Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 5th Oct 2018 22:50 UTC
Apple

AnandTech's iPhone XS review and benchmarks have been published, and it looks like Apple is leaping even further ahead in performance compared to Qualcomm's offerings.

The Apple A12 is a beast of a SoC. While the A11 already bested the competition in terms of performance and power efficiency, the A12 doubles down on it in this regard, thanks to Apple's world-class design teams which were able to squeeze out even more out of their CPU microarchitectures. The Vortex CPU's memory subsystem saw an enormous boost, which grants the A12 a significant performance boost in a lot of workloads. Apple's marketing department was really underselling the improvements here by just quoting 15% - a lot of workloads will be seeing performance improvements I estimate to be around 40%, with even greater improvements in some corner-cases. Apple's CPU have gotten so performant now, that we're just margins off the best desktop CPUs; it will be interesting to see how the coming years evolve, and what this means for Apple's non-mobile products.

On the GPU side, Apple's measured performance gains are also within the promised figures, and even above that when it comes to sustained performance. The new GPU looks like an iteration on last year's design, but an added fourth core as well as the important introduction of GPU memory compression are able to increase the performance to new levels. The negative thing here is I do think Apple's throttling mechanism needs to be revised - and by that I mean not that it shouldn't throttle less, but that it might be better if it throttled more or even outright capped the upper end of the performance curve, as it's extremely power hungry and does heat up the phone a lot in the initial minutes of a gaming session.

Say about Apple, the iPhone, and iOS what you will, but there's no denying that Apple is cranking out absolutely stunning SoCs that run circles around the competition - and it's been doing that every single year. We're at the point where one really has to wonder what, exactly, Qualcomm is doing - or is not doing - to be as far behind as they are.

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CaptainN-
Member since:
2005-07-07

I'd love to see a platform on that SoC running macOS. Just as long as it doesn't have that stupid touch bar...

Reply Score: 1

shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

Indeed. In a chassis that can provide the sort of cooling that we all know and understand from PC's it should fly.
What they may not have engineered (an for good reasons) is the sort of interconnect for Multi-CPU setups.

These will certainly give a lot of Intel X86 CPU's a run for their money.
How long can Apple continue with Intel powered MacBooks?
Their time must be limited.

Reply Score: 1

markus Member since:
2006-01-14

Hopefully not, I want to be able to use Windows / Linux on my MacBook Pro!

Reply Score: 5

gan17 Member since:
2008-06-03

I do wish Apple made their own virtual machine application. VirtualBox stinks of Oracle while Parallels and VMWare have been trying to nickle and dime us ever since OSX/MacOS did yearly version updates.

Edited 2018-10-06 16:08 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Vistaus Member since:
2018-03-21

Give Qemu a try. It's the fastest virtualization software and it's also open source, so it doesn't reek of any commercial bullcrap.

Reply Score: 1

The123king Member since:
2009-05-28

QEMU is to virtualisation, what Arch is to Linux Distros

Reply Score: 1

Vistaus Member since:
2018-03-21

Not with a proper frontend. For example, on Linux there's GNOME Boxes, which is a very easy-to-use application. I'm pretty sure there's a similar frontend available for macOS.

Edited 2018-10-08 09:28 UTC

Reply Score: 3

gan17 Member since:
2008-06-03

QEMU is to virtualisation, what Arch is to Linux Distros

So just like Arch users (and vegans), QEMU users go around shouting "I use QEMU!" to everyone, regardless of whether they asked or not?

Reply Score: 2

bert64 Member since:
2007-04-23

Linux has supported ARM since long before Apple did, you'd have no trouble running Linux on an ARM based laptop unless they intentionally prevented it.
Windows even supports ARM now, although most of its applications do not.

Reply Score: 2

DeepThought Member since:
2010-07-17

Indeed. In a chassis that can provide the sort of cooling that we all know and understand from PC's it should fly.


Too bad Apple won't publish any figures how quick this beast can go with a decent cooling.

I am pretty sure there is a motherboard with an A12 running macOS at Apple.

Reply Score: 3

cmost Member since:
2006-07-16

If Apple were really interested in improving the speed and energy efficiency of its Macintosh lines then it would bother to upgrade their hardware specs more frequently then every three to four years. Even though this data is from the fall of 2016 it does illustrate Apple's terrible hardware update problem. It's really no wonder that the Hackintosh community is thriving. I've built a few of these for people and it's surprisingly easy to turn an ultra modern PC into a Macintosh clone with careful choice of hardware and a few tricks. Heck, macOS runs perfectly fine in VirtualBox with a little work.

MacBook - 177 days
iMac - 366 days
Retina MacBook Pro - 513 days
MacBook Air - 584 days
Mac mini - 728 days
Mac Pro - 1,029 days
MacBook Pro - 1,584 days

Edited 2018-10-07 14:38 UTC

Reply Score: 2

The123king Member since:
2009-05-28

If you want a cutting edge powerhouse of a machine, you don't buy Apple

Reply Score: 1

Comment by slightlyevolved
by slightlyevolved on Sat 6th Oct 2018 05:41 UTC
slightlyevolved
Member since:
2007-11-08

Yes, what exactly is Qualcomm doing? Minor incramental speed bumps in 4 years, and.... That's about it.

Hell, at least they keep their mainline chips updated.... Their wearable SoCs, however, we get th stupid 3100 chipset after 4yrs of waiting.

Maybe Qualcomm should go back to just baseband and crappy cell phones.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by slightlyevolved
by adkilla on Sat 6th Oct 2018 09:01 UTC in reply to "Comment by slightlyevolved"
adkilla Member since:
2005-07-07

The same with the other mobile chipsets too. Nothing new and exciting from Samsung, Huawei and MediaTek.

Reply Score: 2

Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

Yeah, we've pretty much hit plateau. ARM SoCs have good enough performance for the niches they're in, and networks are fast enough in developed nations that shipping data between a device and a DC isn't as much of a problem as it once was.

ARM server chips are a cool idea, but then you start bumping into Atoms which really good for lowend servers.

Reply Score: 2

The123king Member since:
2009-05-28

If an Atom is a good fir for a low end server, wouldn't ARM be even better suited? Less costly, less power hungry, more powerful.

Reply Score: 0

Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

Not really.

Most ARM servers are focusing on many core workloads, and their price is more inline with a Xeon or Epyc system. This is why you see things like 128 core ARM systems rather then cheap 4 core ARM server boards.

Atom and Xeon D are really formidable on the low end. Price, power, and performance are pretty good.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by slightlyevolved
by tonny on Tue 9th Oct 2018 04:43 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by slightlyevolved"
tonny Member since:
2011-12-22

They could if they want. Majority of those companies use Big.Little (4+4) for their flagship. Just go with Big.Little(2+1 or 3+1 or 2+4) like Apple, and they has more headroom for the power (and heat). Thus, more MHz. Plus, Apple win with their iOS, that is more 'native' than Android that is a 'java VM' on top of linux (c/c++) kernel.

If, say, Android is a qt apps on top of linux, maybe we have different story now.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by slightlyevolved
by Flatland_Spider on Sat 6th Oct 2018 13:53 UTC in reply to "Comment by slightlyevolved"
Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

Qualcomm was pouring resources into their server chips. They wanted a sliced of the server market, and they ultimately failed.

We should see Qualcomm getting back to basics pretty soon.

https://hardware.slashdot.org/story/18/09/23/1843241/how-qualcomm-tr...

Reply Score: 3

Comment by stormcrow
by stormcrow on Sun 7th Oct 2018 04:13 UTC
stormcrow
Member since:
2015-03-10

Qualcomm has been working on server chips. I wouldn't consider that standing still.

Second, while it's clear Apple's chips are outperforming Qualcomm I'm not sure that matters even to most of Apple's customers in the smartphone market. It sounds wonderfully impressive and looks good on marketing PR, but in reality, loading the Facebook app a 1/10th second faster, or loading a mobile webpage a few miliseconds faster is more placebo than useful.

There may be a large number of people playing high end games on their iPhone, I dunno, but this sounds more like people crowing like audiophiles they just bought a $100 three foot gold plated RCA interconnect and MY their speakers sound SO much better!

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by stormcrow
by roverrobot on Sun 7th Oct 2018 05:31 UTC in reply to "Comment by stormcrow"
roverrobot Member since:
2006-07-23

fast chips enable more advanced algorithms that were prohibitivly slow on older phones. just look at the current plethora of camera functionality that was never dreamed of in the days of iphone 3g. maybe the computing power is not fully utilized at the moment, but it paves the way for creative developers to explore the new possibilities.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by stormcrow
by tonny on Sun 7th Oct 2018 19:47 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by stormcrow"
tonny Member since:
2011-12-22

And more inefficient code.

Edited 2018-10-07 19:56 UTC

Reply Score: 3

What does fast SoC help
by rener on Sun 7th Oct 2018 09:11 UTC
rener
Member since:
2006-02-27

if I do not like the rest of the phone? No headphone jack, don't like rounded edges, nor the camera bump, also no "nice to have" sd card, nor 2nd SIM, … and very overpriced it is, too ;) and I mostly used iPhones so far, from the very 1st one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ww3OLpeoSk4

Reply Score: 3

Post grave revenge
by dsmogor on Mon 8th Oct 2018 12:03 UTC
dsmogor
Member since:
2005-09-01

If Apple ever decided to switch to Arm and what's more go after Intel server side that would constitute "revenge is all mine" moment for ex. Motorola engineers who still constitute a bulk or ex. Pa Semi team at Apple.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Post grave revenge
by tylerdurden on Mon 8th Oct 2018 16:38 UTC in reply to "Post grave revenge"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

Duude. Last time Motorola and Intel had any significant spat was like 20 years ago. That's an eternity in tech years.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by kurkosdr
by kurkosdr on Mon 8th Oct 2018 15:19 UTC
kurkosdr
Member since:
2011-04-11

I think Apple users would prefer that Apple poured more resources into software, aka improving the quality of releases of iOS. At least that's what I get from the negative feedback their software gets by long-time Apple users recently.

But you see, Tim Cook is a hardware guy and as a result chooses to pour resources into hardware. I definitely sense some internal competition here between hardware guys and software guys (Steve Jobs was a software guy, obv)

PS: I still have a hard time believing Android besting iOS in software quality, but iDevices besting Android phones in terms of raw hardware performance. That would 've been unbelievable back in the Android 2.x days...

Edited 2018-10-08 15:19 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Tech
by colinz on Tue 9th Oct 2018 13:01 UTC
colinz
Member since:
2018-10-09

There's no denying that Apple is cranking out absolutely stunning SoCs that run circles around the competition - and it's been doing that every single year.
192.168.0.1 https://19216801help.com/

Edited 2018-10-09 13:01 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Apples Dominance on SOCs
by rhetoric.sendmemoney on Tue 9th Oct 2018 18:14 UTC
rhetoric.sendmemoney
Member since:
2006-01-22

Read a very interesting article on this. Essentially it comes down to two issues. The first is that Apple has VERY deep pockets and essentially poached most of Qualcomm's top engineers which is not surprising since the death of the anti-poaching agreements. Second, Qualcomm is spread way too thin. They design everything, wearable, mobile, server, etc. Apple can focus on basically just two SOCs. Mobile and wearable. They also only have to develop these SOCs for 2 or 3 form factors.

Couple these with Qualcomm fumbling some engineering decisions over the years and it feels a lot like AMD vs Intel in the 2000s.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Apples Dominance on SOCs
by zima on Thu 11th Oct 2018 17:13 UTC in reply to "Apples Dominance on SOCs"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

it feels a lot like AMD vs Intel in the 2000s

In the late 2000s. In early and mid 2000s, AMD was very competitive.

Reply Score: 2

TCat-Embedded
Member since:
2018-10-09

Maybe they are busy enabling devices like this:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/heres-all-the-new-stuff-go...

Oh yeah, btw this phone is based on the last year SoC...

Reply Score: 1

My advice
by JackMoffat on Wed 10th Oct 2018 17:56 UTC
JackMoffat
Member since:
2018-10-10

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Edited 2018-10-10 17:56 UTC

Reply Score: 1