We are in the third quarter of 2020, and it means the new iPhones are closer than ever before. This year, we will have the iPhone 12 lineup, and a lot is expected this time around, both in terms of hardware and design. Like every year, this year too, we have seen the New A-series Bionic chip, which is called the A14 Bionic chip. iPad Air (4th generation) is the first device to ship with an A14 Bionic. We now have detailed information regarding GPU, CPU, AI, and Node for this new processor, and here in this article, we will look at it all. How powerful is this A14 processor, and how does it fare against last year’s A13 Bionic chip? We will take a look at it all.
A14 Bionic vs A13 Bionic Comparison
The manufacturing process
Apple’s A14 Bionic chip is based on TSMC’s new 5nm manufacturing process. The 7nm A13 Bionic chip had 8.5 billion transistors, while the new 5nm A14 chip is capable of 11.8 billion transistors. So, 5nm process technology helps to achieve many more transistors in the same space. This gives us better performance in nearly every area. Apple claims the A14 provides more power efficiency for up to 10 hours of battery life. The 5nm node means a 15% improvement in performance and a 30% improvement in power efficiency.
There were speculations about core configuration changes (3+3) in the A14 chip, as the A13 chip had the same structure (2+4) as the A12. But with the A14 chip, we see again Hexa core setup with a 2+4 configuration. However, we get two new-generation large performance cores as well as four new small power-efficient cores. On the other hand, the A13 Bionic is packed with a 2 + 4 Hexa core setup with two high-performance and rest power-efficient cores.
We see a maximum frequency of 2.7GHz in the A13 chip. Currently, there is no official information regarding the clock speed for the prime cores in the A14 chip, but an earlier leak suggests the maximum frequency as 3.1GHz, which is 400MHz higher than A13.
Apple says the A14 Bionic brings 40% CPU improvement over the A12 Bionic. We know already that the A13 is 20% faster than the A12. So, if Apple uses the same performance metric tool as the previous generations, then we can say the A14 Bionic will offer a 16% better performance compared to the A13 Bionic.
Nowadays, we use our phones for more than just a communication device. And the processors that Apple manufactures for the iPhones also go to the iPad series. Many people use the iPad as a working material, enabling them to work on the go. This work includes video rendering, image processing, 3D rendering, illustrations, and more. So, the importance of having a peak performance in graphics is essential for the A-series processors from Apple. Apple knows it very well, though, and this time, it has improved the graphics performance of the A14 Bionic chip by 8.3% over last year’s A13 Bionic chip. Actually, Apple claimed the A14’s GPU is 30% faster than the A12’s GPU. So, by calculating, we see an 8.3% increase in GPU performance over the A13 Bionic.
AI performance improvement:
A13 Bionic features an 8-core neural engine and is capable of performing up to 6 trillion operations per second. On the other hand, Apple has added eight additional cores to the Neural Engine of the A14 chip. So, we see an Apple-designed next-generation 16-core Neural Engine with the A14 chip that delivers up to 11 Trillion operations per second. This suggests the AI performance of the A14 chip is 83% more than the year-old A13 chip. This is a welcome change, though, as AI is the future of mobile devices.
In the Antutu benchmark test, the A14 Bionic-powered iPhone 12 Pro Max scored 5,72,333 points, while the A13 Bionic-powered iPhone 11 Pro Max managed to get 5,24,436 points. In other words, we can say the A14 chip provides a 9% improvement over the A13 chip.
Geekbench v5 listing shows the Apple A14 powered iPad Air 2020 has achieved 1583 points in the single-core test and 4198 points in the multi-core test. On the other hand, the powered iPhone 11 Pro Max’s Single-Core and Multi-Core scores are 1334 points and 3419 points, respectively. So, Apple A14’s single-core score is 18.7% higher than the A13, while the multi-core score is 22.8% better than the predecessor.
So, just like every year, there are quite a few changes with A14 Bionic regarding CPU, GPU, Manufacturing Process, and AI performance. So, on paper, there is no doubt that the combination of the new 16-core Neural Engine, CPU machine learning accelerators, 5nm Node, and high-performance GPU will give better performance than A13 Bionic. However, we don’t know how much difference we will see in the “real-world” performance.