The first benchmarks for Apple’s Developer Transition Kit, a Mac mini powered by Apple Silicon, reveal that the company is very slightly under-clocking the A12Z Bionic SoC, with, as expected, Rosetta 2 also negatively impacting performance.
In terms of performance, the single-core tests resulted in a range of between 736 and 844 points and an average of 811. For multi-core benchmarks, the range is from 2,582 to 2,962, with an average score of 2,781.
These results are considerably lower than the 1,118 single-core and 4,625 multi-core benchmarks of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro which also uses the A12Z Bionic, but there are a few reasons that could be the case. For a start, Apple is running the A12Z at a slower 2.4GHz in the DTK, instead of the 2.5GHz clock in the iPad Pro line, though at this time it is unclear why this is the case.
Another interfering factor is the benchmark itself. Rather than using a native ARM-based app that runs on Apple Silicon, it is likely that benchmarks are being carried out using Geekbench 5’s macOS client. As Apple introduced Rosetta 2 as a a translator to convert apps meant for Intel-based Macs to function on Apple Silicon, it is highly likely that this introduces some overhead that affects the benchmark’s score.
MacDailyNews Take: Obviously, benchmarking software running through the Rosetta 2 translation layer is going to be impacted significantly. In fact, when we run our benchmarks, for best results, we like to run them on freshly-booted Macs running the benchmark software residing on a RAM disk.*
Apple’s Developer Transition Kit is an iPad packed into a Mac mini case, running an Apple A12 variant — not even an A13 — and yet Apple knows it’ll be plenty for developers to “make it so.” They’ll get their apps running well on an A12Z, this glorified iPad stamped with Mac branding, and when the first Macs with Apple’s custom silicon ship to the public by the end of the year, they’ll be packing A14-class SOCs.
We’ll have to bolt ’em down, lest they spontaneously take flight!
I can’t wait to see the benchmarks almost as much as I can’t wait to see the faces of the remaining Wintel boat anchor holdouts when they see the benchmarks!
Yes, this is going to be FUN! And fun, dear friends, is exactly what we need after the start of this wonderful year. — SteveJack, MacDailyNews, June 23, 2020
*To create a RAM disk on your Mac, in Terminal:
diskutil erasevolume HFS+ 'RAM Disk' `hdiutil attach -nobrowse -nomount ram://XXXXX`
XXXXX above is the size of the desired RAM disk in terms of memory blocks, as such:
2097152 –> 1 GB
4194304 –> 2 GB
8388608 –> 4 GB