday, October 2, 2014 - link

    said the Pot to the Kettle...
  • akdj - Friday, October 3, 2014 - link

    Harsh language. Necessary?
    I think you've shown your IQ level. You're ignorant dude. Thank your computer for anonymity. Peeps like you aren't welcome in today's society
  • sonicmerlin - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    Uh, the power cost of constantly digging into the NAND flash page files because of a lack of RAM is far more than an extra gig of RAM. In reality power consumption by adding more RAM is almost negligible, and in general RAM consumes only a tiny fraction of overall power to begin with.
  • name99 - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    "In reality power consumption by adding more RAM is almost negligible, and in general RAM consumes only a tiny fraction of overall power to begin with." Numbers? Proof?

    The article http://arxiv.org/pdf/1401.4655.pdf states that running a variety of SPEC2K programs on a Galaxy S2, RAM power and CPU power are more or less equivalent --- for some programs CPU power usage is higher, for some RAM power usage is higher.

    This doesn't COMPLETELY answer the question, partly because that's older technology, partly because a large part of the issue is not how much power RAM uses when active but rather how much it uses when idle. Nonetheless it's a real data point suggesting that RAM is not free in terms of power, which is more than you're providing.

    It's also worth pointing out that before the OS will be "constantly digging into the NAND flash page files"
    (a) there is no paging file in iOS. There will be demand paging IN (most notably for instruction pages, probably also for at least some resource files that are marked read-only) and a small amount of paging OUT (as far as I can tell, the result of mmap'd filed) but there is no paging file.
    (b) remember that iOS (like Mavericks) provides compressed RAM which, at least for the Mavericks experience, provides the equivalent of about 50% more RAM across a wide variety of usage scenarios. On iOS there is almost certainly dedicated HW performing the compression/decompression, which means low power and which may mean the usage of more aggressive algorithms than are possible on x86, providing even better compression ratios. This compression mechanism will kick in before pages are discarded (even read-only pages) which will further reduce the need to reload from flash.

    I agree that the tabs situation for Safari is not ideal. However in real life, it is not a problem I actually ever encounter on my iPhone 5 (in Safari or otherwise). It's much more of a problem for iPad, and THERE I think Apple will really be screwing over its customers if it sticks with 1GB. On iPhone, I think this remains a theoretical, not a real problem. We can all invent stories about how it limits the future use of iOS 11, but that's pure guessing; it simply is not a real problem today for most users.
  • Kidster3001 - Thursday, October 2, 2014 - link

    iPhones haven't need more memory for several reasons. 1. Android apps run in a VM. 2. Android can actively multi-task. 3. Android cannot be as highly customized (pared down) because it has to support more hardware. 4. More, more more.

    NEEDING the extra memory is a negative. HAVING it is not necessarily a negative. Battery life is what matters. I'll put my Android phone against any iPhone for battery life.

    And seriously... "so lazy people don't have to close tabs". That like saying "I wish my OS was like DOS so I didn't have to close all these other Windows to do different things". It's not a good argument.
  • mrochester - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    It's a win for Apple, and neither a win or a lose for customers. The iPhone is still the best smartphone on the market, even with 1GB of RAM, so what is pushing that to 2GB going to achieve other than simply cutting into Apple's profit margin? Us customers aren't going to get anything from it.
  • mrochester - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    Or is it that in your mind, Apple has some sort of moral obligation to put as much hardware in their devices as possible so as to justify their profit margin, even if it has no effect on the end user experience of the device. You essentially just want to know that the hardware is there for the sake of it and that Apple hasn't made quite so much money from your purchase?
  • danbob999 - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    Apple has no moral obligations.
    To be taken seriously, we could say that users have a moral obligation not to say that Samsung devices are cheap when they are in fact more expensive to make than iPhones.

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