Apple’s A9X chip provides competitive performance to Intel’s Core M processors


Detailed hardware and software analysis of the iPad Pro’s A9X reveals that the A9X chip performance rivals that of Intel’s low-end Core M processors. 

The folks over at AnandTech published their in-depth review of the iPad Pro where they performed a detail hardware and software analysis of the device. One of the more interesting finds from their results is the fact that the tablet’s A9X chip rivaled the performance of Intel’s Core M processors. The test was conducted to make the comparison and see if Apple’s continued advancedments in both architecture and manufacturing have helped the Cupertino California-based company close the gap when compared to Intel’s slower rate of growth over its last few generations of Core processors. To test the performance, the reviewers put the A9X chip found in Apple’s iPad Pro against the Broadwell-based 12-inch Retina MacBook with a low-end Core M chip and ASUS Transformer Book T300 Chi with a high-end Core M chip and Skylake-based ASUS ZenBook USX305CA with a base-tier Core m3 CPU.

The benchmark results from the SPECint2006† test revealed that the iPad Pro actually holds its own ground against the Retina MacBook and Asus Zenbook UX305CA in certain tests, even going as far as winning certain benchmarks against each of the devices. That being said, the tablet does lag behind slightly in overall performance. What was most interesting here is that the high-end ASUS Transformer Book T300 Chi beat the iPad Pro in every category that it was tested in. The tests overall revealed that Intel’s Core M lineup continues to lead in overall performance but that Apple is quickly catching up. The progress is notable given that several rumors are suggesting that the copmany may release ARM-absed Macs in the future.

If the rumors turn out to be true, Apple would replace the Intel chips that it is using in the Macs with custom designed A-series chips. These chips would presumably allow the company to better time processor upgrades along with their new product launches. For those of you who didn’t know, Apple has had to delay updates its Mac lineup several times due to delays in the production and release of Intel’s newest processors.

Previously, it was reported that Apple has prototyped several ARM-based hardware including the iMac, Mac mini and a 13” notebook. Many doubted if this production would come to fruition as now, roughly two years later, the idea hasn’t made much progress but the recent benchmark results show that Apple is close to offering competitive performance. With a bit more effort,  Apple might be able to start looking into these options in the near future.

[Via AnandTech]