Arm benchmarks: Apple silicon trounces Microsoft's Surface Pro X in first tests

Microsoft's Surface Pro X comes off second best against Apple's Arm-based silicon processor.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Developers taking part in Apple's preview of its Arm-based Apple silicon hardware have run Geekbench benchmarks, with the results suggesting it considerably outperforms Microsoft's Arm-based Surface Pro X. 

The Geekbench results show that Apple's Mac mini-like desktop Developer Transition Kit (DTK) with the A12Z Bionic SoC from the 2020 iPad Pro has a single-core score of over 800 and a multi-core score of over 2,900. 

That's significantly less than the latest iPad Pro, which could be because the benchmarks for Apple's developer kit is running through the Rosetta 2 translation layer and only uses four 'performance' cores, as Macrumors points out

SEE: 10 ways to prevent developer burnout (free PDF) (TechRepublic)    

But even running through Rosetta 2, Apple's developer kit scores come in significantly higher than Geekbench results for Microsoft's Arm-based Surface Pro X, which runs on the SQ1, an Arm processor co-developed by Microsoft and Qualcomm. The Surface Pro X scores are around 600 in a single-core benchmark and over 2,600 in a multi-core test. 

As well-known developer Steve Troughton-Smith points out, the results don't look good for Microsoft and Qualcomm, given that the A12Z is based on the two-year-old A12X. 

"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?," he wrote.  

Apple plans to release its first Arm-based Mac later this year, and by then its benchmark scores should be even higher since the chips will be based on the newer A14 chip for this year's new iPhone but designed for the Mac.  

The company expects the move to Apple silicon to "take about two years", Apple CEO Tim Cook said last week. The company plans to continue to "support and release new versions of macOS for Intel-based Macs for years to come" and still has new Intel-based Macs in the pipeline.

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