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The news that Apple dual sourced its A9 chips for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus has been a point of discussion over the past few weeks, especially when new battery tests on the phones pointed towards the TSMC chips outperforming those made by Samsung. Following the news, several YouTubers have begun creating videos to compare the dual sourced chips in both battery-straining tests and basic real-world scenarios.

In the first video, Austin Evans compared identical models of the iPhone 6s -- one with the Samsung chip and one with the TSMC chip -- and calibrated their screens so they had the exact same brightness. After running the GeekBench 3 battery test until they both ran down to 50 percent battery life, Evans discovered that the TSMC iPhone 6s lasted fifty minutes longer than the Samsung version, "resulting in a nearly 1.5 times difference in battery life." Thermal imaging also showed the Samsung device running hotter than the TSMC version.

Evans also ran a lighter battery test, playing the same hour-long YouTube video on each device to see how a more day-to-day scenario would affect each chip. In the end, he saw only a one percentage point difference in battery drain, noting that while heavy-use cases could see the TSMC chips come out on top, highlighting the differences between benchmarks and real-world usage.


The next video is from Jonathan Morrison, who compared each chip by running a 30-minute timelapse with all the same settings and brightness running on each device. After the test, the Samsung iPhone 6s was down to 84 percent battery, while the TSMC version came in on top with 89 percent remaining. Morrison continued testing the battery strength of each chip with a ten-minute 4k video test, exporting the video file in iMovie, and finishing off by running GeekBench 3. At the end of the full set of tests, the iPhone with the Samsung chip was at 55 percent battery while the TSMC device was at 62 percent.


The takeaway from Morrison and Evans' videos today seems to be that while intense cases like synthetic Geekbench tests designed to push devices to their limits revealed as high as a 22% difference in battery life between devices using the two chips, real-world impacts may be much smaller depending on the mix of activities. In these specific usage patterns shown above, battery life differences between the two processors ranged from 6% to 11%.

Article Link: Samsung and TSMC iPhone 6s Chips Show Smaller Real-World Battery Impacts Compared to Benchmarks
 
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Flow39

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Just thought I'd point this out. In the last article showing the parity between battery life tests, one of the phones had an Active SIM and the other phone had No SIM and did not have Airplane mode on, which made it drain more than it normally would have.

geekbench_tsmc_samsung_a9.jpg
 

840quadra

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Feb 1, 2005
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And this could all be due to slight variances in manufacturing between the two phones outside of the chips. A true, valid, and scientific test would need a larger sample size.

In the end, I just don't understand the stress people are getting into over this minor issue. It is definitely not worthy of a "gate" label.

Real life use is negligible. Just as I said previously. Nothing but click bait to get some people heated.
More likely click bait to drum up more YouTube ad revenue.
 

Markoth

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Oct 1, 2015
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And this could all be due to slight variances in manufacturing between the two phones outside of the chips. A true, valid, and scientific test would need a larger sample size.

In the end, I just don't understand the stress people are getting into over this minor issue. It is definitely not worthy of a "gate" label.


More likely click bait to drum up more YouTube ad revenue.
It's basically a sport these days to feel victimized by corporations. This just gives people an excuse to. You'd think people would have better things to do, but I suppose not.
 

Rogifan

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Nov 14, 2011
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Real life use is negligible. Just as I said previously. Nothing but click bait to get some people heated.
Seriously I saw a story on Forbes this morning with the headline 'Did you get a good iPhone or a bad one?'. Think about an average non-techie iPhone owner seeing something like that in a news feed and wondering if they got a crap iPhone. Does anyone really think Apple would ship a phone where under real world normal every day usage one phone would get 2 hours better battery life than another?
 

John Mcgregor

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Aug 21, 2015
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It's basically a sport these days to feel victimized by corporations. This just gives people an excuse to. You'd think people would have better things to do, but I suppose not.

Oh really? It's not an excuse when your phones battery life is ~1 hour shorter under heavy CPU intensive use. That's like Macbook Pro SSD thing. One model is almost twice as fast as the other one and you know along the way it really matters. Just like here.
 

EllieV

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Apr 22, 2010
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Just thought I'd point this out. In the last article showing the parity between battery life tests, one of the phones had an Active SIM and the other phone had No SIM and did not have Airplane mode on, which made it drain more than it normally would have.

geekbench_tsmc_samsung_a9.jpg

Why would the one with no sim drain faster? It's not constantly connecting to the cell towers because it doesn't have a SIM, right?
 

Justim

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Sep 26, 2011
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On a side note, I'm extremely impressed with the battery on iPhone 6s. The battery percentage seems to be more accurate, and it feels like it charges faster.

I have the TSMC chip, but that probably doesn't matter.
 
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OllyW

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Oct 11, 2005
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Just thought I'd point this out. In the last article showing the parity between battery life tests, one of the phones had an Active SIM and the other phone had No SIM and did not have Airplane mode on, which made it drain more than it normally would have.

Not sure if I am misunderstanding the results but doesn't the one with the active SIM seem to have the best battery results?
 

ee4life

macrumors regular
Feb 8, 2010
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Real life use is negligible. Just as I said previously. Nothing but click bait to get some people heated.

Agree somewhat. General use cases don't actually put much stress on the CPU, so if TSMC only has significantly better efficiency under heavy load many people may not notice a difference. None of the metrics under the battery life for the tech specs of the 6s really tax the CPU; most are limited by the power drawn by the baseband, the screen, or the DSPs for audio/video. However, I can concede that there might be some people performing tasks that tax their phone's CPUs heavily, which would favor the TSMC chip for their use cases.

All of this said, people (especially tech geeks) tend to be irrational about these things and always want the best, no matter what tangible benefits they may or may not get. What's the markup going to be like for a second-hand guaranteed TSMC 6s?

I'm just glad that I don't have to worry about it. I have a TSMC chip, after all ;)
 

bluechair1984

macrumors regular
Jul 7, 2010
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Maybe the VW programmers helped TSMC with the code so it would report better numbers when it was being benchmarked...

You say that jokingly, but you have to wonder if there are some differences in the kernel which might lead to this difference in battery life. I'm not saying this is in any way intentional, but as a software engineer I'm genuinely curious.

I'd also like to see the batteries taken out of the equation here. Run the tests once on both devices and then swap the batteries and run the tests again.
 

Newjackboy

macrumors 6502a
Aug 6, 2012
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Guys, don't immediately say this is clickbait!

Remember the issue with the 2012 Macbook Air - there were screen displays made by 2 different companies and trust me, it was the difference between night and day!

The OCD and knowledgeable types will check their new 6s's - if it bothers you, you're still within 2 weeks - return and replace!
 
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