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Apple A9 and A9X chipsets announced, desktop performance with an M9 co-processor

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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Apple A9 and A9X chipsets announced, desktop performance with an M9 co-processor

We were waiting for the moment when Apple will announce the new A9 chipset at the keynote that is currently going on, and when it will say how many times faster it will be than the chipset in the first iPhone, and the team didn't disappoint.

Apple just made the A9X official, though, the one that is in the new iPad Pro, made with Samsung's 14nm process, and started throwing statistics at us. That didn't make the numbers less impressive, though - on the contrary - saying that the A9X GPU is 360x faster than the one in the OG iPad. Well, that one was released back in the day, so no wonder, but Apple has more to hurl at our cynical hearts.

The A9X CPU is 1.8x faster than Apple's fastest chipset so far - the A8X you can find in the iPad Air 2 - and the GPU is two times zippier. More importantly, it also has two times the memory bandwidth, and a two times faster storage support. The GPU is so powerful, that it allows you to edit three 4K streams at once.

Apple also unveiled the A9 chips that will be in the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, which is 70% faster than A8 at CPU tasks and 90% at graphics rendering tasks, and is again built at the 14nm FinFET production process. There is also a new M9 co-processor, which will allow for Siri to be called with the "Hey, Siri" command if the phone is locked.

Overall, on a clock-for-clock basis, you can expect Geekbench scores on par with desktop-class processors with Intel's new Skylake architecture, and "faster than 80% of the portable PCs that shipped in the last 12 months" performance. Given how fast the A8 is, we are inclined to believe Apple, and are only waiting for the first benchmarks of Apple's 3rd gen 64-bit processor to hit the databases.

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posted on 09 Sep 2015, 12:47 1

1. Takeharu (Posts: 259; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)


An i5/i7 processor can beat that A9X for sure.

posted on 09 Sep 2015, 12:51

2. vishalaestro (Posts: 81; Member since: 08 Dec 2013)


it's compared based on power consumption

posted on 09 Sep 2015, 12:51 14

3. shaineql (Posts: 421; Member since: 28 Apr 2014)


My pentium 4 can beat it.

posted on 09 Sep 2015, 13:11 2

10. stanislav (Posts: 136; Member since: 22 Sep 2014)


This is the fastest CPU in tablet period it might outpreform some slower i5/i7 in laptops/mini pcs to.

posted on 09 Sep 2015, 14:05 2

23. hemedans (Posts: 628; Member since: 01 Jun 2013)


wait comparison with core m skylake version

posted on 09 Sep 2015, 14:56

36. TylerGrunter (Posts: 1543; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)


If what they said is true it will beat the core m family.
the A8X alredy beats the m3, so this one should beat the m5 and probably the m7 both in CPU and GPU power.

posted on 09 Sep 2015, 15:40

38. DoggyDangerous (Posts: 1001; Member since: 28 Aug 2015)


built on latest and greatest 14nm process of Samsung. Surely, it will beat core m

posted on 09 Sep 2015, 17:20

43. vincelongman (Posts: 5048; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)


Do we have Core m3 benchmarks yet?

Also benchmarks for x86 and ARM aren't really comparable since there's major architecture differences
Especially Geekbench, which the one most people refer to

That being said, the A9X's GPU will probably be hands down significantly better than Core m's Intel HD 515

posted on 10 Sep 2015, 02:42 1

49. TylerGrunter (Posts: 1543; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)


There are some in geekbench if you know what you are looking for.
m3
http://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench3/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=ASUSTeK+Athena
m7 (just a test from Intel)
http://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench3/2637682

I would love to know a bit more about the A9/A9X, because this is the first time I find difficult to believe Apple claims in performance upgrade.

posted on 10 Sep 2015, 03:39 1

50. vincelongman (Posts: 5048; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)


Nice finds
Looks like the A9X should beat the m7 at Geekbench (if Apple's claims are accurate)
But I want to see a more heavy "desktop" benchmark, one that's more intensive and compare sustained performance
e.g. Cinebench or SPECviewperf
Unfortunately those don't exist on iOS (or Android)

I'm not a fan of using Geekbench to compare ARM and x86
Geekbench takes less than a minute for my Nexus 5 and iPad Mini 2
But Geekbench takes multiple minutes for my i5-4570
Which doesn't make sense to me since my i5-4570 obviously runs circles around my Nexus 5 and iPad Mini 2

posted on 10 Sep 2015, 04:38

51. TylerGrunter (Posts: 1543; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)


I actually trust it quite a lot, the reason behind is that I follow a page called phoronix. It's a geek page that makes benchmarks in Linux (only Linux), so they are very good at comparing ARM vs X86 architectures using the same OS and software. And they do LOADS of benchmarks on one CPU/SoC.
The results are very similar of what Geekbench ends up with, that's why I trust it so much.
But you are right, it's fishy that it takes more time in your PC, I'll try to do the test myself and see what happens.
For now I think it's the best tool to compare CPUs that is multi OS. It may be not perfect, but I take what I can get ;)

posted on 10 Sep 2015, 04:56

52. vincelongman (Posts: 5048; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)


I actually visit phoronix quite frequently (several times a week in fact)
But I've never look at their benchmarks
I've only been looking at their news, mainly for Vulkan, OpenGL, OpenCL and Linux Kernel stuff

I'll be sure to look are their ARM and x86 comparisons soon

I'm still kind of skeptical since we've seen huge gains in Geekbench scores for Android/iOS devices, but basically no gains in real world performance

BTW Adobe has comfirmed the iPad Pro has 4GB of RAM, that's great!
https://blogs.adobe.com/conversations/2015/09/adobe-debuts-the-next-generation-of-mobile-creativity-apps-during-apple-ipad-pro-keynote.html

posted on 10 Sep 2015, 05:22

54. TylerGrunter (Posts: 1543; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)


Good to know, I thought the iPad Pro was going to have a huge bottleneck in the RAM side with only 2GB.
It's funny you visit phoronix for the news, I pretty much only visit it for their HW comparisons. One example:
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=intel-6600k-linux&num=1

posted on 10 Sep 2015, 05:50

55. vincelongman (Posts: 5048; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)


I suppose cause I don't use Linux on my desktop
But lots of Linux news is still relevant to me, e.g. those cross platform APIs

posted on 09 Sep 2015, 17:30

44. Plutonium239 (Posts: 1079; Member since: 17 Mar 2015)


Nope. My tablet has an i7 that is faster than this and it has more ram(8GB).

posted on 09 Sep 2015, 13:18

13. janno (Posts: 144; Member since: 19 Aug 2014)


But i5-i7 are $200+ chips.

posted on 09 Sep 2015, 15:46 1

39. meropixan (Posts: 6; Member since: 16 Sep 2014)


Ok I love my macbook but you exaggerate . Skylake i5/i7 kills every Arm processor for the moment. Years ago Arm was faster than intel 8086 or motorola 68000 and had 4mips in Acorn Archimendes. Who knows after some years that maybe happen again but for now the comparison is just ridiculous.

I hope Apple to follow the steps of the new vaio (the new owners with out sony) and make an ipad like the VAIO Z CANVAS (that had a quad core processor inside and full windows 10 and intel iris pro !!!! Thats a pro tablet that you can use maya or 3d max or autocad or heavy photoshop or what ever you want. Iris pro 5200 persformans is near nvidia 840 m)....

VAIO Z CANVAS that a pro tablet a real power house!!!

posted on 09 Sep 2015, 22:44

48. Shubham412302 (Posts: 452; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)


even an i3 can
they say its desktop class performance but its not x86 apple

posted on 09 Sep 2015, 12:52

4. medicci37 (Posts: 1331; Member since: 19 Nov 2011)


Awesome!Looks like I'll be getting a new Tablet this year

posted on 09 Sep 2015, 12:54 16

6. kajam (Posts: 211; Member since: 24 Jun 2015)


this is how apple get to sell their stuff. by fooling people with things like this title.

posted on 09 Sep 2015, 13:32 1

19. bucky (Posts: 3112; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


What did they do to fool people?

posted on 09 Sep 2015, 14:39 1

32. Martin_Cooper (Posts: 1599; Member since: 30 Jul 2013)


Unlike 100% of android tablets, ipads actually work flawlessly for years and are very useful and filled with tablet designed apps. Who is fooling who? I think android is. Yeee we have a 100$ tablet go buy it its great. No updates ever, s**tty quality, most of apps and games are stretched and mostly its going to get laggy the more time passes. You cant buy a brand new s**tty ipad. Apple isnt fooling anyone just pissing people like you cause its making happy bunch of people around the world

posted on 09 Sep 2015, 14:40 1

33. Martin_Cooper (Posts: 1599; Member since: 30 Jul 2013)


I haven't met a single android fan who has used an ipad and didnt like it more than an android tablet.

posted on 09 Sep 2015, 15:38 3

37. DoggyDangerous (Posts: 1001; Member since: 28 Aug 2015)


well, you should meet me then. Plus, My doggy bite will remove your misconception once for all

posted on 09 Sep 2015, 21:39

47. rantao333 (Posts: 322; Member since: 21 May 2013)


well, my ipad air is 10x better than my galaxy tab in eveyr aspect.. at least for me

posted on 03 Oct 2015, 21:16

58. Zider (Posts: 6; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)


I'm a Windows fan and I don't like Android nor iOS, but if I had to choose I'd pick Android any day. And no, ipads don't always work flawlessly, I've had the misfortune to have to try and fix plenty of them, which isn't easy with such a closed system.

posted on 09 Sep 2015, 12:52 2

5. kajam (Posts: 211; Member since: 24 Jun 2015)


They said portable PCs' probably meant tablet and not every tablet of course because many of them using i5/i7 now like the Microsoft surface pro 3 which is there is no way a9 can be faster than these 2

posted on 09 Sep 2015, 12:58 6

7. StanleyG88 (Posts: 233; Member since: 15 Mar 2012)


I'll put it up against my Surface Pro 3 Core i7 anyday and beat it.

posted on 09 Sep 2015, 13:09

9. stanislav (Posts: 136; Member since: 22 Sep 2014)


The i7 in Surface pro 3 was only 20% faster than A8X and for shor time becouse it overheat inslanly, A9X will beat the s**t of it from the begining.

posted on 03 Oct 2015, 21:29

63. Zider (Posts: 6; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)


From what I can find the SP3 i5 performed 50% faster than the ipad air 2 with an A8x in multicore geekbench. Heck, the Surface 3, which runs an Atom CPU, doesn't seem far behind ipad air 2.

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