Let’s talk about the BIG Apple Silicon Chips. M1X and beyond.
In Colaboration with Apple Tomorrow https://twitter.com/apple_tomorrow?s=21
Since Apple Silicon was first announced at WWDC 2020, Apple’s first digital event, everyone wondered what kind of performance we’d see. In August, Epic YouTuber Luke Miani calculated what he expected the A14X performance numbers could be, assuming that A14X was most likely to power the first Apple Silicon Macs. Of course, what we got was the M1, but structurally and in terms of performance, Luke absolutely nailed it, with his scored being within around 1-2% of the actual figures. Now as I’ve mentioned I’m pretty confident that Apple will use the same silicon for A14X based iPad Pros as is M1, with the only difference physically being the name screen printed on to the chip, but potentially with different firmware disabling and repurposing different parts of the SOC.
The M1X variant is expected to take the M1 which contains 4 efficiency cores, dubbed IceStorm and 4 high performance cores, or Firestorm cores along with an 8 Core GPU and double both GPU and Performance cores. These cores by the way are identical architecturally to the cores in your iPhone 12, but the iPhone has 4 IceStorm cores and a pair of Firestorm cores.
Luke has of course, earlier this month made his predictions for the M1X and the Geekbench score he’s touting for this is 13586, which is a mighty impressive number. That puts it somewhere between an Intel Xeon Gold 5218R with 20 cores and the 18 core Xeon W -2295. Now my own prediction which I made around the end of November last year was slightly more optimistic at 14193, Which is pretty much bang on AMD Ryzen 9 5900X territory. Now bear in mind this is the chip we’re expecting to see come to the iMac and both the 14” and 16” MacBook Pros this year, and at least some of those look to be just around the corner, though I have a feeling Apple may surprise us and launch the whole range in April. Latest rumours suggest an event on April 6th which would mean a March 30th invitation, so keep your eyes peeled.
So over the weekend I was talking to Saad from Apple Tomorrow, and we decided to work out what we could be looking at in terms of the other rumoured Apple Silicon processors performance wise, both in CPU and GPU Power assuming Apple follows the kind of performance we’ve seen so far. So what kind of performance could we be looking at when Apple has completed its lineup of Apple Silicon Macs, all the way up to, and including that Apple Silicon Mac Pro, with a rumoured 32 Firestorm cores inside. But more on that in a bit. Saad has done the math for the CPUs as well as the renders, and I’ve done the GPU calculations. If you’re not following Saad on Twitter, pause the video here and go do that, as he also made all the renders in the video today. It’s okay, I’ll wait.
First, That M1X, we’ve seen a couple of fairly similar scores for the CPU performance, calculated in very different ways so I think we can assume, as long as the structure is 4 Little and 8 Big cores as we expect, that those numbers are in the right ball park. But on graphics, we’ve not seen any predictions, so let’s fix that. M1X is expected to double the GPU Cores from M1 up to 16 so let’s see how they’re likely to scale.
The A14 has confused me a little here as the iPhone 12 A14 and iPad Air A14 both have 4 cores, yet, we’ve got a couple of very different results. The iPhone 12 Pro Max gave 9202 in Metal and the iPad Air 12516. The iPad is also about 9% faster in CPU performance as noted by Antutu back in October last year, but the almost 30% difference in graphics performance was a big surprise to me.
That difference is important too because when we’re comparing to what the M1 can do, its important to know what the A14 is capable of from its 4 Core GPU. So 4 cores in the Air gives 12516 vs M1 with 22032 which is a 76% increase by doubling the cores. So assuming that holds true, we’d be going up to 38776 with a 16 Core GPU. If you’re wondering why we’re not just doubling performance, its a combination of heat dissipation and overhead that means double the hardware doesn’t just double the numbers.
38776 puts it above the FirePro D700 that was the highest end option in the Mac Pro 2013, the Radeon Pro 5500M and the Nvidia Quadro P4000. Pretty good for what we assume will be an integrated GPU as a part of the SOC just like the M1.
So that’s the next SOC we’re expecting, and right now we seem to be looking at these coming in 14 & 16” MacBook Pros as well as the new designed iMac models, though there are also rumours that there could be an M1 iMac too. I’m skeptical, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they offered an M1 based iMac model exclusively to the education market. I don’t think it will be a consumer product though.
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