Apple’s new iPhone 13 series includes its latest A15 Bionic processor, which the company says is 50% faster than the competition. This vague assertion was the entry point for AnandTechThe chip’s investigation of the performance, efficiency and improvements of the graphics core, as well as the conclusions of the review, easily confirm this.
Compared to the competition, the A15 is not +50 faster as Apple claims, but rather + 62% faster. While Apple’s larger cores are more power hungry, they’re still much more power efficient.
Two new CPU microarchitectures are featured in the A15, both for the two performance cores and the four efficiency cores, which are likely manufactured on a 5nm + process, which TSMC calls N5P, a “performance enhanced version.” Of its 5nm process which allows for higher maximum frequencies.
On top of that, AnandTech Note that the A15 system cache has been increased to 32MB, which is double the system cache compared to the A14. This doubling “eclipses the competition” and is a “key factor in the energy efficiency of the chip, being able to keep memory accesses on the same silicon rather than using a slower and less energy-hungry DRAM”, indicates The report.
Apple also oversaw a 50% growth of the A15’s performance core L2 cache from 8MB to 12MB, which AnandTech calls “huge” because it’s now the same L2 size as Apple’s M1 chip, and more than double that of other designs like the Snapdragon 888. These cache increases help the A15 reap gains “impressive” from a performance base microarchitecture that does not differ much from last year’s A14, while an additional full ALU and faster memory subsystem in efficiency cores does that add to performance improvements.
The Apple A15 performance cores are hugely impressive – usually performance increases are always accompanied by some sort of efficiency gap, or at least flat efficiency. Instead, Apple has managed to reduce horsepower while increasing performance, which means fuel efficiency is improved by 17% compared to peak performance states compared to the A14.
As for the new GPU A15, AnandTech Calls it “absolutely amazing” because it features improvements far beyond Apple’s marketing claims. The only real criticism in the review is the amount of limitation on the iPhone 13 Pro, which AnandTech think it is thanks to the new PCB design.
The overall thermal design of Apple’s iPhone would be “certainly among the worst on the market, because it doesn’t do a good job of diffusing heat throughout the body of the phone.” However, even with their somewhat limited thermal capacity, the iPhone 13 models are “still much faster and provide a better gaming experience than competing phones.”
In short, AnandTech says the A15’s improvements are “substantial” and believes the efficiency improvements are “key” to the much longer battery life seen on the iPhone 13 series. “While the A15 isn’t the brute-force iteration we’ve grown accustomed to Apple in recent years, it does come with substantial generational gains that allow it to be a significantly better SoC than the A14.”