On Friday, sales start for Iphone 12 and the fourth generation Ipad Air. The common denominator is A14 Bionic, the first processor based on 5-nanometer technology. In addition, it is arguably the fastest mobile device processor to date.
The fact that the processor is based on 5-nanometer technology means that as much as 11.8 billion transistors can fit in the A14 Bionic, which can be compared with 8.5 billion in the predecessor A13. This corresponds to an increase of 40 percent, which means, among other things, significantly higher performance.
The change also means that it is faster to perform a certain task, which explains why Apple does not need to increase the capacity of its batteries to keep the battery life at the desired level.
The same number of cores as in previous processors
A14 Bionic is just like A11, A12 and A13 a six-core processor that consists of two high-performance cores and four high-efficiency. Compared to its predecessors, however, the new processor has the ability to execute more instructions in parallel.
According to Apple, the A14 has more cache memory, but at the time of writing it is unclear exactly how much is offered. The A13 had 8 megabytes of secondary cache, so it should be more than that.
Exactly how fast the A14 Bionic is, we only get to know when we had the opportunity to test the Iphone 12 and the fourth generation Ipad Air, but according to our calculations, it should be at least 17 percent higher performance compared to its predecessor A13.
New graphics processor and more powerful Neural Engine
A14 Bionic has a built-in graphics processor with four cores that is said to provide 30 percent faster graphics compared to A12. Compared to the A13, this should mean an improvement of about 20 percent, but of course it also needs to be tested.
Ever since the A11 was launched in 2017, Apple’s processors have been equipped with the Neural Engine, a “neural engine” used for machine learning and AI calculations.
In A11, Neural Engine was able to perform 600 billion operations per second. This then grew to 5 trillion in the A12 and 6 trillion in the A13. In the A14, a staggering 11 trillion operations are performed per second, thanks to the fact that the number of cores has increased from 8 to 16.
Some details about the A14 are still secret
Apple has shared a lot of information about the A14 Bionic, but some details remain to be seen. For example, we really want to know more about acceleration hardware, encryption or memory control.
We know that the image signal processor is improved because Iphone 12 can do more with it, but we do not know exactly how it has been improved. In the same way, we can conclude that codec management has been improved by the wording “Pro video decode”.
Hopefully we will get to know more details about the A14 once experienced developers have put their hands on their own copies of the Iphone 12 and the fourth generation Ipad Air.
Maybe then we get enough knowledge to be able to draw conclusions about the upcoming Mac models that are equipped with a similar processor. As it looks right now, these will be presented at a new Apple event in mid-November.
Translation and editing: Mikael Markander