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


When it comes to the iPhone, Apple has a 7-year old history with Imagination Technologies, and it’s a large shareholder in the company, so it’s no surprise that the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus ship with an ImgTec GPU. Initial speculations about a 6-cluster Rogue XT turned out to be wrong, and die images show that the GPU used in the Apple A8 features a 4-USC design. The most likely candidate is thus the PowerVR GX6450.

Apple claims that it delivers up to 50% improvement, in line with ImgTec’s CES announcements for Series6XT GPUs being “up to 50% faster compared to their Series6 counterparts, clock for clock, cluster for cluster”.

After nVidia unveiled its monstrous Tegra K1 with a 192 CUDA core Kepler GPU, ImgTec has opened up, providing more details about its architecture in an attempt to make it clear that core counting is done differently on the two GPUs (and naturally, that Rogue XT is not at a huge disadvantage). From that, we learned that Rogue XT adds more FP16 compute power, which sounds like a strange decision given that even FP32 has been seen as not precise enough on desktops. Mobile is obviously a totally different platform, and ImgTec is banking on that a lot of mobile content uses only FP16 in shaders.

In the GX6450 in particular, we have ASTC support added, as well as ray tracing hardware. ImgTec has also added some nice architectural improvements for better low-power performance: things like turning parts of the design like clusters on and off, better resource management, an updated rasterizer, and improved GPU compute paths.

Apple put up a demo at the iPhone 6 unveiling of a game by Super Mega Evilcorp where we saw a live rendition of a virtual world of 1.3 million polygons running at 60fps. Luckily, for graphics, we have a nice set of cross-platform benchmarks that give us a good idea about the level of performance of the GX6450 when compared to the latest on Android. We can see that the iPhone 6 GPU is at the top, with similarly powerful performance as the Adreno 420 in the Snapdragon 805 (available now only on the Galaxy Note 4).

If the T-Rex HD component of GFXBench is demanding, then the Manhattan test is downright gruelling. It's a GPU-centric test that simulates an extremely graphically intensive gaming environment that is meant to push the GPU to the max. that simulates a graphically-intensive gaming environment on the screen. The results achieved are measured in frames per second, with more frames being better.

Higher is better
Google Nexus 5
9.4
LG G3
7.5
HTC One (M8)
11
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
9.77
Samsung Galaxy S5
11.7
Apple iPhone 6
25.8


Higher is better
Google Nexus 5
8.9
LG G3
11.4
HTC One (M8)
11.8
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
9.4
Samsung Galaxy S5
11.8
Apple iPhone 5s
12.9
Apple iPhone 6
17.8



Conclusion


With the A8, Apple has made gradual progress, polishing what’s already one of the most powerful CPUs out there and further extending its lead in CPU performance when compared to Android. Apple has made great use of its scale and is the first smartphone maker to deliver a 20nm chip in meaningful volume (Samsung’s 20nm Exynos in the Galaxy Alpha is not really shipping in big quantities). The company has also done great with with the ISP, and this has allowed it to pack features never before seen on a smartphone like 240fps at 720p.

What’s particularly impressive in comparison with the Android ecosystem, is how smooth and fast Apple is executing the transition to 64-bit. Next year, we expect all iPhones to ship with 64-bit hardware, and in a couple of years we’ll have completed the transition. For Android, this will be a much more painful process, as even current flagships ship with 32-bit chips, and the situation will only start changing early next year.

Admittedly, the 1GB of RAM makes the new iPhone 6 less future proof, but given the way iOS multitasks, this does not result in any slowdowns to performance. On the GPU front, the new GX6450 is at the top of the charts as well, but here we have relative parity with Android’s leading hardware in the form of the Adreno 420 in the Snapdragon 805.

With all this in mind, the Apple A8 reiterates the iPhone 6’s position on top of the performance charts. Android and Qualcomm, it’s your turn now.

Related phones

iPhone 6
  • Display 4.7" 750 x 1334 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Apple A8, Dual-core, 1400 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 1810 mAh(14h 3G talk time)

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156 Comments

1. shaineql

Posts: 522; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

3x Bigger resolution and Samsung phones still keep up , awesome job !

2. promise7

Posts: 894; Member since: Jul 03, 2013

Moral victory FTW!

10. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Can they keep up over time though? I rest my case

12. Duketytz

Posts: 534; Member since: Nov 28, 2013

In case you aren't aware some iPhones cannot keep up with times too. Ask anyone with iPhone 4S/5 on ios 7 and you will hear lag issues

20. Switch00

Posts: 536; Member since: Sep 04, 2013

Apple basicaly destroyed my Ipad1 with IOS5 update. I'm still able to use my ZXSpectrum from the 80's in exactly the same way as on the first day, while on the other hand, the 'revolutionary' Ipad device is only good for cutting baloney on it on a hangover morning. I will be glad to show the difference between both devices to my grandkids.

32. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

With 1gb of ram and still uses dual core.

36. LetsBeHonest

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

Didn't heard any issues from 5 but 4s lags a little bit sometimes. Any way apple CPU's are great for running idevices(give credits guys they deserves it) but I think they should have increased the amount of ram.

146. Dr.Hye

Posts: 95; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

I agree with you here bud. But they should have I creased ram I don't care what their excuse is to not increase ram. More room always is better than tying to cram everything in one small room.

160. TheRabidUnicorn

Posts: 7; Member since: May 19, 2015

But they can't multitask android devices need high powered CPUs and more ram to run multiple operations at the same time. However iOS cannot multitask therefore it doesn't need good prossesors but for some reason they deside to price their phones between $750 and $950 Where as the moto g which has the same specs is $180

22. Zomer

Posts: 361; Member since: May 31, 2013

Lol, Apple makes Samsung looks like a old car.

74. EclipseGSX

Posts: 1774; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Please elaborate how "Apple makes Samsung looks like a old car" Pretty sure cars and phones have very different yet distinct looks.

118. icrappy

Posts: 42; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

but speed between the s5 and the iphone 6 is barely noticeable despite that the s5 is running on a 32 bit instruction set

161. TheRabidUnicorn

Posts: 7; Member since: May 19, 2015

Why does apple need 64bit if they aren't putting more than 4gb of ram in their phones that's the only reason to have 64bit

42. alias3800

Posts: 61; Member since: Jul 09, 2014

...... Define "keep up."

49. ABDULGHAFOOR

Posts: 106; Member since: May 04, 2012

I am a proud owner of galaxy s4 but i will say honestly that iphones 6, 2012 specs are still batter than any 2014 smartphones

53. Tritinum

Posts: 471; Member since: May 06, 2014

batter sure (whatever that is), better? nope.

101. ABDULGHAFOOR

Posts: 106; Member since: May 04, 2012

Better* typing mistake :/

105. Neo_Huang

Posts: 1067; Member since: Dec 06, 2013

That is because the screen resolution is lower and iOS does a lot less multitasking.

162. TheRabidUnicorn

Posts: 7; Member since: May 19, 2015

In fact no multitasking at all

143. icrappy

Posts: 42; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

i wonder what will happen to apple if samsung gets pissed off and stop supplying parts for apple?

147. Dr.Hye

Posts: 95; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

Then you must still be in 2012.

60. bur60

Posts: 981; Member since: Jul 07, 2014

Why dont they add z3 compact in the list as standard? It gets almost the same scores as the iPhones with its 720p.. stupid PA

113. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Also why use browser benchmarks (Sunspider & Kraken) to compare CPU performance They mainly test Safari Vs Chrome Vs OEM's browser Unless if they are using the same browser They should have used Geekbench (a CPU benchmark) for the comparisons (though ARM v8 has an advantage) ~4200 - Note 4 (Exynos 8433 ARM v8) ~3200 - NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet (K1 ARM v7) ~3200 - Samsung Galaxy Alpha (Exynos 8430 ARM v7) ~3200 - Samsung Galaxy S5 LTE-A (Snapdragon 805 ARM v7) ~2900 - Moto X (2014) (Snapdragon 801 ARM v7)

138. vgroc

Posts: 1; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

Absolutely correct. They should have used Geekbench (CPU) and Antutu (overall benchmark) for CPU comparisons. Whoever made this article tried to make A8 look better. All in all, the new iPhones have a better GPU but Android flagships with SD 801 and newer SoC have a better CPU. So choose what you prefer, personally I don't play games on my phone so I prefer a faster CPU.

155. SteveS

Posts: 51; Member since: Oct 15, 2013

@vincelongman Why stop there... 4477 - iPad Air 2 (Apple A8X)

61. UglyFrank

Posts: 2193; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

It is official S805 is on the same level as the G6450

71. Salazzi

Posts: 537; Member since: Feb 17, 2014

3x the resolution? You don't know what you're talking about. That would mean Samsung phones have 4,000x2,250 if 3x iPhone 6, and 5760x3240p. None of which are reality. As a matter of fact, the S5 has the same resolution as the 6+. The Note 4, which has yet to be released, has less than 2x the resolution of the 6. 1334x750 vs 2560x1440.. double would be 2668x1500. Compared to the 6+, the Note 4 has only 25% more pixels, at 2560x1440 vs 1920x1080. Apple beat the S5 (similar resolution) in all the tests done, both CPU and GPU. To think at 2560x1440, let alone *3* times the resolution, Samsung would be keeping up, when at the same resolution it's behind, is pure ignorance. Let's not even bring up the fact that a device with 2GB ram and Quad core (2.5ghz per core) processor, got it's behind whooped by a Dual core (1.39ghz per core) 1GB ram device.

77. leotrim

Posts: 27; Member since: Oct 01, 2014

2560x1440 it mean 3.686.400 pixel 1920x1080 have just 2.073.600 pixel if u can see note have more around 1.500.000 pixel

85. Salazzi

Posts: 537; Member since: Feb 17, 2014

read again. What was stated was "3x bigger resolution", not "3x more pixels", and my response was targeted toward this comment. Nevertheless, we shouldn't overlook the fact that the S5 has the same amount of pixels as the 6+, and as can be seen, was demolished by the iPhone in comparisons.

79. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

2560x1440 is 25% more pixels than 1920x1080? More like 77% more pixels. Let's not bring up the fact that an Armv8 64bit cpu is faster than an Armv7 32bit cpu. It has better instruction sets, with double the amount of instructions it can perform simultaneous.

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