With the launch of the iPad Air 2 last year, Apple took its mobile processor game to another level through the introduction of the A8X processor on the tablet. The A8X was the first of its kind with a tri-core Cyclone architecture that managed to put every other processor out there to shame when it came to benchmark scores. Therefore the bar was set pretty high for Apple when it came to its 2016 tablet launches, and the company seems to have delivered with the launch of the A9X processor on the 12.9 inch iPad Pro launched this September.
Apple A9X Benchmark Scores Show Commanding Lead Over Predecessor
With the launch of the iPad Pro, Apple seems to have some big expectations from the tablet sphere. The iPad Pro should be enough to replace notebook PCs, claims company CEO Tim Cook in recent statements. But while this might sound to be a bit of an overstatement, when it comes to performance benchmarks, Apple seems to have hit the mark once again.
The Cupertino manufacturer is known for single core performance on its devices, and if you take a look at the CPU benchmarks above, you'll see that Apple's lead in this segment is here to stay. The A9X on the iPad Pro manages to not only outperform every other mobile device, as should be expected, but also takes a good lead over Apple's 2015 MacBook powered by Core-M and manages to almost match performance by other, older notebooks powered by Intel's Core i3 and Core i5 processors.
In mobile devices, the performance gap is much more significant when compared against notebooks. The A9X manages to take a lead of nearly 1500 points in overall CPU performance against its predecessor, the A8X, in single core results. The A8X is also outperformed by the iPhone 6s' A9 as can be seen in the first image above. Interestingly however, the difference between the A8 and the A8X isn't that much, with the A8X leading barely by a 100 points in overall CPU results.
Multi-core tests take things to another level, with the A8X managing to bridge the gap somewhat in overall CPU results. It also manages to overtake the A9, which is most likely due to the A8X's tri-core architecture that adds an extra core into the mix (the A9 is dual core). Just for comparison sake, if you take a look at the A9X's performance when stacked against the iPad 2's A5, you'll see just how far Apple's managed to come as a CPU designer. The A9X gets 10 times the score as the A5, decimating the older chip in the process.
Taking a look at the graphics side of things, we see just how much work Apple has put into designing the iPad Pro and the A9X. GFXBench Offscreen is where the iPad Pro really manages to dominate as it not only gets a higher score than the iPad Air 2, but also Apple's 2015 MacBook Pro and Air variants, running on Intel's Iris Pro GPUs. It also manages to outperform Microsoft's Surface Pro 4 in an interesting twist of things that might sway some users towards Apple.
Things become slightly more normal in Onscreen tests, with the iPad Pro, the iPad Air 2, the 2015 MacBook Air and the 2015 Retina MacBook all having nearly similar scores. Since Onscreen is run on the device's native screen resolution, the iPad Pro's large 12.9 inch screen doesn't do the tablet any favors over here. Nevertheless, one thing is for sure. Apple has created one impressive piece of hardware, which should be able to perform quite well should adequate software support become available.
Finally, moving towards throttling scores, we see that the A9X manages to stand its ground when running at top frequencies at long time periods. When run at 10 minutes at peak frequency, both the A9 and the A9X manage to sustain their performance and witness little drops, but the A9 does see its frequency dip significantly. The A9X on the other hand remains relatively stable at both 10 and 30 minutes, which is once again quite impressive given that the iPad Pro does not come with a cooling fan on board. Apple's tablet should manage to sustain performance for quite a while when run at top frequencies, which should be a plus point given the uses the Cupertino company has in store for it.
That covers our benchmark analysis of the Apple A9X and its comparison with other hardware. While Tim Cook's statements that the iPad Pro should completely replace the PC/notebook are undoubtedly far fetched at best, you can see where they come from after today's coverage. Thoughts? Let us know what you think in the comments section below and stay tuned for more.