10 July 2020
Apple made the decision of making a transition to its own silicon chips for future Macs and announced this to everyone at the recently held WWDC 2020 event. It is unknown why Apple decided to make a shift, however, according to an Intel insider, the bad Quality Assurance of Skylake processors is the main culprit. Well, whatever the reason is, things have started moving already and there is no looking back from here.
Apple provided the Developer Transition Kit including Mac Mini to the developers so that they could prepare apps for future Macs running the ARM-based silicon Macs. The designated task must be in the process but meanwhile, developers passed the Mac Mini through benchmark to know its worth or where it stands.
So the DTK with a two year old iPad chip runs x86_64 code, in emulation, faster than the Surface Pro X runs it natively 😅 Oh boy Qualcomm, what are you even doing? https://t.co/UAlZiwSsF8— Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith) June 29, 2020
The Geekbench results show that the Mac Mini powered by a 2-year old iPad Pro chip – A12Z running x86_64 code in emulation (Rosetta) is faster than Microsoft’s ARM-based Surface Pro X. Rosetta brings emulation path for the developers and it is required for the apps that have not been updated to run natively.
The developer kit shows average single-core and multi-core scores of 811 and 2,871. Developer Steve Troughton-Smith points out that a 2-year old iPad chip running x86_64 code in emulation outperformed Microsoft’s offering. The Surface Pro X features a Microsoft-designed 3GHz Arm processor based on the Qualcomm SQ1 chip. The Surface Pro X features a single-core score of 726 and a multi-core score of 2,831. In real life, these scores may not matter much to the users but it is interesting to note some early scores and tell the prowess of yeoutt-to-come Macs.
The chip used here is Apple A12Z which is the same as the A12X on iPad Pro 2018 but with extra GPU core unlocked. The Future Macs, however, will feature ARM-based chips based on the A14 chip created for the 2020 iPhone lineup and a 5nm process.
Apple announced at the WWDC 2020 that Mac transition to ARM will take approximately two years. Apple has been designing its own custom ARM chips since 2009 and deploying extensively on its product line that includes iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Apple Watch as well.