Ahead of the WWDC 2020 announcement, that the Mac, with macOS 11 Big Sur will finally enter the realms of ARM Processors through Apple Silicon, it’s probably no big surprise that the release of Apple’s Developer Transition Kit has garnered some interest.
It’s worth noting, however, that no one is meant to perform benchmarks on these systems, but, this is the Internet, so, of course, everyone will.
It’s worth noting that ALL benchmarks done on these will be essentially EMULATED using Apple’s Rozetta 2 technology as no native Apple Silicon version of benchmarks such as Geekbench exist just yet, but, despite this, these are some pretty interesting numbers. It’s also worth noting, before we get to the numbers, that Apple aren’t planning on releasing a Mac with the A12Z Bionic processor, with Apple’s Craig Federighi saying the performance we’re seeing here is Apple “not even trying”.
SINGLE CORE: 833 MULTI-CORE: 2582
This is running, by the way, in X86 mode, which is NOT native to the ARM64 of the Silicon, so this is the performance of Rozetta 2 in beta!
Now, naturally those numbers mean nothing without comparisons, so here we go, below is an iPad Pro running the SAME Silicon on iPad OS 13 natively;
SINGLE CORE: 1114 MULTI-CORE: 4645
Should come as no surprise that the numbers are far greater on the iPad Pro, as this is running the Silicon completely natively under refined codebase, but what’s going to be really interesting to see, over time, is the numbers of the Mac mini when an Apple Silicon version of Geekbench (or any comparable benchmark) become available, as it’s clear Apple are running the A12Z with a higher clock speed and more RAM.
In terms of Apple’s own Mac line, these numbers are actively very comparable with Apple’s MacBook Air 2020 with a Core i5, which itself gets marginal Single and Multi of 1200 and 3500 respectively.
Comparison with Windows ARM on Surface Pro X
One of the biggest announcements at Microsoft’s Surface announcements last year was the introduction of an ARM based Surface Pro device. The device was much thinner, essentially fan-less design, running on Qualcomm hardware built for the device.
So, how does it compare … well, not very good;
SINGLE CORE: 764 MULTI-CORE: 2983
Now, sure, the Multi-Core benchmarks of Microsoft’s SQ1 Processor do beat the Mac mini score, BUT it’s important to remember, the SQ1 is running natively, whereas the Mac mini using the 2 year old iPad Processor is running in an emulated environment using Apple’s Rozetta technology, that’s before we even look at the iPad numbers.
What does this mean for future Apple Silicon Macs?
In a simple term, this should shut up everyone questioning the move to Apple Silicon, as Apple are already beating any ARM based alternative processors and in the transitional period where software slowly gets Universal 2 support or native support, the performance will still be very decent.