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Apple A8X

Apple A8X

The Apple A8X is a high-end ARM SoC (System on a Chip) introduced in October 2014 alongside the iPad Air 2. The three CPU cores are clocked slightly higher than the two inside the Apple A8 (+100 MHz). Apple claims a 40% improvement over the 1.3 GHz Apple A7 compared to just 20% from the A8. Furthermore, the A8X integrates a much more powerful GPU (2x 4-core PowerVR Series 6XT (Rogue) GXA6850) as well as a 128-bit LPDDR3 memory controller.

Architecture 

With Cyclone 2, Apple has managed to improve the already high performance-per-clock of the original Cyclone core (Apple A7) by another 10 to 15 percent. Neither Qualcomm's Krait nor ARM's Cortex-A57 can compete with the resulting IPC. The exact design changes have not been revealed, but we would expect enlarged caches and registers as well as an optimized branch prediction. As an ARMv8 architecture, Cyclone 2 is 64-bit capable.

Performance

Compared to the previous Apple A7, the A8X offers about 20 - 70 percent more performance. Especially the multi-thread performance has been significantly improved thanks to the third CPU core, whereas the single-thread power is just slightly higher (~20 percent). According to Geekbench 3 scores, the A8X is the fastest mobile ARM-SoC as of late 2014. However, the chip clearly benefits from the 64-bit support in the iOS version of the benchmark. Without this advantage, Nvidia's Tegra K1 (Denver) dual-core is still somewhat faster in single-thread software (but slower in multi-thread tests).

Graphics

In contrast to previous speculations, the A8X integrates an 8-cluster PowerVR Series 6 (Rogue) GXA6850 consisting of two GX6450 GPUs (2x 4 clusters) instead of a single GX6650 (6 clusters). The name GXA6850 has been created by Anandtech, the design may also be called a GX6450MP2.

Each cluster offers four FP16 and two FP32 ALUs, leading to a compute power of about 230 GFLOPS FP32 at 450 MHz (clock rate estimated). The GXA6850 does not only beat the Qualcomm Adreno 420 (Snapdragon 805), but also the Nvidia Tegra K1 by a small margin. Thus, the GXA6850 is one of the fastest tablet GPUs as of 2014 and can handle even the most demanding mobile games in high resolutions. Among others, the GPU supports OpenGL 3.x/4.x, OpenGL ES 3.0 as well as DirectX 10.

Power Consumption

In contrast to previous Apple SoCs, the A8 und A8X are manufactured by TSMC instead of Samsung. Using a brand-new 20 nm process, the SoC consists of a whopping 3 billion transistors. Power consumption should be similar to competing high-end SoCs by Qualcomm or Samsung.

SeriesApple
CodenameCyclone 2
Clock Rate1500 MHz
Level 1 Cache384 KB
Level 2 Cache2048 KB
Level 3 Cache4096 KB
Number of Cores / Threads3 / 3
Transistor Count3000 Million
Manufacturing Technology20 nm
Die Size128 mm2
FeaturesARMv8 Instruction Set, PowerVR GXA6850 (2x 4 Cluster Rogue), 128 Bit LPDDR3 Memory Controller
GPUPowerVR GX6650
64 Bit64 Bit support
Announcement Date10/16/2014

Benchmarks

Geekbench 3 - 32 Bit Multi-Core Score
0%
100%
min: 4477     avg: 4477 (27%)     median: 4477 (27%)     max: 4477 Points
Geekbench 3 - 32 Bit Single-Core Score
0%
100%
min: 1812     avg: 1812 (39%)     median: 1812 (39%)     max: 1812 Points
Geekbench 3 - 64 Bit Multi-Core Score
0%
100%
min: 4530     avg: 4530 (23%)     median: 4530 (23%)     max: 4530 Points
Geekbench 3 - 64 Bit Single-Core Score
0%
100%
min: 1816     avg: 1816 (38%)     median: 1816 (38%)     max: 1816 Points
3DMark (2013) - Ice Storm Unlimited Physics 1280x720 offscreen
0%
100%
min: 10379     avg: 10379 (16%)     median: 10379 (16%)     max: 10379 Points
PassMark PerformanceTest Mobile V1 - CPU Tests
0%
100%
min: 73235     avg: 73235 (27%)     median: 73235 (27%)     max: 73235 Points
Sunspider - 1.0 Total Score
0%
100%
min: 291.1     avg: 291.1 (7%)     median: 291.1 (7%)     max: 291.1 ms
Sunspider - 0.9.1 Total Score
0%
100%
min: 326     avg: 326 (3%)     median: 326 (3%)     max: 326 ms
Linpack Android / IOS - Multi Thread
0%
100%
min: 2428.68     avg: 2428.7 (82%)     median: 2428.7 (82%)     max: 2428.68 MFLOPS
Linpack Android / IOS - Single Thread
0%
100%
min: 1021.11     avg: 1021.1 (100%)     median: 1021.1 (100%)     max: 1021.11 MFLOPS
- Range of benchmark values for this graphics card
- Average benchmark values for this graphics card

v1.3

#0 Did not recreate cache, as it is less than 5 days old! +0.001s ... 0.001s

#1 min, max, avg, median took s +0.164s ... 0.165s

#2 return log +0s ... 0.165s

Reviews for the Apple A8X processor

Apple iPad Air 2 (Imagination PowerVR GXA6850, 9.7")
» First Impressions: Apple iPad Air 2 Tablet in Review - Review
» Apple iPad Air 2 (A1567 / 128 GB / LTE) Tablet Review - Review
» Apple iPad Air 2 - External Review

» Mobile CPU Comparison
Comparison of all mobile CPU series

» Mobile Processors - Benchmarklist
Benchmarklist of all known CPUs that are used in laptops (desktop and laptop CPUs)

Other CPUs of the series

» Apple A9X
   2.26 GHz / 0 MB
» Kirin 955
   2.5 GHz / 0 MB
» Kirin 950
   2.3 GHz / 0 MB
» Apple A9
   1.8 GHz / 0 MB
» Apple A8X
   1.5 GHz / 2 MB + 4 MB
» Apple A8
   1.4 GHz / 1 MB + 4 MB
» VIA Nano QuadCore L4700
   1.2 GHz / 4 MB
» Kirin 925
   1.8 GHz / 0 MB
» Kirin 920
   1.7 GHz / 0 MB
» Kirin 935
   2.2 GHz / 0 MB
» Kirin 650
   2 GHz / 0 MB
» Kirin 930
   2 GHz / 0 MB
» Apple A7
   1.3 GHz / 1 MB + 4 MB
» RK3288
   1.8 GHz / 0 MB
» Kirin 910T
   1.8 GHz / 0 MB
» Mediatek MT8161
   1.3 GHz / 0 MB
» RK3188
   1.8 GHz / 0 MB
» Kirin 620
   1.2 GHz / 0 MB
» Kirin 910
   1.6 GHz / 0 MB
» Intel Celeron 220
   1.2 GHz / 0.5 MB
» AMD GX-210JA
   1 GHz / 1 MB
» Marvell Technology Group Armada PXA1908
   1.2 GHz / 0 MB
» Apple A6x
   1.4 GHz / 0 MB
» Apple A6
   1 GHz / 0 MB
» Marvell Technology Group PXA1088
   1.2 GHz / 0 MB
» Intel Celeron 2.8
   2.8 GHz / 0.1 MB
» OMAP 4470
   1.5 GHz / 0 MB
» k3v2 Hi3620
   1.2 GHz / 0 MB
» RK3066
   1.5 GHz / 0.5 MB
» MP5232
   1.5 GHz / 0 MB
» Broadcom BCM21664T
   1.2 GHz / 0 MB
» Marvell Technology Group PXA986
   1.2 GHz / 0 MB
» AML8726-MX
   1.5 GHz / 0.5 MB
» OMAP 4460
   1.2 GHz / 0 MB
» RK3168
   1.2 GHz / 0 MB
» Broadcom BCM28155
   1.2 GHz / 0 MB
» OMAP 4430
   1 GHz / 0 MB
» Apple A5x
   1 GHz / 0 MB
» Apple A5
   1 GHz / 0 MB
» NovaThor U8500
   1 GHz / 0 MB
» NovaThor U8420
   1 GHz / 0 MB
» Qualcomm S2 MSM8255
   1.5 GHz / 0 MB
» RK2918 1.2 GHz
   1.2 GHz / 0 MB
» A10
   1.2 GHz / 0 MB
» Cortex A8 1.2 GHz
   1.2 GHz / 0 MB
» Apple A4
   1 GHz / 0 MB
» A13
   1 GHz / 0 MB
» WM8950
   1 GHz / 0 MB
» OMAP 3630 1GHz
   1 GHz / 0 MB
» OMAP 3622
   1 GHz / 0 MB
» RK2918
   1 GHz / 0 MB
» TCC8803 1GHz
   1 GHz / 0 MB
» ZiiLABS ZMS-08
   1 GHz / 0 MB
» Cortex A8
   1 GHz / 0 MB
» ATM7029
   1 GHz / 0 MB
» Loongson 2F
   0.9 GHz / 0.5 MB
» CSR8670
   0.08 GHz / 0 MB
» unknown
   0 GHz / 0 MB

Surrounding CPUs

- AMD A-Series A4-5000
   1.5 GHz / 2 MB
- AMD E-Series E2-6110
   1.5 GHz / 2 MB
- Intel Atom E3845
   1.91 GHz / 2 MB
- AMD Athlon 64 X2 (Desktop) 4600+
   2.4 GHz / 1 MB
- Intel Core 2 Duo L7700
   1.8 GHz / 4 MB
» Apple A8X
   1.5 GHz / 2 MB + 4 MB
+ NVIDIA Tegra K1 (Denver)
   2.3 GHz / 2048 KB
+ Mediatek MT8173
   2.4 GHz / KB
+ Intel Core 2 Duo SP7700
   1.8 GHz / 4096 KB
+ Intel Celeron Dual-Core T3100
   1.9 GHz / 1024 KB
+ AMD A-Series A10 Micro-6700T
   1.2 GHz / 2048 KB
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Benchmarks / Tech > Notebook Processors > Apple A8X iPad SoC
Klaus Hinum (Update: 2014-10-17)