Apple has traditionally made some really fast SoCs in the past and the A15 Bionic chipset is no exception for it. Yet, there were some conflicting reports about the A15 chipset after the tech giant officially unveiled the iPhone 13 series.
Initially, there were reports that said Apple’s A15 Bionic has no major CPU improvements, minimal gain in transistor density. Soon after, the A15 benchmarks showed a 21% CPU performance gain over A14 making the matter even more complicated.
PhoneArena reported the test results from the independent test benches of Anandtech and the numbers were surprising. This benchmark test revealed that A15 is not just 50% faster than the competition (as Apple itself stated during the official presentation), but a whopping 62% faster than the best Qualcomm competitor.
The detailed result report read, “Compared to the competition, the A15 isn’t +50 faster as Apple claims, but rather +62% faster. The performance and efficiency of the A15 E-cores also put to shame the rest of the pack. The extremely competent performance of the 4 efficiency cores alongside the leading performance of the 2 big cores explains the significantly better multi-threaded performance than the 1+3+4 setups of the competition.”
There were other numbers that were revealed in the detailed test run of the A15 Bionic chipset. Apple claimed that the A15 had 21% CPU gains over the A14 and the numbers turned out to be more or less correct. Anandtech tested both CPUs with various loads to find “a median performance improvement of +23%” in favour of the A15.
Focus on Efficiency
Apple’s presentation this year showed us their efficiency focus for the A15. This doesn’t mean the chip is not faster, but more effort has gone into making the chipset less energy-hungry and improving one key area — battery life. According to Anandtech, Apple has managed to score “massive” gains in efficiency with the new A15 chip.
The detailed report read, “The efficiency cores of the A15 have also seen massive gains, this time around with Apple mostly investing them back into performance, with the new cores showcasing +23-28% absolute performance improvements, something that isn’t easily identified by popular benchmarking. This large performance increase further helps the SoC improve energy efficiency, and our initial battery life figures of the new 13 series showcase that the chip has a very large part in the vastly longer longevity of the new devices.”
A detailed dissection of the A15 Bionic shows how fast and efficient Apple SoCs are, but there are some problematic areas that need to be addressed. One of them is thermal design, the new PCB used in the iPhone 13 series turns out to be even more cramped than the one seen in the previous models.
This reduces the ability of the chipset to dissipate heat and thermal throttling under load. The good thing is that Apple’s A15 is so much faster than the competition that even after thermal throttling it’s still better than its competitors.
The Anandtech report also says, “Apple’s overall iPhone thermal design is definitely amongst the worst out there, as it doesn’t do a good job of spreading the heat throughout the body of the phone, achieving an SoC thermal envelope that’s far smaller than the actual device thermal envelope. The new iPhones, even with their somewhat limited thermal capacity, are still vastly faster and give out a better gaming experience than competitive phones.”
The A14 Bionic was and still is pretty fast, what people want is better battery life. Apple has addressed that in the new iPhone 13 line where the battery life is claimed to be much better.