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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
Series: Cyclone 2
» Apple A8X1.5 GHz3 / 34 MB Cyclone 2
Apple A8 compare1.4 GHz2 / 24 MB Cyclone 2
Clock Rate1500 MHz
Level 1 Cache384 KB
Level 2 Cache2 MB
Level 3 Cache4 MB
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
ArchitectureARM
Announcement Date10/16/2014

Benchmarks

Linpack Android / IOS - Linpack Single Thread
min: 1021.11     avg: 1021     median: 1021.1 (100%)     max: 1021.1099853515625 MFLOPS
- Range of benchmark values for this graphics card
- Average benchmark values for this graphics card
* Smaller numbers mean a higher performance

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Reviews for the Apple A8X processor

Apple iPad Air 2 (Imagination PowerVR GXA6850, 9.70")
» 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

» HiSilicon Kirin 9000
   8x 2.05 GHz - 3.13 GHz
» HiSilicon Kirin 990 5G
   8x - 2.86 GHz
» HiSilicon Kirin 990
   8x - 2.86 GHz
» MediaTek Dimensity 1000+
   8x 2 GHz - 2.6 GHz
» MediaTek Dimensity 820
   8x 2 GHz - 2.6 GHz
» HiSilicon Kirin 820
   8x 1.84 GHz - 2.36 GHz
» HiSilicon Kirin 810
   8x 1.88 GHz - 2.27 GHz
» HiSilicon Kirin 980
   8x - 2.6 GHz
» MediaTek Dimensity 800U
   8x 2 GHz - 2.4 GHz
» HiSilicon Kirin 970
   8x 2.4 GHz
» HiSilicon Kirin 960
   8x 2.4 GHz
» HiSilicon Kirin 960s
   8x 2.1 GHz
» Apple A9X
   2x 2.26 GHz
» HiSilicon Kirin 955
   8x 2.5 GHz
» HiSilicon Kirin 950
   8x 2.3 GHz
» HiSilicon Kirin 710
   8x 2.2 GHz
» HiSilicon Kirin 710A
   8x 2 GHz
» Apple A9
   2x 1.8 GHz
» Samsung Exynos 850
   8x - 2 GHz
» Apple A8X
   3x 1.5 GHz
» Apple A8
   2x 1.4 GHz
» UNISOC SC9863A
   8x 1.6 GHz
» VIA Nano QuadCore L4700
   4x 1.2 GHz - 1.46 GHz
» HiSilicon Kirin 925
   8x 1.8 GHz
» HiSilicon Kirin 920
   8x 1.7 GHz
» HiSilicon Kirin 935
   8x 2.2 GHz
» HiSilicon Kirin 659
   8x 2.36 GHz
» HiSilicon Kirin 658
   8x 2.35 GHz
» HiSilicon Kirin 655
   8x 2.1 GHz
» HiSilicon Kirin 650
   8x 2 GHz
» HiSilicon Kirin 930
   8x 2 GHz
» Apple A7
   2x 1.3 GHz
» MediaTek MT8168
   4x 2 GHz
» HiSilicon Kirin 620
   8x 1.2 GHz
» Rockchip RK3288
   4x 1.8 GHz
» MediaTek MT8163 V/A 1.5 GHz
   4x 1.5 GHz
» HiSilicon Kirin 910T
   4x 1.8 GHz
» MediaTek MT8163 V/B 1.3 GHz
   4x 1.3 GHz
» MediaTek MT8161
   4x 1.3 GHz
» Rockchip RK3188
   4x 1.8 GHz
» HiSilicon Kirin 910
   4x 1.6 GHz
» Intel Celeron 220
   1x 1.2 GHz
» AMD GX-210JA
   2x 1 GHz
» Marvell Armada PXA1908
   4x 1.2 GHz
» Apple S6
   2x
» Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100+
   4x - 1.7 GHz
» Apple A6x
   2x 1.4 GHz
» Apple A6
   2x 1 GHz
» Apple S5
   2x
» Marvell PXA1088
   4x 1.2 GHz
» Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100
   4x - 1.2 GHz
» Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100
   4x - 1.2 GHz
» Intel Celeron 2.8 GHz
   1x 2.8 GHz
» Texas Instruments OMAP 4470
   2x 1.5 GHz
» HiSilicon k3v2 Hi3620
   4x 1.2 GHz
» Rockchip RK3066 1.5 GHz
   2x 1.5 GHz
» Renesas MP5232
   2x 1.5 GHz
» Broadcom BCM21664T
   2x 1.2 GHz
» Marvell PXA986
   2x 1.2 GHz
» Amlogic AML8726-MX
   2x 1.5 GHz
» Texas Instruments OMAP 4460
   2x 1.2 GHz
» Rockchip RK3168
   2x 1.2 GHz
» Broadcom BCM28155
   2x 1.2 GHz
» Texas Instruments OMAP 4430
   2x 1 GHz
» Apple A5x
   2x 1 GHz
» Apple A5
   2x 1 GHz
» Samsung Exynos 9110
   2x 1.15 GHz
» ST-Ericsson NovaThor U8500
   2x 1 GHz
» ST-Ericsson NovaThor U8420
   2x 1 GHz
» NXP i.MX 6SLL
   1x 1 GHz
» Rockchip RK2918 1.2 GHz
   1x 1.2 GHz
» AllWinner A10
   1x 1.2 GHz
» ARM Cortex A8 1.2 GHz
   1x 1.2 GHz
» Apple A4
   1x 1 GHz
» AllWinner A13
   1x 1 GHz
» WonderMedia PRIZM WM8950
   1x 1 GHz
» Texas Instruments OMAP 3630 1GHz
   1x 1 GHz
» Texas Instruments OMAP 3622
   1x 1 GHz
» Rockchip RK2918
   1x 1 GHz
» Telechips TCC8803 1GHz
   1x 1 GHz
» ZiiLABS ZMS-08
   1x 1 GHz
» ARM Cortex A8 1GHz
   1x 1 GHz
» Actions ACT-ATM7029
   4x 1 GHz
» Loongson 2F 900MHz
   1x 0.9 GHz
» CSR8670
   2x 0.08 GHz
» Huawei Kirin A1
   1x 0.2 GHz
» Cypress PSoC6 MCU
   2x 0.15 GHz
» DK3.5+ST
   2x
» unknown
   

Surrounding CPUs

+ Intel Atom Z3775
   4x 1.46 GHz - 2.39 GHz
+ Intel Atom Z3775D
   4x 1.49 GHz - 2.41 GHz
+ Intel Atom Z3770
   4x 1.46 GHz - 2.4 GHz
+ Intel Atom Z3770D
   4x 1.5 GHz - 2.41 GHz
+ Intel Atom x5-Z8500
   4x 1.44 GHz - 2.24 GHz
» Apple A8X
   3x 1.5 GHz
- Nvidia Tegra K1 (Denver)
   2x 2.3 GHz
- Mediatek Helio X20 MT6797
   10x 2.3 GHz
- Mediatek MT8176
   6x 2.1 GHz
- Mediatek MT8173
   4x 2.4 GHz
- Mediatek MT8173C
   4x 2.1 GHz
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Benchmarks / Tech > Notebook Processors > Apple A8X iPad SoC
Klaus Hinum (Update: 2014-10-17)