Apple silicon-powered Macs promise screaming performance

Apple silicon-powered Macs show promising performance benchmarks which have appeared on Geekbench as developers begin to speed test these new Macs. It appears that even with an older Apple A12 SoC variant (A12Z), they already run as fast as some Windows devices.

Apple's Developer Transition Kit
Apple’s Developer Transition Kit is powered by Apple silicon

Jonny Evans for Computerworld:

This data doesn’t tell the whole story. For example, we know these Macs are running an early beta of the operating system; we also know that the speed tests themselves are not optimized for the processors or the OS.

In fact, the data simply gives us a little insight into how well these Macs handle code when run in what Apple calls Rosetta 2 emulation, which is quite promising in itself…

Apple is currently shipping limited quantities of Developer Transition Kit Macs to developers. These are Space Gray Mac minis with 16GB of RAM and Apple Silicon A12Z processors – the same chip that powers the iPad Pro, which is itself a variant of the processor used in the iPhone XS/XR…

That data suggests these developer-only, early field test Apple Silicon Macs achieve average scores of around an 811 points (single-core) and 2871 (multi-core) in contrast to the 726/2831 scores achieved by Microsoft’s Surface Pro X…That’s a promising start for Macs running a version of a two-year old chip – and bodes well for future iterations, particularly as Apple’s silicon migrate to 5- and then 3-nanometer process designs.

MacDailyNews Take: Wintel isn’t going to know what hit them!

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

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

28 Comments

    1. If I remember correctly, it was the 6803 (with a 68882 math co-processor)0 in the Macintosh IIf at a whopping 40 MHz x that promised screaming performa (“wicked fast” in Apple parlance of the day)nce. It was a damn quirky machine and sometimes only borderline stable. And, in today’s would dollars it cost $17,600 and up.

      1. Even scarier fact, the IIfx was $10,000 back in 1990 when introduced. But putting three video cards in that beast and showing off a three screen desktop back then was priceless.

      2. I think you’re thinking of the IIfx, which had a 68040. The 68882 FPU was optional on several models. I had one in my Mac SE, and it made a HUGE difference in the Fourier transform code I was writing at the time.

        1. The Mac IIfx had a 68030 processor with 68882 FPU.
          The 68040 came out with the Mac Quadras culminating with the DSP-equipped Mac Quadra 840av which was barely out the door when Apple announced that they would be switching to PPC processors.

    2. Apple would never ever make this move if it couldn’t soundly make Intel look bad, really bad.

      If Apple were only to be roughly equal to Intel they wouldn’t do this.

      But the integration of the T2 Secure Enclave for Touch ID and soon Face ID, the neural engine, high efficiency audio and video playback, integrated power management (Apple builds its own power management chip to manage Intel’s Core processors, the T2 and 3rd party graphics if need be), unified memory architecture, and much more, are all advantages over Intel processors.

      As Apple has built in features into the iPhone and iPad hardware the chips they design have supported those features to make a seamless product.

      Meanwhile, Intel has none of these tools in their original eddies Apple wants, and continued to miss its own roadmap – badly – for several years running…

      Oh, and Intel costs and arm and a leg for any solid performance out of its processor lineup.

      Intel is also getting its preverbal butt handed to them by AMD the last 2 years.

      Summary: the 1000lb gorilla that was Intel, is now an overpriced sloth that’s getting waxed by AMD and gonna get it handed to them in spades by Apple.

      This begs the question: When will Apple dare dive into the gaming console market? Or should they?…

  1. It’s gonna be interesting when an ARM and Intel Mac goes head to head. Especially once the new OS is finalized.
    Then how does it match up to Intel PCs of different classes.
    This is as exciting as when the Intel Macs first came out. That made Macs a lot more legitimate and really boosted sales. I wonder if this will be another breakout with ARM Macs.

    1. I think it will all come down to price, even with superior performance they aren’t going to gain many more customers if prices stay the same. It will be a good time to provide clearer differentiation between their consumer iMacs and Macbook Airs and their Pro lines. With uncertain economic times ahead it wouldn’t be a bad idea to offer a $699 or even $599 entry-level Air if they can keep similar margins at that level with their own processors.

    2. Yes, when apple drops support for intel, which they will sooner than later, everyone will need to purchase a new Mac . Say goodbye to the hacintoshes out there as well.

    3. Macs were on a long upward sales spiral at the time of the Intel switch, OSX was the reason, Windows still sucks to this day. Only bearable if you stay within AutoCAD, Revit, or Navis.

  2. So, we go back to Intel, or AMD increasing speed while apple tells us how much faster they are. There is something in the OS that is slowing the Mac down compared to windows based machines. AMD is rocking, Apple’s has to be faster, much, cause they will not stand still either. Windows needs a complete rewrite, and let’s be honest, windows is getting better. AMD is up to 64 processor, 128 threads.It would be interesting to see a processor with 4 threads per core and actually be able to use them. Will Macs ever be faster than the windows machine at games. Will Adobe ever do a real rewrite of their software. Oh well back to the future we go.

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