System Performance Cont'd

Moving on towards our more GPU-bound workloads, we use our standard test suite of benchmarks like GFXBench and 3DMark to get a good idea for performance. Unfortunately, due to the move to iOS 9 the Unity engine version used in Basemark X is no longer working so for now we’re left with 3DMark and GFXBench. There is also Basemark OS II’s graphics test, but this is embedded in a larger benchmark with CPU and storage performance tests.

3DMark 1.2 Unlimited - Overall

3DMark 1.2 Unlimited - Graphics

3DMark 1.2 Unlimited - Physics

As always with 3DMark, there are some issues in the data structures used. Due to the data dependencies present within the physics test, it is necessary for the CPU to stall for data to be committed to memory before continuing on to the next portion of the test instead of executing instructions in parallel. This strongly reduces the practical performance of the CPU because the architecture is primarily focused upon instruction-level parallelism to deliver major performance gains. However, due to the strong showing in graphics performance the iPhone 6s’ still manage to take the lead.

GFXBench 3.0 Manhattan (Onscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 T-Rex HD (Onscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 Manhattan (Offscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 T-Rex HD (Offscreen)

In GFXBench, the A9 SoC just shows absurd performance. It’s strange to think about how the iPad Air 2’s GPU seemed incredibly quick at the time but with the A9 Apple has surpassed that level of performance in their smartphone SoCs. The move to a new generation of PowerVR GPU IP, in addition to the move to a FinFET process node are really the drivers for this kind of performance improvement.

Overall, the Apple A9 SoC is the best SoC in any phone shipping today. In cases like web browsing, gaming, and even just going through the UI it’s quite evident that this new SoC is a major factor in improving performance and smoothness across the board. Something as simple as visiting some popular tech websites will show this, which really goes to show how much “specs” still matter due to their influence on user experience.

NAND Performance

At this point is almost goes without saying that storage performance is important, but in a lot of ways the testing here is still in its early days. In the case of the iPhone 6s we’ve discussed what distinguishes its storage solution from others in this industry, but for those that are unaware the iPhone 6s uses PCIe and NVMe instead of a UFS or eMMC storage solution. In a lot of ways, this makes the storage on board closer to the SSD that you might find in a more expensive PC but due to PCB limitations you won’t necessarily see the enormous parallelism that you might expect from a true SSD. In the time since the initial results we've found that all of our review units use Hynix-supplied NAND. In order to test how this storage solution performs, we use Eric Patno’s storage test which allows for a simple storage test comparable to AndroBench 3.6.

Internal NAND - Sequential Read

Internal NAND - Sequential Write

Internal NAND - Random Read

Internal NAND - Random Write

Here, we can really see the enormous performance improvements that result from a combination of TLC NAND with an SLC cache, along with the new NVMe protocol which allows for low CPU overhead and removes architectural bottlenecks to storage performance. This should allow for things like faster burst photos and faster app updates. Downloading and updating apps on the iPhone 6s feels noticeably faster than it is on the iPhone 6, to the extent that small apps feel like they install almost instantly when I’m on a WiFi connection fast enough to saturate storage bandwidth.

System Performance Battery Life and Charge Time


View All Comments

  • vFunct - Monday, November 2, 2015 - link

    It's probably because they're the best. Reply
  • dysonlu - Tuesday, November 3, 2015 - link

    Just like Lance Armstrong was too. Reply
  • vFunct - Tuesday, November 3, 2015 - link

    I'm sure a lot of things are best in their category/field.

    The iPhone just happens to be one of them.
  • r3loaded - Monday, November 2, 2015 - link

    If you now read the rest of the review, you'll find the evidence that supports their claim of being "the best". Reply
  • djsvetljo - Monday, November 2, 2015 - link

    After reading the summary, I can't read the rest. Reply
  • ToastyFlake - Monday, November 2, 2015 - link

    A leading symptom of fanboyitus. Reply
  • djsvetljo - Monday, November 2, 2015 - link

    I am a complete opposite of fan boy. I use daily 2 phones, a BlackBerry10 and Android, equipped my business with ThinkPads and HPs, drive American and Japanese car. Never been a fan boy of anything but strive to get the best FOR MY NEEDS product available at the current time. And everybody has different needs. However, Anandtech (the Apple reviewers at least) doesn't know that. That's is what really bothers me right there. They are trying to tell me - if you want the best phone - get the 6s. Well guess what - you are wrong cause for my needs, it wouldn't last one business week for me.

    I have been reading their Apple articles for years - they do not compare equally (why they don't try to compare functions that are not present on Apple platforms - [standard] NFC, File Manager, File Sharing, Expansion ports, IR and so on). They have been doing the same thing for years. Same goes for MACs.
  • Chaser - Monday, November 2, 2015 - link

    Maybe Anandtech should write special review just for you that revolves around "YOUR NEEDS". You admit you didn't read the review except the last paragraph but then you have all the time in the world to babble with your baseless tripe. Nice business I'm sure. Reply
  • djsvetljo - Monday, November 2, 2015 - link

    Nobody gets it. All they have to do is add "one of" infront of every "the best" and point out the negatives of this phone like a man, not hide them like a mice who's "mother" works for the worship. Reply
  • solipsism - Monday, November 2, 2015 - link

    1) They do point out negatives, but as you repeatedly stated, you refuse to read the article (or even use an Apple product).

    2) Putting "one of" doesn't alter anything in your "FOR MY NEEDS" argument as you made it clear no Apple product will ever last a week for you, so it would still be wrong, based on that. How about this, instead of trying to get the author to write specifically for you, why not try to look at it from the author's PoV or the mass-market PoV?

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