ARM vs Quad Core Atom

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by ha1o2surfer, Apr 8, 2014.

  1. ha1o2surfer, Apr 8, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2014

    ha1o2surfer macrumors 6502

    Sep 24, 2013
    I have heard a lot of people saying the CPUs in iPads and iPhones can compare to full fledge x86 CPUs. I will say one thing, ARM (RISC) chips are amazing in terms of performance to power consumption but I think Intel is making much more impressive leaps in their mobile chips.

    I have a Dell Venue Pro 8 with a 3740D CPU. Quad Core, 1.8ghz with an Intel HD GPU.

    Here is a quick GPGPU benchmark


    My iPhone gets less than 1gflops on the LinPac test.. I will have to do more research on the GPU performance but both my Intel HD and CPU combined gets 45Gflops (x64 gets 50gflops) in this test.. and the power consumption is only 2-3 watts. That is impressive. I can imagine the GPU in the iPad air is much much more powerful though.

    Now here is where everyone is going say, BUT wait the Apple iPad GPU gets 100's of gflops?! They have much more room on the die to work with given the fact that the GPU in my Dell supports Direct X 11, OpenCL, OpenGL, Direct Compute and so on.. where as the PowerVR does OpenGL...

    My Fight here isn't the GPU, it's the CPU.. Just wanted to point that out there. I don't think the Macbook Air will ever get an Atom but a "U" SKU CPU is the perfect match and I son't see Apple Changing to ARM, at all.



    IDK maybe I'm more impressed than anyone else..
  2. iRun26.2 macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2010
    I sure hope you are right! I won't buy a MBA (or whatever new name Apple may choose to call it) unless it has an Intel processor in it.

    In fact, I think I'll wait for Broadwell. :)
  3. jrb363 macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2011
  4. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    I don't care if the results were reversed, it's not about the Gigaflops, it's about software compatibility. I don't fancy re-buying an FTP client, games, or photoshop. And even if Apple released a compatibility layer, I still wouldn't buy it. I relied on rosetta and that disappeared after 2 releases. I just don't trust Apple to keep an x86/ARM emulated around.
  5. ha1o2surfer thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 24, 2013
    I will have to agree with you on that one.


    I didn't trust Microsoft.. but.. Apple, I can imagine, being a little better keeping things compatible but it's a tall order that's for sure.

    I didn't want to flame any tech or anybody in my post just wanted to give somebody some numbers to look at. My LuxMark score is amazing considering a My Macbook Pro with a 3740QM and a GT 650m gets around 700ish. Intel scaled (down) performance and power draw pretty well! That CPU I showed above idles at 200mA! and Total battery draw while playing netflix is under a watt!! That brings my total netflix viewing time to 13 hours (tested, 13.5watt hour battery) and this is just some run of the mill Dell Windows tablet.
  6. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    Not THAT much more powerful, actually:


    In any case, you should run Linpack on your Dell, so we have a definitive comparison between the two CPUs..

    The same compatibility problem would exist on iOS going to x86 as it would on OS X going to ARM: all apps would need to be recompiled to get optimal performance from the new architecture. So, there would be growing pains and little benefit.

    It'll be interesting to see how A8 performs when it comes out, though.

    Gonna be a long wait!
  7. ha1o2surfer, Apr 20, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2014

    ha1o2surfer thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 24, 2013
    So here in LinPack running with similiar problem sizes. My OS isn't x64 but the CPU is so I could squeeze a tiny bit more out of it. I also posted a shot of HWMonitor showing power draw. At this small of problem size the CPU really doesn't get loaded up enough but here it is anyways. While the testing is taking place it uses 320mW ish, with the occasional jump up to 500. (This is power hungry windows don't forget... lol)


    Here is my iPhone (fresh boot)


    just for comparasion, I get 12-14 hours of netflix playing time and months of connected standby. Plus I can run lightroom, adode preimere (can edit HD no problem). It's an awesome device
  8. WallToWallMacs macrumors regular

    Jan 26, 2014
    The only real benefit of ARM is the ability to scale down really, really, really low but once you start tacking on the niceties of a modern CPU then the power usage quickly goes up and ends up matching what Intel has. Intel has one thing that the others don't have - the manufacturing edge which enables them to shrink and shrink some more to the point that these days the reasoning for going with ARM comes down to 'we've always done it this way' in very much the same way that router vendors keep using MIPS even though there are better and cheaper alternatives out there.
  9. ha1o2surfer thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 24, 2013
    Yup that's pretty much it..

    edit: I'm actually using around 450mW at idle with a 18wH battery at half brightness with chrome, lightroom, music playing and utorrent. Do the math, thats a lot of battery !! Its idle for me since i'm just typing this out
  10. kage207 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2008
    You do all know that Intel is actually a RISC processor? It just has a set of CISC that surrounds the RISC for backwards compatibility. So it is technical a hybrid. They do have two completely different instruction sets (though very similar in functionality). The main difference is to being able to accomplish the tasks in different clock ticks and memory.

    Lastly, if Apple went to ARM for a MacBook, I'd leave and never come back. I'd buy the best PC ultrabook I could find and install an OS X on it and wait for the last Intel OS X to come out and wait for it to be open sourced and just start supporting it.

    Though, I'd be just tempted to switch over to Ubuntu and live in bash, I live there anyways. :/

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