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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Mobile CPUs Are Now as Fast as Your Desktop PC

Apple says its new iPad Pros are faster than 92% of all laptops, tablets, and convertible PCs released in the last year. And yes, that includes PCs with Intel Core i7 processors! Mobile CPUs are becoming as fast as desktop PC CPUs, never mind laptop CPUs.

Sure, an iPhone or iPad isn’t going to replace your desktop PC any time soon, but that’s just because of the software. The hardware is ready. Just think what we could do with better mobile software, or even with a Windows 10 on ARM PC running one of these new chips!

Never Mind iPads—Even Your iPhone is Faster

It’s easy for PC users to think of iPads, iPhones, and even Android phones as toys. But, even if you don’t like Apple’s iOS operating system, Apple’s hardware is amazing. Apple designs its own A-series ARM CPUs.

Apple says its new iPad Pros are faster than 92% of all portable PCs thanks to its new A12 X Bionic chip. That’s already really impressive, but these are tablets. What’s going on with phones will blow your mind, too.

The new iPhones—that is, the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and even the cheaper iPhone XR—all include Apple’s new A12 Bionic chip. That little iPhone CPU is a workhorse, too. Here’s what Anandtech had to say after running some benchmarks:

What is quite astonishing, is just how close Apple’s A11 and A12 are to current desktop CPUs. I haven’t had the opportunity to run things in a more comparable manner, but… we see that the A12 outperforms a moderately-clocked Skylake CPU in single-threaded performance. Of course there’s compiler considerations and various frequency concerns to take into account, but still we’re now talking about very small margins until Apple’s mobile [system-on-a-chips] outperform the fastest desktop CPUs in terms of [single-thread] performance.

Let’s repeat that, for emphasis: A modern iPhone has better single-thread performance than many Intel Skylake CPUs released in 2015. And Apple is improving its chips much faster than Intel is, so Apple is rapidly catching up and looks set to leapfrog Intel.

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