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Old Mar 31, 2014, 04:17 PM   #1
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Apple's A7 Processor Truly 'Desktop Class', iOS Apps Don't Take Full Advantage




AnandTech provides a detailed analysis of Apple's A7 (ARM-based) mobile processor which was introduced in the iPhone 5s. The latest information and analysis comes from Apple's own code changes to the LLVM Compiler project.

While AnandTech goes into great detail on the architecture of the A7 chip and how it compares to the A6, they conclude that the A7 chip is indeed -- as Apple claimed -- "desktop class" and "the rest of the players in the ultra mobile CPU space didn't aim high enough". In fact, they found that there are almost no iOS apps that take full advantage of the A7 processor. The processor even seems overpowered for the current devices in both RAM bottlenecks and battery consumption.

Qualcomm chief marketing officer originally described the 64-bit A7 as a "marketing gimmick" but Qualcomm later backtracked on that statement. Another Qualcomm employee then said that the 64-bit Apple chip "hit us in the gut."
Quote:
"Not just us, but everyone, really. We were slack-jawed, and stunned, and unprepared. It's not that big a performance difference right now, since most current software won't benefit. But in Spinal Tap terms it's like, 32 more, and now everyone wants it."
Any reference to "desktop class" Apple processors may remind readers that there have been recurring rumors that Apple has been testing ARM processor based MacBook Airs. Apple even threatened that it would stop using Intel chips due to concerns over power consumption. AMD or even ARM were speculated to be possible alternatives.

Article Link: Apple's A7 Processor Truly 'Desktop Class', iOS Apps Don't Take Full Advantage
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Old Mar 31, 2014, 04:20 PM   #2
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I think its hilarious that even Apple's old dual core A6 processor in the iPhone 5C from last year's model is on par with current top of the line" hexacore" Android phones like Galaxy S5.

The 64 bit A7 is in a whole 'nother league. Just goes to show how much more advanced iOS and their engineering team is combined with Apple's philosophy of precisely matching software with hardware. My guess is they have big plans for iOS and the A8 chip. Much bigger than just a phone.

Last edited by newagemac; Mar 31, 2014 at 04:25 PM.
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Old Mar 31, 2014, 04:20 PM   #3
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It'll power some nice games in that new Apple TV
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Old Mar 31, 2014, 04:21 PM   #4
TechGod
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Wasn't really surprised. Aanand tech did a great review on it and showed it's prowess.
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Old Mar 31, 2014, 04:21 PM   #5
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The processor even seems overpowered for the current devices in both RAM bottlenecks and battery consumption.
Wait! I thought 1GB is more than sufficient and there would be no point in having 2GB of RAM in any iDevice! (At least Apple fanboys state this...)
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Old Mar 31, 2014, 04:21 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by newagemac View Post
I think its hilarious that even Apple's last year's dual core processor in the iPhone 5C is on par with current top of the line" hexacore" Android phones like Galaxy S5.

The 64 bit A7 is in a whole 'nother league. My guess is they have big plans for iOS and the A8 chip. Much bigger than just a phone.
S5 is quad.
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Old Mar 31, 2014, 04:21 PM   #7
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Gosh! And A8 is already on its way ...
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Old Mar 31, 2014, 04:22 PM   #8
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LOL. Spinal Tap terms.
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Old Mar 31, 2014, 04:23 PM   #9
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No wonder, iOS runs smooth as butter eh?
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Old Mar 31, 2014, 04:24 PM   #10
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I've said it before, and I say it again. The next big thing is the full OS X on ARM.
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Old Mar 31, 2014, 04:24 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Menneisyys2 View Post
Wait! I thought 1GB is more than sufficient and there would be no point in having 2GB of RAM in any iDevice! (At least Apple fanboys state this...)
Setting aside your strawman argument, a RAM bottleneck refers to the speed of the RAM, not the amount of memory.
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Old Mar 31, 2014, 04:25 PM   #12
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I wonder which current apps come the closest to maximizing the performance of the A7.
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Old Mar 31, 2014, 04:26 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Menneisyys2 View Post
there would be no point in having 2GB of RAM in any iDevice! (At least Apple fanboys state this...)
Quote or it didn't happen.

I for one have always been for adding more RAM to mobile devices.
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Old Mar 31, 2014, 04:27 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Menneisyys2 View Post
Wait! I thought 1GB is more than sufficient and there would be no point in having 2GB of RAM in any iDevice! (At least Apple fanboys state this...)
We were specifically talking about the way in which iOS 6 and iOS 7 runs apps. (Which is to say, one at a time with some exceptions.) More RAM will obviously be needed once iOS expands its capabilities in future versions.

You apparently missed half of the conversation.
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Old Mar 31, 2014, 04:28 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by BaldiMac View Post
Setting aside your strawman argument, a RAM bottleneck refers to the speed of the RAM, not the amount of memory.
You're totally wrong. A citation from the original article:

"The other problem I see is that although Cyclone is incredibly forward looking, it launched in devices with only 1GB of RAM. It's very likely that you'll run into memory limits before you hit CPU performance limits if you plan on keeping your device for a long time."


That is, it's the (meager, particularly in 64-bit devices) size of the RAM that is the bottleneck, and not the speed of it.
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Old Mar 31, 2014, 04:28 PM   #16
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Arm is going into a Macbook sooner than later. Apple spends so much in the A chip's development there is no way they don't have the roadmap for it. Rosetta we meet again.
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Old Mar 31, 2014, 04:28 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by MacRumors View Post
Any reference to "desktop class" Apple processors may remind readers that there have been recurring rumors that Apple has been testing ARM processor based MacBook Airs. Apple even threatened that they would stop using Intel chips due to concerns over power consumption. AMD or even ARM were speculated to be possible alternatives.

Article Link: Apple's A7 Processor Truly 'Desktop Class', iOS Apps Don't Take Full Advantage
Doubt it.

It will be awhile before Macs go to ARM-powered chips. At least ... if you believe the guy who you're citing in the article.

Additionally, having a non- x86 MBA would be such a PITA, in terms of software compatability.

I doubt Apple would fragment the Mac lineup like that. It's OK for iPad, since the entire app ecosystem is different. But it won't fly on a laptop anytime soon.
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Old Mar 31, 2014, 04:29 PM   #18
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They, The other companies deserved this for all the immature antics and bullying they do to Apple.

With their crapola mediocre products they keep producing.
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Old Mar 31, 2014, 04:30 PM   #19
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If Apple goes on to switch from Intel to ARM on the Mac, I hope it doesn't happen for a very long time. I don't think I can handle another architecture change so soon.
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Old Mar 31, 2014, 04:31 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Menneisyys2 View Post
Wait! I thought 1GB is more than sufficient and there would be no point in having 2GB of RAM in any iDevice! (At least Apple fanboys state this...)
What? This is nonsense. No one ever said that.
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Old Mar 31, 2014, 04:32 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by pika2000 View Post
I've said it before, and I say it again. The next big thing is the full OS X on ARM.
That's not a big deal.
OS-X has been on PowerPC and Intel.
When it was called NeXTStep is ran on 68030, 68040, Mips and Sparc.
Porting the base OS is not, nor has ever been an issue.

No matter what they say the ARM is still not a desktop class processor, even in 64 Bit trim.
iOS has most of MacOS just crippled for the masses. iOS is still BSD below.
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Old Mar 31, 2014, 04:32 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by appledes7 View Post
Quote or it didn't happen.
For example, http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3566541?page=3

(Make sure you're in "flat view"):

"No, the current iPad and iPhones have 1 gig because that's the current sweet spot of cost versus performance. More memory is not free. Doubling it to 2 gig won't make a huge difference, except in very specific situations."

And it's only one example. (I've had a lot of heated discussions with the guy that wrote this, "gaussian blur". I consider him a blind Apple fanboy. In many of his other posts he did state iDevices don't need more than 1GB of RAM.)
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Old Mar 31, 2014, 04:33 PM   #23
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People constantly insist that iOS devices don't need any more ram, regardless of actual real world performance. Seriously, now people are pretending nobody has ever said that?
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Old Mar 31, 2014, 04:33 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newagemac View Post
I think its hilarious that even Apple's old dual core A6 processor in the iPhone 5C from last year's model is on par with current top of the line" hexacore" Android phones like Galaxy S5.

The 64 bit A7 is in a whole 'nother league. Just goes to show how much more advanced iOS and their engineering team is combined with Apple's philosophy of precisely matching software with hardware. My guess is they have big plans for iOS and the A8 chip. Much bigger than just a phone.
Got any reliable benchmarks to back that up?

A7 is pretty amazing, but as the Qualcomm guy stated in the article, real performance advantage of 64 bit is fairly limited, especially at this point in time. The real benefit of the transition (as shown in the PC space) is being able to address more than 4 GB of of RAM, which the iPhone doesn't currently have.

Also, what the hell does "much bigger than just a phone" even mean?

Honestly, this all just sounds like mindless Apple fanboy crap to me.

Sure, Apple does a lot of great things, and makes some really great product. But don't kid yourself, they're not the only company in the world capable of making great products.
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Old Mar 31, 2014, 04:33 PM   #25
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What? This is nonsense. No one ever said that.
Absolutely wrong. This "1GB is sufficient" is very frequently stated by Apple fanboys - see my just-posted link & quotation at http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost...6&postcount=24
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