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Apple iPhone 6 (Apple A8) performance review: CPU and GPU compared to the best Android phones out there

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Now, it’s time to look at benchmarks and how exactly does Apple achieve those additional 17% of CPU improvement, on top of the 8% granted with the clock speed boost to arrive at the advertized 25% number. 

We don’t currently have the tools to run low-level tests closer to the metal, but good work on instruction parallelism optimizations is the likely culprit to this.

We start our tests with GeekBench 3.2, a cross-platform benchmark that gives a nice detailed breakdown of integer, floating point and memory performance, segmented in a single-core and multi-core view. GeekBench also gives a grand total score that makes it easy to compare devices, if you don't want to look at that in excruciating detail. 

It's important to note that the benchmark scores very a little between runs (a very insignificant margin), so results may vary, but the difference should be no bigger than say 2-3%. GeekBench version 3.1 added support for 64-bit chips, and introduced some changes to the memory testing, while version 3.2 of the benchmark has been released just recently adding 32-bit ARMv8 processor support.




Note that Geekbench 3 total scores are calibrated against a baseline score of 2500 (which is the score of an Intel Core i5-2520M @ 2.50 GHz). Higher scores are better, with double the score indicating double the performance.

Overall, after a huge boost in encryption with the A7, here we're seeing more balanced gains. Still, the improvements in image processing is particularly large, as testified by image compression and the Sobel test. Lua, a simple lightweight scripting language often used by game programmers, scores are also improved, and Dijkstra used for AI game path calculations also sees a huge improvement. Integer and floating point performance have each grown by more than 20%.

We have not been able to measure the power footprint of the Apple A8, but some reports claim that average power consumption has increased by some 15% form 4.3W for the A7 to around 5.0W for the A8.

What all of these results show is that Apple is still far ahead the Android pack when it comes to single-core performance.

Further investigation CPU performance, we turn to the Sunspider benchmark. Sunspider is one of the most popular browser-based cross-platform benchmarks and as such many vendors optimize their design to accomodate for it.


For a second reference point, a similarly stressful CPU test is Mozilla's Kraken. The A8 with Cyclone has a significant lead here as well.


RAM


The iPhone 5s was the first iPhone to switch to using LPDDR3 type of RAM, and the iPhone 6 continues on that tradition. All models come with 1GB of RAM, an amount that Apple has considered sufficient.

We would have preferred to see 2GB in order for the phone to be more future proof, but given the way iOS handles multi-tasking, it seems that having 1GB of RAM on the iPhone 6 does not really slow down performance.

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