Apple announced the transition to its own custom-designed processors for Mac at the WWDC. The company also offered a custom made Mac Mini with A12Z chip for developers to test their apps on an Arm-based Mac. Apple forbids developers from running benchmarks on the custom Mac Mini, however, benchmark results of the modified Mac are already out in the wild.
The Geekbench results reveal an 811 score for single-core and 2,781 multi-core score for the A12Z Mac Mini. The modified Mac Mini is running Apple’s Rosetta 2 and in all likelihood, the performance will improve with future iterations. In other words, the chip’s performance could be limited and the final ARM Macs are expected to be equipped with faster chips. For instance, Apple used Intel Pentium CPU’s in DTK in 2009, however, they switched to much faster Intel Core i CPU’s in the final product.
It can also be noticed that Rosetta 2 seems to be using only the four performance cores in the A12Z and not the four efficiency cores. As far as clock speed is concerned, the A12Z is clocked at 2.4GHz. The iPad Pro is also powered by A12Z chip and is clocked a shade higher at 2.5GHz. It is also worth noting that iPad Pro’s scores a single-core average of 1,100 and the multi-score average hovers around 4,600. This makes us believe that future Macs with Apple Silicon will be much faster than the Mac Mini DTK.
Rosetta 2 is going to play a crucial role in the transition to Apple Silicon. It is a macOS Big Sur emulator capable of running old Mac apps. The Mac Mini DTK Kit comes with Rosetta 2 and allows developers to run older Intel apps without making any changes. In other words, Rosetta 2 is expected to make the transition from Intel to Apple Silicon much smoother for developers.[via Geekbench]