Almost a year has passed following iPhone 7’s debut and the Apple-designed A10 Fusion system-on-a-chip powering it has only recently been marginally outperformed by a few rival devices. However, Apple is already out with a game-changing A11 Bionic chip in the new iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, now ranked as by far the fastest mobile chip out there.

According to early Geekbench scores for iPhone X and iPhone 8, not only does the new A11 silicon beat the latest iPad Pro’s A10X Fusion chip (itself a faster version of A10 Fusion with more cores and higher clock frequency) but produces some unreal numbers in multi-core tests putting it on par with the speediest Intel-powered 13-inch MacBook Pro notebooks.

Geekbench’s John Poole says the benchmarks are real, saying the A11’s two high performance cores are probably clocked at 2.5GHz, up from the 2.34GHz CPU cores in the A10 Fusion chip.

The benchmarked hardware reports running iOS 11.1 so either it’ll come preloaded on iPhone X or Apple engineers internally testing iOS 11.1 have posted those benchmarks to Geekbench.

Identified as an ARM-based system-on-a-chip with six CPU cores, the A11 Bionic silicon has reported an average single-core score between 4,100 and 4,274 and a multi-core performance exceeding an unbelievable 10,430.

By comparison the latest 10.5-inch iPad Pro powered by the A10X Fusion chip sees single and multi-core scores of about 3,887 and 9,210, respectively. iPhone 7 with its A10 Fusion chip reports an average single-core score of 3,327 and a multi-core score of 5,542.

As for the flagship 13-inch MacBook Pro with Intel’s 3.5GHz dual-core chip, it sees a lower single and multi-core score of 4,592 and 9,602, respectively—and we’re talking about a friggin’ notebook with a desktop chip here!

Another comparison: the lower-end 2017 MacBook Pro notebook with a 2.3GHz dual-core Intel chip has an average single-core score of 4,321 and an average multi-core score of 9,183 while its 3.1GHz counterpart reports respective single and multi-score scores of 4,227 and 8,955.

This is wildly impressive. Those scores are not only nightmare for Android, they’re pretty bad news for Intel as well as any other semiconductor maker out there, including the likes of Qualcomm and Samsung who manufacture chips that power most Android devices.

Apple’s previous A-series chips routinely outclassed competition in terms of single-core performance, but A11 Bionic is not only fast, it’s a multi-core monster of a processor.

As we previously explained, this new chip debuting in iPhone X and 8 introduces two additional low-power cores for a total of four battery-saving cores for tasks that don’t need full speed, like reading email, playing music, fetching data in the background and so forth. It also has two high-performance cores for things like editing video, playing games and more.

The trick is, unlike the previous A10 Fusion chip that can only use one CPU cluster at any given time, all six cores in A11 Bionic are independently addressable and can run concurrently.

Also, A10 Fusion implements the simplest form of ARM’s big.LITTLE architecture where the CPU is arranged into identically-sized clusters of cores (two “Big” and two ”Little”) and the iOS task scheduler can only see and use one CPU cluster at any given time.

In other words, when CPU load changes between low and high, iPhone 7 must transition to the other CPU cluster whereas iPhone X utilizes any core as needed, all if need be, thanks to A11’s heterogeneous multi-processing based on the most advanced big.LITTLE implementation.

Apple says A11 Bionic delivers 25 percent faster compute performance via the two high-performance cores while its four efficiency cores are 70 percent faster than the A10 Fusion.

“A new, second-generation performance controller can harness all six cores simultaneously, delivering up to 70 percent greater performance for multi-threaded workloads,” says Apple.

Analyst Dan Matte suspects the new chip owes much of its speed to the removal of 32-bit support (which is why Apple with iOS 11 is removing support for 32-bit iPhone and iPad apps):

If you subtract out the efficiency gains from removing 32-bit support, you’re left with maybe very roughly a fifteen percent improvement in CPU IPC for the big cores, assuming equivalent clocks to the A10 Fusion chip.

Apple could have pushed performance and efficiency further, if not for the ten-nanometer FinFET semiconductor process technology being really bad. The era of the hyper Moore’s Law curve in mobile is officially over, in my opinion, though maybe A10 Fusion already signaled that. It’s all rough sledding from here on out, based on the state of foundry challenges.

A11 also integrates a Secure Enclave cryptographic coprocessor and—for the first time since breaking ties with Imagination Technologies—Apple’s own three-core GPU with 30 percent faster graphics than the previous A10 Fusion chip.

Standard caveats apply here: Geekbench and other other synthetic benchmarks don’t necessarily match what the user experiences because there are other factors at play that determine how fast a chip is in real-life use.

But given A11’s tremendous benchmark lead, no doubt those scores translate into tangible performance gains thanks to the efficiency of Apple’s operation system that runs smoothly across a wide range of iPhone hardware without requiring lots of RAM or overclocked chips.

Are you guys impressed by these early A11 benchmarks? I’ve never expected the next iPhone would have such a crazy fast chip, I though we’d be looking at a circa 20 percent gain, at most.

Leave your comments below.

  • Blacklight: Retribution

    awesome

  • Rowan09

    Damn.

  • Wow… I’ve been thinking for a while that it would be interesting to see what Apple could do in the desktop processor space but now I really want to see them try. These benchmarks mean that the phone is on par with an Intel Core i3-7100 3913 desktop class processor. That’s wildly impressive!

    • jakeopp

      Do these benchmarks really work like that?

      • Yes and no. Benchmarks simply test how fast a processor can perform a certain task. This could be a mathematical operation, writing data to a file, rendering graphics etc. Scores are then generated based on how fast that task can be completed.

        However this doesn’t necessarily translate into real word performance. It just means at that one set of tasks it’s got a speed of x. For instance the Galaxy S8 on paper has a faster processor than the iPhone 7 but in terms of real world performance it struggles to perform on par with even older iPhones. So even if the iPhone can match the score of a lower end i3 that doesn’t mean it will actually be capable of performing in a wider array of real world usage on the same level.

        All that to say it’s likely that an i3 would beat this processor in most day to day tasks due to the more versatile design, but at the same time we are comparing a cellphone processor to a desktop processor with much high power consumption and cooling requirements. This could be a game changer especially given that intel seems to be slowing down.

      • Phoenix

        I can explain why an i3 would beat even this A11 beat. It’s because of ARM’s limitations. While ARM excels at single task efficiency and speed, x86 microcode is designed to work with more threads. So while the A11’s throughput is higher, an i3’s x86 origin allows it to be utilized better with desktop apps.

        That doesn’t excuse how brilliant and incredible this chip is though.

      • credulousgeek

        iPhone X bionic chip is at par now admit the fact its way more powerful in phones.

      • Liam Merlyn

        It’s essentially like rubbing yourself against a cell tower with your phone and saying “This network reaches speeds over 80Mbs”. All because it’s the most perfect conditions for that one test.

      • Garmac

        Yes, but then it’s like comparing hors power in a car, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to drive and stick on the road… some cars have monster engine but are so damn heavy than another car optimized, lighter and with smaller engine will still be faster and drive better. But in this case it looks like apple got a Bugatti Chiron on their ends… most powerful street legal car and still so easy to drive (According to reviews)

    • burlow

      I wouldn’t be surprised to see a MacBook (non pro) with an A13 or A14 chip

      • Urname

        More likely you’ll see Apple push the iPad Pro even further into the desktop computing space.

        They might augment the Intel processors increasingly with their own chip designs for specific tasks, like they do right now for the Touch Bar. But unlikely they’ll replace the main processor for a long while.

    • credulousgeek

      Its a massive blow to octa core android phones out there the owners of such phones always tried to let down their iPhone holder peers but iPhone has always smoked each and every phone in the world despite several revisions by shamesung lol

  • Diego Milano

    That’s great news! Performance wise, no one can beat this beast.

    • Blacklight: Retribution

      “but but galaxy s10 will beat this”

      – Android fans

      • Alejandro Delgado

        I can already see the headlines by August 2018: “New Galaxy S9+AlphaUltraEdge with 64GB of RAM beats the (old by then) iPhone X, but not really, maybe explodes trying to get close to iPhone performance”

      • Mike

        The problem I see is that even tho the phone is fast it doesn’t let you do anything. Yes you can open and close apps quickly but thats about it. Not saying that android is better but it does allow you do more things like multi-tasking, opening multiple windows at once. To be honest every user doesn’t even put two phones by each other to see which app opens faster.

      • Danno

        Apple is spending a tonne of money on R&D for these new chips, but I highly doubt their main objective is to make the iPhones faster, they just need somewhere to put the chip before they put it in one of their laptops one day. The iPad is benefitting more from this as these devices become insanely powerful for their form factor.

        I firmly believe that one day Apple’s MacBooks and MacBook pros are going to have their own in house designed chips as the main processor, so they can finally achieve hardware and software compatibility on a computer like no other device before it.

  • CuBoy531

    Wowza Apple.

  • Sailor_V90

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7a35b4ee2a5df15ea29c732e4dab2e9d1b0d11432fafb63336dcb6483d5c8278.jpg

    Bionic, take it supersonic!
    I’m bionic, hit you like a rocket!
    Bionic, so damn bionic!
    Gonna get you with my electronic, supersonic rocket!

  • Rob

    Why does the 3.1GHz MacBook Pro score lower than the 2.3 GHz? I know the 2.3 boosts to 3.6 and the 3.1 only boosts to 3.5 but I figured overall the 3.1 would win out

    • credulousgeek

      Clock speed is not the real answer to a performance quality.Cache and multi-threading plays vital role in handling the overall efficiency and effectiveness of a CPU.

      • Rob

        Thanks. I had wondered if the 3.1 base clock speed was there to help handle the continuous running of the touch bar. I’m considering buying the non touch bar model, especially if it’s not that different to the 3.1 performance wise

      • CaptainHappy

        Nah, the touch bar is powered by a custom ARM SoC so it doesn’t lock up if macOS/applications do.

      • Rob

        Oh yeah now that u say it I do remember hearing that before

  • Alejandro Delgado

    I’m actually really curious to see how the Kirin 970 from Huawei performs against the A11 Bionic. Their processors are actually decent but the GPUs they use are trash. I’m eager to see how the Apple designed GPU+CPU does against their new chip. Huawei is claiming they will be better than Apple’s but only use will tell.

    • CaptainHappy

      Same. I suspect the A11 will crush the Kirin 970 (possibly because of OS/software optimisation) but it will be really interesting to see!

    • CreeDiddy

      My guess Kirin 970 will be around 2800 single core/8000 multicore. It won’t beat the A11.

  • Abhinav Chaudhary

    Does this mean we can expect GTA IV 10 year anniversary mobile version? I think processor can handle GTA IV but not sure about the GPU.

    • credulousgeek

      It will run GTA with charm and GPU has also been improved alot.

  • Edward

    Damn.

  • Garmac

    Well, I really had no issues or didn’t notice any lag with either my iPhone 7+ or ipad pro 10.5… What am I going to do with this extra power if I upgrade? Mine bitcoins?? :). Not that apple had anything to fear from the competition once you use a Galaxy Tab S3… That thing is so damn slow!!! BUT it can run 4 profiles with 4 different clash or clans accounts….there will always be a use for android tablets after all…

  • Juniors234

    Was going to get this year’s iPad Pro but i think i will wait till next year and see if Apple makes a higher end A11 chip for the 2018 iPad Pro models.

    • CreeDiddy

      I won’t be shocked if the A11X hits 5000 single core/17,000 multicore

      That is what its looking like.

      The A12 next year should be 5300 single core/20,000 multicore

      Sick stuff!!!

      • Then the A12X should be 5600 single 23,000 multi!!

  • karroryfer

    Gain in single core perf is lower then between A9 &A10 chips. Most of advertised boost comes from added cores. It is the same way as Snapdragon and Mediatek started few years ago. Its looks like engenering adventage of Apple is smaller.

  • Roy Tyrell

    Very impressive. Perhaps my brain is simply too small but I cannot see where such a massive increase in power benefits such a small form factor.

    Does it have a DisplayPort out?

  • AAPL.To.Break.$160.Soon.>:-)

    Most of the industry still claims NVidia’s Tegra X1 as the most powerful consumer ARM chip around as far as benchmarks are concerned. The Tegra X1 isn’t in a mobile device as the NVidia Shield (console) is always plugged in. Maybe that use eliminates competition with Apple’s A11. Wall Street is certainly throwing most of their money at NVidia, not Apple. Maybe Apple should be designing Bitcoin chips.