iPad A8X fast as?

Freida

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Oct 22, 2010
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Hello guys,

just wondering what do you think the A8X will be as fast as when compared to Intel's CPU (desktop/mobile). I seem to recall that someone mentioned that A7 is as fast as Core 2 Duo so are we really approaching speed that can be comparable to few years old desktop CPU?

Where do you think we will be able to fit this new A8X in terms of CPU and in terms of GPU performance?

Any guesses?
 

whtrbt7

macrumors 65816
Jun 8, 2011
1,008
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The thing is if you're comparing Apples to Oranges, you'll end up not making any sense. The A8X chip is the fastest tablet/mobile SOC available on the market today. Apple is really pushing real life usage speed so comparing it with Android tablets, it easily outpaces them by far since the main concern for Apple is boosting graphics speed and base processing speed so things seem instantaneous or at least very quick on the newer iPads. Add in the software optimization and advanced APIs like Metal, and the iPad starts competing in arenas where Laptops currently are sitting. The 64 bit architecture to all of Apple's newest iPads and iPhones compare to Macs running on dual core i5s. It's capable of processing photo edits very quickly to jpgs almost at about the same speed as a Macbook Air. The main bottleneck for the iPads at this point is the storage speed and writing changes back to the storage which takes considerably longer than the PCIe SSDs used in Macbook Airs. Next generation iPads whenever they come will probably start to see faster bus speeds and storage speeds in order to really supplant X86 architecture existent in laptops and desktop machines. At least, that's the direction I hope things are going because I'm really tired of carrying a laptop and just want to carry a tablet with much more advanced processing capabilities.
 

QuarterSwede

macrumors G3
Oct 1, 2005
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Colorado Springs, CO
A8X fast as?

The thing is if you're comparing Apples to Oranges, you'll end up not making any sense.
You start off terribly.

The A8X chip is the fastest tablet/mobile SOC available on the market today. Apple is really pushing real life usage speed so comparing it with Android tablets, it easily outpaces them by far since the main concern for Apple is boosting graphics speed and base processing speed so things seem instantaneous or at least very quick on the newer iPads.
You start redeeming yourself here.

Add in the software optimization and advanced APIs like Metal, and the iPad starts competing in arenas where Laptops currently are sitting. The 64 bit architecture to all of Apple's newest iPads and iPhones compare to Macs running on dual core i5s.
You sneak the answer in the middle (bold).

It's capable of processing photo edits very quickly to jpgs almost at about the same speed as a Macbook Air.
Give a good real world example here.

The main bottleneck for the iPads at this point is the storage speed and writing changes back to the storage which takes considerably longer than the PCIe SSDs used in Macbook Airs. Next generation iPads whenever they come will probably start to see faster bus speeds and storage speeds in order to really supplant X86 architecture existent in laptops and desktop machines.
Give a good idea of why and where they're headed in the future here.

At least, that's the direction I hope things are going because I'm really tired of carrying a laptop and just want to carry a tablet with much more advanced processing capabilities.
So why did you start with "you're comparing Apples to Oranges, you'll end up not making any sense?" It was a great answer by the end and you made lots of sense.
 

Freida

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Oct 22, 2010
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I was just curious because it seems to me that every year the iPad is getting closer and closer to be a device that can replace a laptop in many scenarios. The photo editing they demonstrated look good enough and the games are already getting crazy good. The only shame for me is that it doesn't have pressure sensitivity and stylus to go with it so I could use it for drawing etc.

I wonder how long its going to take before ZBrush can be used on iPad :)
That would be super cool :)
 

Freida

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Asking an iPad to replace a laptop is like asking sneakers to replace running shoes.
Which is why I said in 'many scenarios' not all. And if we are at it, one day a tablet might as well be able to do that cause the way we use technology will change and so will the devices. Just like we mainly stopped using desktops and moved to laptops then we might actually in 10-20 years move from laptop and move to 3D holografic UI that can be controlled from anywhere. We don't know that now but if we look what we had in 1994 and what we have now then we can certainly see that in 2034 a laptop might be used in very small and specific cases.
 

Cool Pup

macrumors 6502a
Jun 18, 2010
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Which is why I said in 'many scenarios' not all. And if we are at it, one day a tablet might as well be able to do that cause the way we use technology will change and so will the devices. Just like we mainly stopped using desktops and moved to laptops then we might actually in 10-20 years move from laptop and move to 3D holografic UI that can be controlled from anywhere. We don't know that now but if we look what we had in 1994 and what we have now then we can certainly see that in 2034 a laptop might be used in very small and specific cases.
Well, to be fair, the Surface is doing this right now and is doing a pretty good job of it.

Apple is just slow to the game again, but perhaps this rumored iPad Pro will be able to run OSX and then finally live the dream of a touchscreen computer, because as it stands, the iPad is not equipped to completely replace a computer and the fact it lacks basic splitscreen, multi-app functionality remains a huge detriment that is inexcusable by this point.
 

scupking

macrumors 6502a
Dec 14, 2010
535
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Well, to be fair, the Surface is doing this right now and is doing a pretty good job of it.

Apple is just slow to the game again, but perhaps this rumored iPad Pro will be able to run OSX and then finally live the dream of a touchscreen computer, because as it stands, the iPad is not equipped to completely replace a computer and the fact it lacks basic splitscreen, multi-app functionality remains a huge detriment that is inexcusable by this point.

Recent news is the Surface tablet has had terrible sales, perhaps a few million. Apple has sold over 200 million iPads. The Surface tablet has racked up billions of dollars in losses and microsoft is thinking of canceling it.
 

AdonisSMU

macrumors 604
Oct 23, 2010
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Recent news is the Surface tablet has had terrible sales, perhaps a few million. Apple has sold over 200 million iPads. The Surface tablet has racked up billions of dollars in losses and microsoft is thinking of canceling it.
Do you have a link to that article?
 

awests

macrumors regular
Jul 24, 2014
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Bay Area, CA
Well, to be fair, the Surface is doing this right now and is doing a pretty good job of it.

Apple is just slow to the game again, but perhaps this rumored iPad Pro will be able to run OSX and then finally live the dream of a touchscreen computer, because as it stands, the iPad is not equipped to completely replace a computer and the fact it lacks basic splitscreen, multi-app functionality remains a huge detriment that is inexcusable by this point.
In my opinion, I think the surface and iPad can't really be compared. The iPad is a tablet, while the surface is a mobile computer. The iPad Pro (if it ever exists) will probably be a better comparison to a SP3 than the iPad Air 2.
 

Freida

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Recent news is the Surface tablet has had terrible sales, perhaps a few million. Apple has sold over 200 million iPads. The Surface tablet has racked up billions of dollars in losses and microsoft is thinking of canceling it.
Please don't compare sales to technology. It has nothing to do with it.
Bugatti Veyron lost money also and it was limited but only because it was a proof of concept and a technical marvel.
Cheap champagne or sparkling wine will sell millions of bottles whereas crystal or dom perignon won't have the same volume but that doesn't mean that sales numbers are the only factor. In fact, surface could have been the best tablet in the world but iPad would still probably outsell simply cause of Apple has genius marketing team. Sales numbers mean nothing in terms of quality etc.
On topic though, I would never buy surface as I don't like MS OSes. I was so happy to switch to mac that I don't even want to go through that headache anymore. Its enough for me to watch my gf struggle sometimes with her windows 7 and just looking at it drives me mad :D :D :D
 

Piggie

macrumors G3
Feb 23, 2010
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Recent news is the Surface tablet has had terrible sales, perhaps a few million. Apple has sold over 200 million iPads. The Surface tablet has racked up billions of dollars in losses and microsoft is thinking of canceling it.
What has that got to do with anything?

A few decades ago Amstrad in the UK were amazingly popular with typical consumers.

Selling computers, HiFi systems, Satellite TV box's

They were crap, everyone knew they were junk, they were cheap electronics that just about did the job poorly, in a reasonable looking plastic case that made them look better than what was inside them

Yet they sold in millions and millions.

Or take Betamax, which everyone knew was better than VHS, but VHS won the money from the consumer.

General consumers are dumb. they don't buy what's best, or what's right. they buy whats popular or what the stores push them, they believe adverts, and will dismiss other better product as it does not carry a brand name they think is "cool" or their friends have.

Indeed, consumers will buy things simply because their friends have them.
 

Erasmus

macrumors 68030
Jun 22, 2006
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Hiding from Omnius in Australia
Well, to be fair, the Surface is doing this right now and is doing a pretty good job of it.

Apple is just slow to the game again, but perhaps this rumored iPad Pro will be able to run OSX and then finally live the dream of a touchscreen computer, because as it stands, the iPad is not equipped to completely replace a computer and the fact it lacks basic splitscreen, multi-app functionality remains a huge detriment that is inexcusable by this point.
The problem with giving a tablet the capabilities of a notebook is that you end up with a gimp notebook.
 

mikethebigo

macrumors 68000
May 25, 2009
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147
The thing is if you're comparing Apples to Oranges, you'll end up not making any sense. The A8X chip is the fastest tablet/mobile SOC available on the market today. Apple is really pushing real life usage speed so comparing it with Android tablets, it easily outpaces them by far since the main concern for Apple is boosting graphics speed and base processing speed so things seem instantaneous or at least very quick on the newer iPads. Add in the software optimization and advanced APIs like Metal, and the iPad starts competing in arenas where Laptops currently are sitting. The 64 bit architecture to all of Apple's newest iPads and iPhones compare to Macs running on dual core i5s. It's capable of processing photo edits very quickly to jpgs almost at about the same speed as a Macbook Air. The main bottleneck for the iPads at this point is the storage speed and writing changes back to the storage which takes considerably longer than the PCIe SSDs used in Macbook Airs. Next generation iPads whenever they come will probably start to see faster bus speeds and storage speeds in order to really supplant X86 architecture existent in laptops and desktop machines. At least, that's the direction I hope things are going because I'm really tired of carrying a laptop and just want to carry a tablet with much more advanced processing capabilities.
Interestingly, the nVidia Tegra K1 (64 bit next gen chip in the Nexus 9) is benchmarking significantly faster than even the A8. But both are running right at the verge of being as fast as the first core processors I think from 2010?

You can see the geekbench comparisons online. So while Apple is ahead of Qualcomm, some Android chipmakers are right on the A8's heels. Apple does still have significantly better software optimizations though.

I agree we will soon see the day where the ARM GPU in the iPad will be a real Intel rival.
 

urda

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Jun 15, 2010
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The problem with giving a tablet the capabilities of a notebook is that you end up with a gimp notebook.
Except you don't, you may need to take a moment and review the latest Surface specs (hint, they have Intel i7's in the high end models), because they are on par with other power houses, in addition to having stylus and touch input.
 

Erasmus

macrumors 68030
Jun 22, 2006
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Hiding from Omnius in Australia
Except you don't, you may need to take a moment and review the latest Surface specs (hint, they have Intel i7's in the high end models), because they are on par with other power houses, in addition to having stylus and touch input.
After reviewing the specs, it's roughly equivalent to a Macbook Air, but a bit lighter. It's still almost twice as heavy as an iPad Air 2.

Trying to compare it to "power houses" is preposterous, as a decent MBP would blow it away.

So it's still more of a gimp notebook than a tablet.

----------

Interestingly, the nVidia Tegra K1 (64 bit next gen chip in the Nexus 9) is benchmarking significantly faster than even the A8. But both are running right at the verge of being as fast as the first core processors I think from 2010?
We haven't seen how the A8X performs yet. Sure, it's CPU will be relatively weak compared to a decent i7, but the GPU could well be up there already with Intel.

I agree we will soon see the day where the ARM GPU in the iPad will be a real Intel rival.
If Apple haven't done it with the A8X, I'm not sure they will. Up until now, Apple have been able to shrink a die size pretty much every year. But now, with the A8 using the cutting edge 20nm process, I don't think that will continue. It will have to slow down to every two years.

Unless of course, Apple devote more of the cost of the device to graphics silicon, and up the transistor count. But that would impact the cost of the device and the battery life.
 

TechGod

macrumors 68040
Feb 25, 2014
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The thing is if you're comparing Apples to Oranges, you'll end up not making any sense. The A8X chip is the fastest tablet/mobile SOC available on the market today. Apple is really pushing real life usage speed so comparing it with Android tablets, it easily outpaces them by far since the main concern for Apple is boosting graphics speed and base processing speed so things seem instantaneous or at least very quick on the newer iPads. Add in the software optimization and advanced APIs like Metal, and the iPad starts competing in arenas where Laptops currently are sitting. The 64 bit architecture to all of Apple's newest iPads and iPhones compare to Macs running on dual core i5s. It's capable of processing photo edits very quickly to jpgs almost at about the same speed as a Macbook Air. The main bottleneck for the iPads at this point is the storage speed and writing changes back to the storage which takes considerably longer than the PCIe SSDs used in Macbook Airs. Next generation iPads whenever they come will probably start to see faster bus speeds and storage speeds in order to really supplant X86 architecture existent in laptops and desktop machines. At least, that's the direction I hope things are going because I'm really tired of carrying a laptop and just want to carry a tablet with much more advanced processing capabilities.
The Tegra K1 wrecks the A8.
 

whtrbt7

macrumors 65816
Jun 8, 2011
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It's great that the Tegra K1 can perform awesome in the benchmarks. I'm not the best writer out there and a lot of times I truncate my messages because I don't really care too much about specific details over the large picture. Also providing empirical evidence to support my claims also tends to seem more self serving because there are tons of sites that provide evidence to the contrary. Real life usage speed is not just a benchmark, it's the overall picture in terms of the hardware working with the software. Sure, we can put a Bugatti Veyron engine in a Ford Model T but we can't expect the same results. ARM based processors are trying to compete with X86 processors now because the belief is that we can possibly do more with less. Efficiency in computing and responsive systems tells us that we might be able to achieve some of the same productivity we used to have on X86 systems with the current ARM systems. When we look at the Surface RT, it's not necessarily a bad system, it just lacks the polish and usability a lot of times to an iPad because more developers make apps for iOS vs Windows RT. Windows RT can multitask, split screen, and employ active digitizer tech. It doesn't however make it superior to iOS because different users have different needs. In terms of raw computing power, X86 will always have more of it compared to ARM until people stop using it so much. I'm not saying that ARM will replace X86, it's just that for my purposes, it would be great if ARM stuff can process my photo workflow well enough so I wouldn't have to use an X86 system. Apple doesn't really innovate in terms of base technology, they innovate in human technology. For me, that trumps benchmarks, technical mumbo jumbo, and number jockeying. So yes, I have drunk the Apple Kool-aid and it tastes good.
 

vigilant

macrumors 6502
Aug 7, 2007
452
88
Nashville, TN
In my opinion, I think the surface and iPad can't really be compared. The iPad is a tablet, while the surface is a mobile computer. The iPad Pro (if it ever exists) will probably be a better comparison to a SP3 than the iPad Air 2.
All arguments regarding the Surface Pro and the Surface line in general always seem non-sensical to me. I haven't seen anyone use a Surface as a tablet.

The Surface Pro 3 is actually incredibly interesting to me because of it's hinge, but i haven't seen a use case for the Surface Pro 3 where people actually use it as a tablet. That may change.

----------

The Tegra K1 wrecks the A8.
I really REALLY want to see real world usage of a K1. The entire system is so interesting.

One concern with the K1 for me is sustained performance in tablet or phone form factors. Yes it's a desktop class GPU, but it's running in a mobile form factor. So is it properly power gated to let it run only whats needed for a given task? Does it heat up quicker leading to down clocking the device for heavier workloads?

I won't be surprised at all if the K1 comes up as the better chip for most things then the A8X. The real world trade offs of using the GPU they have in the form factor aren't clear.

I'd imagine for things like browsing the web or sending emails they will probably perform the same. Playing a game will probably give the K1 an edge. But does the frame rate drop after 5 to 10 minutes because the system is throttling the GPU as a result of heat?
 

vigilant

macrumors 6502
Aug 7, 2007
452
88
Nashville, TN
It's great that the Tegra K1 can perform awesome in the benchmarks. I'm not the best writer out there and a lot of times I truncate my messages because I don't really care too much about specific details over the large picture. Also providing empirical evidence to support my claims also tends to seem more self serving because there are tons of sites that provide evidence to the contrary. Real life usage speed is not just a benchmark, it's the overall picture in terms of the hardware working with the software. Sure, we can put a Bugatti Veyron engine in a Ford Model T but we can't expect the same results. ARM based processors are trying to compete with X86 processors now because the belief is that we can possibly do more with less. Efficiency in computing and responsive systems tells us that we might be able to achieve some of the same productivity we used to have on X86 systems with the current ARM systems. When we look at the Surface RT, it's not necessarily a bad system, it just lacks the polish and usability a lot of times to an iPad because more developers make apps for iOS vs Windows RT. Windows RT can multitask, split screen, and employ active digitizer tech. It doesn't however make it superior to iOS because different users have different needs. In terms of raw computing power, X86 will always have more of it compared to ARM until people stop using it so much. I'm not saying that ARM will replace X86, it's just that for my purposes, it would be great if ARM stuff can process my photo workflow well enough so I wouldn't have to use an X86 system. Apple doesn't really innovate in terms of base technology, they innovate in human technology. For me, that trumps benchmarks, technical mumbo jumbo, and number jockeying. So yes, I have drunk the Apple Kool-aid and it tastes good.
It's worth pointing out a few things.
- ARM is a major competitor because just about anyone with a few mil and some engineers can get a chip together using a reference design from ARM. Google's Android is open enough that you can get some more engineers to get Android working well on it.
- ARM is CHEAP. Last time I looked it is realistically about $40 for an Intel Atom not including everything else built around it. Lowest price I can find for an Intel Core i3 just for the processor is $109. The fab cost for an A7 last year was about $16.
- X86 has had smaller annual performance increases over the last few years at higher wattage. ARM has been steadily increasing across the board. This year for Apple was a smaller jump in terms of CPU performance but it's still 25-30% improvement over last year compared to last years 2X with the A7. This is all while being at about the same power consumption. Intel's Broadwell chipset is going to be big improvement in power consumption but is only marginally faster if at all.

ARM right now is in a fantastic sweet spot of cost, barrier to entry, and power that Intel can't compete with in Tablets. Intel's server processors are far more expensive then the Desktop line, and those end up being virtualized into many smaller servers. The big threat ARM has over Intel is if Windows Server or something along those lines gets ported to ARM with the same tool chain it's believable that ARM could eat Intel's lunch. Why spend between $1000-$2000 for a CPU that gets virtualized into 60-100 servers when you can have the same workload on 60-100 actual chips for the same money?
 

TechGod

macrumors 68040
Feb 25, 2014
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New Zealand
All arguments regarding the Surface Pro and the Surface line in general always seem non-sensical to me. I haven't seen anyone use a Surface as a tablet.

The Surface Pro 3 is actually incredibly interesting to me because of it's hinge, but i haven't seen a use case for the Surface Pro 3 where people actually use it as a tablet. That may change.

----------



I really REALLY want to see real world usage of a K1. The entire system is so interesting.

One concern with the K1 for me is sustained performance in tablet or phone form factors. Yes it's a desktop class GPU, but it's running in a mobile form factor. So is it properly power gated to let it run only whats needed for a given task? Does it heat up quicker leading to down clocking the device for heavier workloads?

I won't be surprised at all if the K1 comes up as the better chip for most things then the A8X. The real world trade offs of using the GPU they have in the form factor aren't clear.

I'd imagine for things like browsing the web or sending emails they will probably perform the same. Playing a game will probably give the K1 an edge. But does the frame rate drop after 5 to 10 minutes because the system is throttling the GPU as a result of heat?
The K1 is tablet only so that should be just one indication to how powerful it is, the 32bit version has a quad core CPU and the 64bit version is dual core.

The K1 btw is in the Nexus 9 and it beats(I believe) the Intel HD 4400! an integrated GPU gets destroyed by a tablet GPU which blew my mind. Some info on it here


Furthermore the K1 isn't amazingly more powerful CPU wise compared to the A7 but damn, in GPU performance it just beats ANYTHING on the market as this shows

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Not really, a8 is faster in multicore, same in single core, gpu around the same.

K1 running in 2mm thicker tablet
Nope the regular A8 gets beat by the K1 but the A8X is much more powerful than the A8 so that will be a very interesting comparison between the A8X and the K1.
 

urda

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Jun 15, 2010
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After reviewing the specs, it's roughly equivalent to a Macbook Air, but a bit lighter. It's still almost twice as heavy as an iPad Air 2.
Last point is useless, as iOS is not equal to an actual desktop operating system. There are some thing iOS does well, but actual desktop apps is not one thing it does at all.

Trying to compare it to "power houses" is preposterous, as a decent MBP would blow it away.
A MBP isn't in the same category as a Surface. But gasp the surface is still powerful enough for most laptop and tablet considerations. In fact, MBP's are consider very high end to begin with so many laptops won't be able to compare. Consider reviewing the current market and specs of other devices before continuing.

So it's still more of a gimp notebook than a tablet.
QED A Surface, even when compared with an Macbook Air, is very much so a full grade laptop as well as having stylus and tablet input. So that isn't exactly gimped.
 
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