iPad Air 2 (Apple A8X) benchmarks reveal tri-core CPU surprise, 2GB of RAM confirmed
The iPad Air 2 is yet to arrive in stores, but some folks have gotten an early look at it and ran it through benchmarks. The results are in and so are some very interesting revelations: Geekbench reports that the iPad Air 2 comes with a very unorthodox tri-core CPU and each core gets a bump in nominal clock speed from 1.4GHz in the A8 to 1.5GHz in the A8X.
Apple adds a third CPU core in the A8XThis additional core explains a lot about the 1 billion increase in transistors, and it further cements the point about the iPad Air being in a whole different league in terms of productivity when compared to the iPhone. This border was blurred last year when both the iPhone and the iPad used largely the same Apple A7 chip, while this year Apple is eager to make a more clear distinction between the two.
The iPad Air 2 has also got 2GB of RAM, double the amount of memory on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and that’s important for multitasking.
Geekbench results give us a well-rounded look at CPU performance:
Interestingly, we can clearly see that after years of enjoying being the undisputed king of single-core performance, Apple is finally seeing some solid competition from the Nexus 9 with its Nvidia Tegra K1 chip. Both the Apple A8X and the Tegra K1 are contemporary 64-bit platforms with large CPU cores, and it shows in the results. The K1 is actually a bit ahead of the Apple A8X in terms of single-core compute.
Cyclone vs Denver
Apple’s Cyclone core on its part is also a large, 6-issue wide OoO design with a mispredict penalty of 14 to 19 cycles, similar to that of Intel’s desktop architectures.
With all those technicalities in mind, it’s worth also pointing out that having three CPU cores results in a spectacular multi-core performance for the iPad Air 2. In fact, comparisons with the 2011 MacBook Air (with what is assumed to be a basic, Core i5 Sandy Bridge configuration, show that the iPad Air 2 actually beats the three year old notebook. Impressive!
Apple iPad Air 2 GPU benchmarked
Finally, we’re also seeing the first results for graphics performance on the iPad Air 2, courtesy of 3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited where the iPad Air 2 scores 21660, less than the 25700-ish score of the Tegra K1. We still have no clear idea what is the exact GPU used in the new iPad Air 2, but we'd bet on the PowerVR GX6650 6-cluster graphics chip, an upgrade from the 4-cluster GX6450 on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Let’s keep in mind, though, that all of these are preliminary benchmarks that we have not yet been able to run on retail devices.
Thanks for the tip, TylerGrunter!