After going on sale unexpectedly yesterday morning, the iPad mini with Retina display has started to appear on the Geekbench Browser. While the new iPad mini is already included on our iOS benchmark chart, I wanted to take a closer look at how the new iPad mini performs compared to other iPads, both past and current.
Both charts were generated using Geekbench 3 results from the Geekbench Browser. If you're not familiar with Geekbench 3, higher scores are better, where double the score means double the performance.
Geekbench 3 confirms that the new iPad mini processor runs at 1.3 GHz (my original guess of 1.4 GHz was wrong). This is the same speed as the iPhone 5s processor, but 100 MHz slower than the iPad Air processor. I'm not sure why the new iPad mini processor is slower but I suspect it has to do with the mini's smaller battery (less power) or the mini's smaller chassis (less cooling). It's also not clear if the new iPad mini will throttle performance when overheating in a way similar to the iPad Air or the iPhone 5s.
The new iPad mini is substantially faster than the original iPad mini with an over 5x increase in performance. Given that the iPad mini has the same processor found in the iPhone 5s and the iPad Air, this isn't terribly surprising.
However, the new iPad mini is 7% slower than the Air in both single-core and multi-core tests. While the difference is significant, I don't think it's significant enough to warrant purchasing an Air instead of a mini for performance alone. Also, since I expect developers to still support the iPad 2 and the iPad mini for some time I don't expect much software will take advantage of the A7 processor to the point where that 7% difference will matter.
Ever since the first updated Mac Pro result appeared on the Geekbench Browser back in June, everyone has been curious about how the upcoming Mac Pros will perform. Arguably the most important component when it comes to performance is the processor. While Apple hasn't announced which processors will be used in the upcoming Mac Pro, they have provided some details on the Mac Pro specification page. Using this information, and information from the Intel ARK processor database, here are the processors I expect to see in the upcoming Mac Pro:
Even though some Geekbench 3 results have leaked for the upcoming Mac Pro, results are not available for all of the upcoming models. Luckily, since Geekbench 3 is a cross-platform benchmark, we can estimate the missing Mac Pro scores using results from Windows workstations that use the same processors as the Mac Pros. Here are my estimated Geekbench 3 scores for the upcoming Mac Pros:
These estimates suggest that single-core performance will be similar for the 4-, 6-, and 8-core models. Since all of the processors have the same Turbo Boost frequency, and since the processors run single-core tasks at the Turbo Boost frequency, this isn't surprising news. However, it is welcome news since users will not have to sacrifice single-core performance when choosing between the 4-core and the 6- or 8-core models.
These estimates also suggest that single-core performance will be 15% lower for the 12-core model. However, the 12-core model will have the best multi-core performance. I think the 12-core model will appeal to users with heavily-threaded applications that can take advantage of all 12 cores, while everyone else will be much happier with the superior single-core performance the other models offer.
How do the upcoming Mac Pros compare to the current Mac Pros?
The upcoming Mac Pro will have significantly better single-core performance than the current Mac Pro. For example, the upcoming 4-core model will be between 50% and 75% faster, and the upcoming 12-core model between 16% and 32% faster, than the equivalent current models.
Multi-core performance is also significantly better. The upcoming 4-core model will be between 58% and 78% faster than the current 4-core models, and the upcoming 12-core model will be between 17% and 47% faster than the current 12-core models. The 6-core and 8-core models are also quite speedy. The upcoming 6-core model will only be 10% slower than the current base 12-core model, and the 8-core model is faster than most of the current 12-core models.
I'm really excited about the upcoming Mac Pros as they're the first significant update in over three years. Even if you don't consider the new industrial design, the fact that Apple has moved from the outdated Nehalem and Westmere processors to the new Ivy Bridge processors should be exciting for all Pro users.
The only question left is how much will the 8-core and 12-core models cost? Given the price of the 8-core and the 12-core processors ($1723 and $2614, respectively) I expect both models will be quite expensive, even when compared to the $3999 6-core model.
Geekbench 3 results for the new iPad Air are starting to appear on the Geekbench Browser. I've charted the results for all iOS 7 capable iPads below. If you're not familiar with Geekbench 3, it's our cross-platform processor benchmark. Higher scores are better, where double the score means double the performance.
Some thoughts on the results:
The iPad Air's A7 processor is running at 1.4 GHz, 100 MHz faster than the iPhone 5s' A7 processor. It's not clear if the iPad Air processor runs at a higher speed thanks to a larger battery (providing more power), a larger chassis (providing better cooling), or some combination of the two. I expect the new iPad mini's A7 processor will run at 1.4 GHz as well.
The iPad Air is over 80% faster than the iPad (4th Generation), close to the 2x increase promised by Apple.
The iPad Air is over 5x faster than the iPad 2, yet is only $100 more expensive. I do not understand why Apple kept the iPad 2 around, especially at a $399 price point. What market are they targeting?
From a performance standpoint the iPad Air is a great upgrade to the iPad (4th Generation). With most recent Mac updates showing only modest performance improvements, it's exciting to see iOS devices do the opposite with substantial improvements between generations. I wonder how much longer Apple can keep this up?
Geekbench 3 results for the new Retina MacBook Pros are now available on the Geekbench Browser and on the Mac Benchmark Chart.
I wanted to take a closer look and see how much faster the new Retina MacBook Pros are compared to the previous Retina MacBook Pros. I've collected Geekbench 3 results for all of the Retina MacBook Pros and charted the results below.
If you're not familiar with Geekbench 3, it is a cross-platform processor and memory benchmark. Higher Geekbench scores are better, with double the score indicating double the performance. If you're curious how your Mac or PC compares, you can download Geekbench 3 to find out. It's a free download and only takes a couple of minutes to run.
13-inch Retina MacBook Pro
Here are the results for the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro. I've also included results for the 13-inch MacBook Air, as people often have trouble deciding between the 13-inch Pro and the 13-inch Air.
There are only minor performance gains (2% to 4%) between the new generation and the previous generation. This isn't surprising given that the design focus of the new processors was power consumption, not performance.
What is surprising is that the high-end Pro is only 5% faster than the high-end Air in single-core performance (the difference increases to 13% in multi-core performance). Users with applications that only use one core won't notice much difference between the Air and the Pro.
15-inch Retina MacBook Pro
Here are the results for the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro.
There are some significant performance gains for the high-end model as it's 10% faster than the previous generation. The same gains aren't present in the mid- and low-end models, though. Both are 2% to 4% faster than the previous generation.
What's interesting about these gains is that they come from processors with lower frequencies (e.g., 2.6GHz vs 2.8GHz for the high-end models). These frequencies are somewhat misleading, as they're the "base" frequencies. The processors are capable of "boosting" to much higher frequencies when needed. Running at a lower "base" frequency helps save power.
Much like the MacBook Air update earlier this year, the MacBook Pro update provides only a modest improvement in processor performance. However, the improvements in other areas, such as battery life and graphics performance, may make this a compelling upgrade for users with a first-generation Retina MacBook Pro.
Geekbench 3.1.2 is now available for download. Geekbench 3.1.2 re-enables 64-bit benchmarks on iOS (unfortunately at the expense of iOS 6 compatibility). Geekbench 3.1.1 is still available for folks still on iOS 6, thanks to the new "Last Compatible Version" feature.
Geekbench 3.1.1 is now available for download.
Geekbench 3.1.1 works around the crash that happened at launch on iOS 6. We talked to Apple about this crash and it turns out the crash is the result of a bug in Apple's FairPlay DRM on iOS 6. FairPlay on iOS 6 cannot handle universal applications that contain a 64-bit architecture. Unfortunately we weren't able to catch this bug during development as it only affects universal applications downloaded directly from the iTunes App Store.
We have decided to work around this crash by temporarily removing 64-bit benchmarks. Fortunately iOS 7 does not have this bug, so we are planning on reintroducing 64-bit benchmarks in time for the iOS 7 release on Wednesday.
Geekbench 3.1.0 is now available for download. Geekbench 3.1.0 features the following changes:
- Introduced 64-bit benchmarks on iOS.
- Added ARM cryptography instruction implementations of AES and SHA-1.
- Re-enabled standard optimizations for the STREAM Copy workload.
- Reduced the memory footprint for the BlackScholes and STREAM workloads.
- Added support for older Linux distributions.
- Fixed a crash that could occur on dual-processor systems running Windows.
- Fixed a crash that could occur on 32-core systems running Windows.
This release makes some changes to the workloads used to measure performance. While we try and keep benchmark results comparable across minor updates, some of these changes might result in small differences between 3.0 results and 3.1 results. In particular, I'd like to point out the changes that might have the biggest impact on performance:
Geekbench 3.1 now includes 64-bit benchmarks on iOS. Expect higher performance with Geekbench 3.1 on the new iPhone 5s than with Geekbench 3.0.
Geekbench 3.1 uses the new ARM cryptography instructions in the AES and SHA-1 workloads. These new instructions will significantly boost the performance of these two workloads on processors with the new ARM cryptography instructions. Currently only the Apple A7 supports these instructions, but we expect that to change over the coming months. Note that Geekbench 3 already uses the equivalent Intel cryptography instructions for the AES workload.
Geekbench 3.0 disabled a common optimization for the STREAM Copy workload that would allow the compiler to use highly-optimized library functions. Unfortunately we were only able to disable this optimization on some platforms and not others. This resulted in significant differences across platforms, even when running on the same hardware. Geekbench 3.1 re-enables this optimization, making STREAM Copy performance more comparable across platforms.
Geekbench 3.1.0 is a free update for all Geekbench 3 users.
Geekbench 3.0.2 is now available for download. Geekbench 3.0.2 features the following changes:
- Fixed a bug that caused updates to fail with a "The update is improperly signed." message.
- Fixed a typo in the Dropbox dialog box.
- Fixed a misaligned icon on the iPad 2, iPad mini.
Given the nature of the bug that caused updates to fail, OS X users will have to manually download and install the update. We apologize for the inconvenience this bug caused our users.
Geekbench 3.0.2 is a free update for all registered Geekbench 3 users.
Geekbench 3.0.1, which adds support for OS X 10.6, is now available for download. Geekbench 3.0.1 also fixes bugs that could cause Geekbench to crash on OS X 10.7.
Geekbench 3.0.1 is a free update for all registered Geekbench 3 users.
I'm excited to announce that Geekbench 3, our first major upgrade to Geekbench in six years, is now available. You can download Geekbench 3 for Windows, OS X, and Linux from the Geekbench website.
You can also download Geekbench 3 for Android from Google Play, and Geekbench 3 for iOS from the iTunes App Store.
New Benchmark Tests
Geekbench 3 includes 15 new benchmark tests that are designed to model real-world processor intensive tasks. The new tests cover a number of different application domains, including encryption, image processing, signal processing, and physics simulation.
Geekbench 3 also includes 12 completely rewritten benchmark tests from Geekbench 2. These tests are now more representative of real-world applications and usage scenarios.
New Scoring Systems
Geekbench 3 includes a completely new scoring system that separates single-core performance and multi-core performace into two separate scores.
While multi-core performance is becoming more relevant as applications are rewritten to take advantage of multi-core processors, single-core performance is still a very important metric because every application benefits from great single-core performance.
With Geekbench 3, if you know your applications can't take advantage of the latest multi-core processors, you can use the new single-core scores to find the fastest machine for your tasks.
Note that Geekbench 3 uses a different baseline system than Geekbench 2, so Geekbench 3 scores are not comparable to Geekbench 2 scores.
New iOS Interface
Geekbench 3 has a completely new iOS interface that's optimized for iOS 7. With a new design that matches the "flat" aesthetic of iOS 7, Geekbench 3 looks great on both iOS 6 and iOS 7.
There are also a couple of new features in Geekbench for iOS:
- Geekbench now automatically archives each benchmark run, allowing you to go back and view past benchmark results.
- Geekbench now integrates with Dropbox, allowing you to share results between your devices and your computers without going through the Geekbench Browser.
New File Format
Geekbench 3 also includes more information about each benchmark test in its file format, allowing users to dig deeper into their benchmark results.
Since we can't offer upgrade pricing to our App Store customers, we’ve decided to offer introductory pricing to everyone. If you purchase Geekbench 3 before August 31st you'll receive:
- $5 off a single-platform license
- $10 off a cross-platform license
- $50 off a professional cross-platform license
You can take advantage of these introductory prices by purchasing Geekbench 3 directly from the Primate Labs Store before August 31st.
Everyone on the team has put a lot of work into Geekbench 3, and it's our best release yet. I'm really pleased with it, and I think you'll love it. If you have any questions or comments about Geekbench, please let me know! You can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.