Apple silicon benchmarks leak – and it’s bad news for Microsoft and Qualcomm

Apple Silicon
(Image credit: Apple)

Benchmarks from Apple’s A12Z-powered Developer Transition Kit have surfaced on Geekbench, giving us our first taste of what to expect from Apple’s transition to ARM-based processors.

Though bound by a confidentiality clause, developers have begun leaking benchmarks from the Mac Mini-like DTK, which packs the same A12Z Bionic SoC as the iPad Pro 2020.

In Geekbench 5, the ARM machine achieved a score of around 800 on the Geekbench single-core test, and around 2600 on multi-core.

Although this is significantly less than the scores racked up by the latest iPad Pro, it's likely because developer kit is running through the Rosetta 2 emulation layer. As per the Geekbench listing, the benchmarks also only utilize the A12Z’s  four 'performance' cores; it also boasts four low-power efficiency cores.

What’s more, even though it fails to trounce the iPad Pro, which scored 1,117 and 4,712 in the same tests, it achieves performance levels similar to the entry-level 2020 MacBook Air, which scored 1,005 in the single core and 2,000 in the multi-core tests.

Even more impressively – as pointed out by developer Steve Troughton-Smith – the DTK’s Geekbench scores are significant’y higher than those racked up by the ARM-based Surface Pro X, which uses the SQ1 chip co-developed by Microsoft and Qualcomm. 

This device scored around 600 in the single-core benchmark and  2,600 in the multi-core test. 

"So the DTK with a two-year-old iPad chip runs x86_64 code, in emulation, faster than the Surface Pro X runs it natively. Oh boy Qualcomm, what are you even doing?," Troughton-Smith scoffed on Twitter.

While we’re still a way out from seeing the true performance of Apple silicon, it might not be too long until we find out. Apple will release its first ARM-based MacBook later this year, which is expected to be based on the Apple A14 chipset that’s set to power the iPhone 12.

Carly Page

Carly Page is a Freelance journalist, copywriter and editor specialising in Consumer/B2B technology. She has written for a range of titles including Computer Shopper, Expert Reviews, IT Pro, the Metro, PC Pro, TechRadar and Tes.