A14 Bionic Test: iPhone Silicon Vs Android SoCs
The Apple A14 Bionic is the latest chip from the company, powering the entire iPhone 12 range. It was the first chipset announced to be designed on the cutting edge 5 nm process of TSMC. It brings improvements in performance and power efficiency beyond the larger 7 nm designs of 2020.
Apple spent more time contrasting the A14 Bionic to the much older A12 rather than the more recent A13 during the iPhone launch presentation. This generation is acquiring hints of lower results. The output gap could be closer than ever, with Android phones benefiting from an upgraded Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus model and the Snapdragon 875 right around the corner.
We’ve got an in-house iPhone 12 Pro. So we were thinking that we would run a few benchmarks on the chip to see how it worked. With Apple’s chipset, we’ll also delve deeper into what’s fresh.
Apple A14 Bionic
With the Apple A14 Bionic, the biggest news is the step down to the smallest 5 nm development node in the business.
Interestingly, however, research shows that the transition to 5 nm only achieved a 1.49x shrink in die size rather than the claims of TSMC of a 1.8x shrink for 5 nm. Shrinking down the inner workings of a processor, particularly when it comes to memory, is becoming increasingly hard. That’s not the only new thing about Apple’s latest chip, anyway.
Apple also sticks with a 4-core GPU cluster on the GPU side, which is entirely in-house designed. This layout looks the same as the A13, with any change in efficiency likely to come from clock increases rather than significant changes in design or core count.
The iPhone 12 Pro is the first 5 G smartphone from Apple, too. The A14 Bionic doesn’t have an integrated 5 G modem, much like the Snapdragon 865. Apple instead switched to Qualcomm and combined the chip with a 4 G and 5 G dual-mode Snapdragon X55 modem. This includes support for mmWave and sub-6GHz, 5 G FDD, 4G/5 G shoreline spectrum, and support for future-proof 5 G standalone networks. On mmWave networks, the modem’s speeds top off at 7Gbps. Consumers would however see much lower speeds than that. Interestingly, instead of Qualcomm’s QTM525 used in Android smartphones, Apple seems to have opted for a slimmer Chinese USI mmWave antenna.
Apple And Android Benchmarks
When comparing Apple and Android benchmarks, there is a common pitfall — they are not a fair comparison. Using various graphics APIs, many benchmarks, particularly those that stress the GPU, run. Such as Metal versus OpenGL from Apple and Vulkan used on Android phones. As such, the ratings work out a little differently, making it very difficult to make a clear comparison.
What we can do is compare GeekBench 5’s CPU performance. For some, we’ll have to look at the disparity in efficiency between the iPhone 11 Pro and 12 Pro. Equate it to an earlier comparison we made to get us into the right ballpark between the older Apple handset and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865. Now let’s go through mathematics.
The Final Verdict:
The A14 Bionic is a strong sign of Apple ‘s aspirations, with notable CPU and memory improvements but modest GPU gains this generation. The A14 doubles down on CPU gains, with Arm-powered Macs next on the horizon, to close the gap between smartphone and laptop products. It expand Apple’s lead on Android SoCs. After all, but with a smaller silicon footprint for graphics and core count, the A14 is expected to be the basis of Apple’s laptop chips.
At the same time , Apple has devoted more silicon than ever to “AI” and capabilities in photography. Two foundations of heterogeneous computing capabilities for smartphones. In that regard, next-gen Android SoCs are almost likely to follow, but we don’t expect CPU performance to reach as far into the territory of laptops as Apple. Although Arm’s Cortex-X1 powerhouse may definitely help close the gap, Overall, however, it’s the gaming advantage of Apple that looks most at risk in the coming decade.
Overall, at the moment, Apple’s A14 looks like the best chip on the market. But, as we speak, we should note that new Android SoCs are hitting the industry. They are ideally suited to take on the Bionic A14. These include the Kirin 9000 and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 875 from Huawei, which we will soon test in more detail. With this generation’s minimal GPU gains, it’s very likely that Android phones will close this long-running gap in 2021.