First, it was discovered that Samsung’s A9 chip is smaller than TSMC’s A9 chip. Then, soon after, tests showed that iPhone 6s and 6s Plus units installed with TSMC’s variant are outperforming Samsung-equipped models.
Those initial tests, which used benchmarking software to get their numbers, indicated that at some points, the battery life in an iPhone 6s with a TSMC chip inside could last up to two hours longer than one with a Samsung-manufactured chip. Eventually “real world tests” were utilized to see how things stacked up in that area, with the results indicating not such a huge gap as some of those first tests would have suggested.
Indeed, Apple would chime in and say that the differences in its own testing indicated that there was only a 2% to 3% difference between a TSMC and Samsung A9 processor-equipped iPhone.
Now, Ars Technica has conducted their own “controlled tests,” all in an attempt to get a clearer picture to how “chipgate” really stacks up in the real world.
The results? They line up pretty nicely with Apple’s official statements regarding the differences. The publication ran several different tests, including WebGL, Geekbench 3, Wi-Fi browsing, and others. Those tests showed that there’s only a small difference between the two processors, with the Geekbench 3 tests showing a much broader expanse between the batteries. This was the case with the previous tests, too, so it’s not surprising to see it here again.
The results show what we’ve seen in the past, and what Apple has stated on its own: Under constant testing, there will be some differences in battery life, but the real world implications are not that vast.
“So there are definitely circumstances under which the TSMC phone will last longer than the Samsung phone, but it’s not a universal problem. A Samsung chip that’s mostly idling or even one under modest CPU and GPU load, though, is going to behave in just about the same way as a TSMC chip. And the kinds of CPU-intensive work that the Samsung chip seems to struggle with just aren’t that common on smartphones. Most of the time, iPhone 6S battery life should be similar no matter which chip your phone is using.”
There will probably be more tests incoming as people try to show one end of the spectrum or another, but at this point it seems pretty definitive: There is indeed a difference in battery life in iPhones when TSMC A9-equipped models are compared to Samsung A9-equipped devices, but those differences are minimal out there in the real world.
Have you already tried to see which processor is in your iPhone 6s or 6s Plus?[via Ars Technica]