iPhone 8: Apple has CPU cycles to burn

A referee would have stopped this fight

While the iPhone 8 retains the same unremarkable design for the fourth year running, the internals are a different story. Thanks to extraordinary improvements in semiconductor design, it has been able to shrink the capacity and size of its battery pack, while opening up a significant performance lead over Qualcomm and Samsung.

Apple's TSMC-fabbed 10nm FinFET six-core 64-bit ARM-compatible CPU A11 in the iPhone 8 is now complemented, for the first time, by a fully Apple-designed GPU. The iPhone X is getting the same "Bionic" system-on-chip.

The hardware can now support 4K at 60 frames per second and 1080p video at 240 FPS. Top consumer camcorders costing around $1,000 from Sony and Panasonic can't match either frame rate. They don't even come close.

Last year Apple extended its benchmark lead over Samsung; in single core tests, the 2015 A9-powered Apple iPhone 6s outpaced Samsung's 2016 Galaxy S7.

But this year it has simply become embarrassing.

On Geekbench 4, tests conducted by Tom's Guide show the iPhone 8 is 54 per cent faster than the Galaxy Note 8 (which uses Samsung's own silicon), and the OnePlus 5 (which uses Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835, the choice of many Android flagships). The new iPhone 8 also comfortably outperforms laptops: a 13-inch MacBook Pro and a Dell XPS 13.

On the 3D Mark benchmark, the lead over Qualcomm and Samsung silicon is almost 2x. Exporting a two-minute 4K video clip took the Galaxy S8+ four minutes seven seconds, the Galaxy Note 8 three minutes and three seconds, and the iPhone 8 just 42 seconds.

It's worth noting that these tests are bursty. Because of thermal issues a mobile chip will not be able to conduct CPU-intensive tasks for long. But in a mobile-first world, the desktop is being left far behind. ®

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