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Question Apple A15 announced

jpiniero

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Oct 1, 2010
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Seems like the CPU or GPU is not much faster than A14. Might be due to wanting lower power draw for better battery life.

The NPU did get a bump, 15.8 vs 11.8 tops.

Edit: The Pro does get an increase to 5 GPU cores from 4. Might be useful because of the 120 Hz VRR they added.
 
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nxre

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Nov 19, 2020
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50% faster CPU than the leading competition. What is the leading competition? Snapdragon 888? Wasn't A14 already 50% faster in single core? If this is multicore, then 50% faster puts it at ~5000 Geekbench 5, which is 25% faster so I don't know why they wouldn't promote that number instead.
Really weird. They are also binning their GPU for the first time, 5cores for Pro vs 4cores for non-pro.
 

eek2121

Golden Member
Aug 2, 2005
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Seems like the CPU or GPU is not much faster than A14. Might be due to wanting lower power draw for better battery life.

The NPU did get a bump, 15.8 vs 11.8 tops.

Edit: The Pro does get an increase to 5 GPU cores from 4. Might be useful because of the 120 Hz VRR they added.
Same node as the previous gen, so obviously it won’t be much faster. I suspect most of the big changes will come next year.
 

nxre

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Nov 19, 2020
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Also iPad Mini 2021 is 50% faster than the previous one (A12) and seems to be powered by the A15 based on Tim's closing speech.
So A15 is 50% faster than A12? That's not very good for A15, unless power efficiency is dramatically better?
 

Doug S

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Feb 8, 2020
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Diminishing returns from architectural improvements and not much process gain from N5 to N5P may make the comparisons to A14 sound rather underwhelming, hence the comparison to "leading competition". The days of Apple claiming A9 was 70% faster than A8 and everyone disbelieving until the benchmarks proved it true are long gone.

I've been saying for over a year I thought the next group of Macs would use A15 cores, and the fact they still haven't appeared makes that a certainty now. Using the same cores in the phone and higher end Macs built from "Jade-C" 8+2 chip(s) would inevitably mean some tradeoffs have to be made.

The obvious choice would be to make tradeoffs that are less optimal for the iPhone, where they already have a dominant performance lead, to place the new Macs in the best competitive position possible - the higher end of which faces much stronger competition performance-wise and market share wise than the iPhone.
 
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jpiniero

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Oct 1, 2010
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Diminishing returns from architectural improvements and not much process gain from N5 to N5P may make the comparisons to A14 sound rather underwhelming, hence the comparison to "leading competition". The days of Apple claiming A9 was 70% faster than A8 and everyone disbelieving until the benchmarks proved it true are long gone.
Based upon the iPad Mini comparison the A15 may be no faster than the A14. It might be the same exact CPU core tweaked only to draw less. WFH problems perhaps?
 
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nxre

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Nov 19, 2020
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So based on official Apple slides the A14 was 40% faster than the A12 and the A15 is 50% faster than the A12.
So A15 seems to be 7% faster than the A14. This is quite literally N5P performance at same power improvement per TSMC, so... did they keep the same architecture?
Maybe they are moving to a 2 year redesign cycle?
EDIT: The A15 in iPad Mini is actually 40% faster instead of 50% than A12 so... no performance improvements?
 
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nxre

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Well at least the GPU side does see some massive improvements.
A12 to A14 is 30% per Apple
A12 to A15 is 80% per Apple. I'm suspecting the iPad mini is using the 5-core GPU, so the 4 core GPU should see a smaller but still massive improvement.
 

DrMrLordX

Lifer
Apr 27, 2000
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So A15 seems to be 7% faster than the A14. This is quite literally N5P performance at same power improvement per TSMC, so... did they keep the same architecture?
That's what I was thinking. Not necessarily an optical shrink but close enough.
 

Doug S

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Feb 8, 2020
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Will it have AV1 or VVC decoders? Do you know how many transistors these use?
If Apple was ever going to add AV1 they would have. They're pretty committed to the MPEG association roadmap. It is probably too early for VVC. No one is using it yet, and it will be a long time before anyone uses for anything outside of 8K - which is pointless in a device with a 6" screen.
 

Doug S

Senior member
Feb 8, 2020
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Well at least the GPU side does see some massive improvements.
A12 to A14 is 30% per Apple
A12 to A15 is 80% per Apple. I'm suspecting the iPad mini is using the 5-core GPU, so the 4 core GPU should see a smaller but still massive improvement.
They may have devoted any additional power budget to the GPU, and concentrated on improvements to efficiency for the CPU.

That makes sense to me when looking at it from the standpoint of what the Mac Pro needs. They will be able to match Intel's workstation CPUs a lot easier than they will be able to match AMD/Nvidia's workstation GPUs. Beefing up the GPU cores that will go into Jade-C makes more sense. Making the big cores bit more efficient increases the number of cores they could support in the Mac Pro.

I've been guessing four Jade-C's for a 32 big core design, but is there a chance they go crazy and do 6 or 8 chiplets for 48 or 64 cores on the high end? Every milliwatt they can reduce the power draw of those cores would come in handy if they have that many cores - especially since unlike AMD Apple also has GPU cores on their chiplets so cooling is a bigger problem than if the GPU was on a separate board with separate cooler.

The increases in battery life Apple is claiming indicate that either the battery has become significantly larger (they talked about redesigning the inside to fit a bigger battery, but that's after shrinking the battery between the 11 and 12) or one or more of the CPU/GPU/display is a lot more efficient. Given they have a brighter display able to handle 120 Hz, which we know from 60 vs 120 Hz benchmarks in Android phones is not at all favorable for battery life, I doubt the battery life improvement is from the display. That will at best be a wash, so you have to look to the CPU/GPU for efficiency improvements.
 

Hougy

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Jan 13, 2021
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If Apple was ever going to add AV1 they would have. They're pretty committed to the MPEG association roadmap. It is probably too early for VVC. No one is using it yet, and it will be a long time before anyone uses for anything outside of 8K - which is pointless in a device with a 6" screen.
They listed "new video encoder" and "new video decoder" among the most important changes.

The VVC spec was finalized, so it's not impossible. The chip won't be used only for the iPhone
 

Doug S

Senior member
Feb 8, 2020
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They listed "new video encoder" and "new video decoder" among the most important changes.

The VVC spec was finalized, so it's not impossible. The chip won't be used only for the iPhone
I'd be shocked if they included a VVC encoder, but could believe a decoder as even if there is no VVC video today iPhone 13s will still be in use at the end of the decade when there will be.

The "new" part about the video encoder/decoder may just refer to a redesign for greater efficiency, not necessarily support of additional standards, but we'll find out soon enough.
 

uzzi38

Golden Member
Oct 16, 2019
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EDIT: The A15 in iPad Mini is actually 40% faster instead of 50% than A12 so... no performance improvements?
Richie in shambles

Jokes aside, at least now (well as of last night) I get why it's fine for the M1X to be so late. There's no real downside to using the same cores as A14 again on the CPU, not a significant one anyway, and the GPU is going to be much larger as well, so even if it's late the M1X would still be a top performer in both categories in Apple's product stack.
 

amrnuke

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Apr 24, 2019
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I'm not seeing a hugely compelling reason to move on from my A13-powered iPhone 11 Pro. I've never had my battery go below 20%, even on vacation; the pictures are great already and the videos are quite solid for what they are, especially with the ability to do slo-mo which the kids LOVE with their sports and activities (jumping in the pool, scoring goals in soccer, video of them on Drop Zone rides, etc); and I can't remember ever having a hiccup with respect to the hardware. Everything I want to do is incredibly snappy on the A13.

Honestly, the lack of progress is a bit of a compliment. Their product (A13 in particular, but also the iPhone 11 Pro) is just so good that it's already at the limit of what even I could ever need from a phone, CPU/GPU wise.

Kudos to Apple because power savings will be wonderful for many, and the 15-30% speed increase of A15 over A13 might make a difference for some, but I'll be waiting another year.
 

jpiniero

Diamond Member
Oct 1, 2010
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I'm not seeing a hugely compelling reason to move on from my A13-powered iPhone 11 Pro. I've never had my battery go below 20%, even on vacation; the pictures are great already and the videos are quite solid for what they are, especially with the ability to do slo-mo which the kids LOVE with their sports and activities (jumping in the pool, scoring goals in soccer, video of them on Drop Zone rides, etc); and I can't remember ever having a hiccup with respect to the hardware. Everything I want to do is incredibly snappy on the A13.

Honestly, the lack of progress is a bit of a compliment. Their product (A13 in particular, but also the iPhone 11 Pro) is just so good that it's already at the limit of what even I could ever need from a phone, CPU/GPU wise.

Kudos to Apple because power savings will be wonderful for many, and the 15-30% speed increase of A15 over A13 might make a difference for some, but I'll be waiting another year.
Waiting for next year doesn't seem like a bad idea given the rumors that the Notch is finally going away.
 
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Asterox

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May 15, 2012
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So based on official Apple slides the A14 was 40% faster than the A12 and the A15 is 50% faster than the A12.
So A15 seems to be 7% faster than the A14. This is quite literally N5P performance at same power improvement per TSMC, so... did they keep the same architecture?
Maybe they are moving to a 2 year redesign cycle?
EDIT: The A15 in iPad Mini is actually 40% faster instead of 50% than A12 so... no performance improvements?
Yes very likely, on CPU front A15 vs A14 negligible or not worth mentioning improvements.

 

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