Just a week after Apple's global developer conference, the first benchmarks for the new ARM-based custom Apple Silicon are being used by developers as part of the Apple Developer Transition Kit. The results are quite surprising as they put numbers close to Apple's current Intel Macbooks and even surpass Microsoft's ARM-based Surface Pro X.
According to the Geekbench 5 benchmarks conducted by Pierre Dandumont on Twitter, the single-core score benchmarks on the processor are between 752 and 844. The multi-core score, which is more representative for common productivity tasks, is between 2,582 and 2,582 2,962.
In both cases, the tests appear to be virtualized through the Rosetta 2 emulation software that translates apps for Intel-based computers. However, the physical hardware includes 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB solid-state drive, as well as the Apple A120X SoC – all in a Mac Mini case.
These results are quite respectable for Apple's ARM silicon. Single-core benchmark results for Microsoft's custom ARM-based SQ1 processor are 764 and multi-core are around 2,983.
In the case of Microsoft, this is done through native tests on native hardware without emulation. This suggests that Apple's new ARM silicon has the power in native situations on the device. Even the Intel processors in Apple's own MacBook Air come close to Apple ARM silicon with a single-core score of 1,133 and a multi-core score of 2,990.
Because Apple's results are emulated, the overall performance of native software may only improve. Apple claims to work closely with developers to ensure such a quality experience. The Developer Transition Kit is part of this work, along with a step-by-step approach to bring ARM-based Macs to market.
Apple announced that the first ARM Mac won't be sold until 2021, giving developers time to revise their apps. Microsoft released its ARM-based Surface Pro X computer at the end of last year.
There are also many other ARM-based Windows laptops that run Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC. These include devices such as the HP Envy x2, Lenovo Miix 630 and the Samsung Galaxy Book 2, which Microsoft calls Always Connected PCs.
Compared to devices with Intel chips, these devices have a longer battery life and the advantages of a cellular connection. However, performance has been heavily criticized due to the underlying app emulation in Windows 10. It is still unknown whether this is a problem for Apple, but these leaked benchmarks offer hope.