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ARM-powered

ARMs Race

The race is on, always connected LTE convertibles powered by super powerful ARM SOC’s are here and throwing elbows. The contenders are Apple’s A12Z Bionic and Microsoft’s SQ1 processor.

Our tasks are no longer confined to our office’s, when you can work anywhere, anywhere can be your office. This is especially important during this transition brought on by life under Corona where remote work becomes more accepted and necessary.

Apple has been designing its own custom SOC’s (system on a chip) since day one and since then has taken more and more control over design and manufacture of their famed A-Series SOC’s. Apple’s A-Series SOC’s can outperform Android phones with higher clock speeds, more cores and more RAM with ease. Their iPad SOC’s have been getting close to outperforming its own MacBook Air for a few years now and with last year’s models it did.

When comparing last year’s 12.9″ iPad Pro with last year’s MacBook Air we can see clearly that Apple’s A12X Bionic is a superior processor by a wide margin. The only comparable Mac is last year’s 15 inch MacBook Pro with a Intel Core i9-9980 running at 2400MHz.

Last November Microsoft had its annual hardware event where it showcased new products. 2019’s event was quite impressive as not only did Microsoft announce a 15″ Surface Laptop, an updated Surface Pro, Surface EarBuds, Surface Neo & Surface Duo, but a new Surface Pro called Surface Pro X with a custom ARM processor called SQ1.

So how does Microsoft’s SQ1 perform compared to one of its own laptops? It is comparable to a Surface Pro 7 with a Intel Core i5. Plus keep in mind Geekbench is an emulated App on the Surface Pro X, if Geekbench were to build a ARM64 app for Windows 10, the results would be much higher.

  • Microsoft SQ1 Processor
  • 7nm
  • 3.0 GHz
  • 8 Cores, 8 Threads, 2MB cache
  • 8, 16GB memory
  • 128, 256, 512GB
  • 9W TDP
  • Adrena 685 GPU at 2 Teraflops
  • Wi-Fi 5
  • X24 LTE with 2 Gbps download speeds

Comparing the contender from Microsoft against Apple’s A12X Bionic, we see that Microsoft still has some work to do with a caveat. Geekbench has a native iOS App for the iPad Pro which was used to get the benchmark results above. Microsoft on the other hand, like I mentioned above, doesn’t have the benefit of an AMR64 version of Geekbench to test with. So what would the benchmark look like if there was? Either way the race is on and we the consumers are the winners.

(Updated March 23rd with content below)

According to a Reddit user u/Zindexed who received a 2020 11″ iPad Pro the results were a bit of a surprise.

When we compare last years A12X packing iPad Pro from last year with this years A12Z packing iPad Pro the results are nearly identical. This is rather surprising considering Apple said that the reason the A12X was named A12Z was because it was much faster. So what gives, why did Apple phone it in this time? Every year we get a new iPad with a new A-Series processor followed by an X. This year we should have gotten the A13X Bionic considering the iPhone 11 series has an A13 Bionic.

There is a rumor floating around that there is another iPad Pro coming before the end of the year. Will we see an A13X Bionic in it this time around?

By Platform De.Central

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