iPhone 5s confirmed in tests as the most powerful smartphone on the market

This is how Apple describes the heart of the iPhone 5s , the A7 chip, and it seems that he didn’t exaggerate anything. Anand Lal Shimpi of AnandTech has subjected the new apple phone to an extensive battery of tests to measure its power and graphics performance and the results leave little doubt:

CPU performance

As usual, the most common method to measure CPU performance across different platforms is by testing Javascript and HTML5 in their browsers, although you will find something curious in the comparison. Anand has decided to include two tablet prototypes with the new SoC from Intel and Qualcomm , the Bay Trail FFRD and the MSM8974 Snapdragon 800 MDPT.

iPhone 5s confirmed in tests as the most powerful smartphone on the market
iPhone 5s confirmed in tests as the most powerful smartphone on the market

Normally this would be a rather unfair comparison , with the tablets being devices less conditioned by consumption (thanks to their considerably larger battery) that can afford to operate at higher frequencies. Surprisingly, however, the work done by Apple on the A7 makes the performance of the iPhone 5s not only competitive with both but even surpasses it on certain occasions. If this is what they have achieved on the iPhone, what can we expect next month from the new generation of iPad?

SunSpider Javascript Benchmark 1.0

Total time in ms (less is better)

The performance of the Bay Trail (Atom Z3770) was at its peak until last week, but the A7’s dual-core processor outperforms it, making it the fastest SoC tested by Ananadtech on SunSpider . It is less than twice as fast as the A6 on iPhone 5, but is still about 75% better.

Mozilla Kraken Benchmark 1.1

Total time in ms (less is better)

Kraken is a tougher benchmark designed to push the processor to the limit with the advantage of being too little known for companies to have optimized their browsers and js engines to perform better on it, thus offering a less “adulterated” result.

It is really surprising that the A7, even working at a much lower clock frequency than the Snapdragon 800 and the ARM Cortex A15, and presumably also with a lower consumption, manages to get ahead of them with a speed 2.3 times higher than the last generation of the iPhone.

Google Octane Benchmark v1

Score (more is better)

Another tough test successfully passed in this test designed for Octane, Google’s Javascript engine, and therefore tends to go better on those devices with Chrome leaving the 5s at a disadvantage. Not even that prevents the mobile version of Safari running in 64 bits from rubbing the ground with its natural rivals by being very close to the Bay Trail.

Browsermark 2.0

Score (more is better)

The last test is also one of the most interesting as it is designed to represent the performance gains that we will see with the normal use of a browser. Most devices move in a very simulated range of scores, with the quad-core LG G2 being the only one that comes closest to the A7 mark.

Graphical performance

All the evidence points to the A7 chip in the iPhone 5s having a PowerVR Series 6 “Rogue” GPU, specifically a variant of the 4-cluster PowerVR G6430 which is a considerable change from the design of the A6. The A6 has a fully scalable architecture very similar to that of AMD and Nvidia GPUs, and without going into too much technical detail, you’ll be interested to know that in terms of power it’s on par with the iPad 4 with 76.8 GFLOPS compared to the 28.8 GFLOPS of the iPhone 5 or the 51.2 of the S4 Pro of the Nexus 7 of 2013 or the Snapdragon 600 of the Samsung Galaxy S4.

GLBenchmark 2.7 Fill Test (Offscreen 1080p)

Millions of texels per second (more is better)

This first test gives us the theoretical performance of the GPU and delivers on its promise by doubling the rate of pixels that can be rendered and written to video memory in one second on iPhone 5.

GLBenchmark 2.7 Triangle Throughtput (Offscreen 1080p)

Millions of triangles per second (more is better)

The next two tests show the only drawback of the new Series 6 architecture, which is that unlike previous designs with multiple cores that completely duplicate all the hardware, Rogue clusters only duplicate the shader arrays. This won’t have a major impact on real games but rather reflects a better balance between the number of triangles per second, vector graphics pasteurization and shaders.

GLBenchmark 2.7 – T-Rex HD

Frames per second (more is better)

The proof of the pudding: in this intensive test that tries to simulate the techniques and requirements that use real games we again appreciate the double of performance, being also the first device tested by AnanaTech able to overcome the barrier of 30 fps in it.

GLBenchmark 2.7 – T-Rex HD (Offscreen 1080p)

Frames per second (more is better)

While the above test measures the actual performance we will get on the iPhone 5s, the offscreen tests put its performance in perspective against the rest by eliminating the resolution differences that exist between each device by rendering the images at a fixed resolution of 1080p. This puts things somewhat in perspective, putting the A7 just behind (by one frame!) Qualcomm’s Adreno 330 (Snapdragon 800).

GLBenchmark 2.7 – Egypt HD

Frames per second (more is better)

The Egypt test is much lighter, looking at the workload of most of today’s games, not the top ones, although it’s getting a bit old-fashioned now. The result is that, unlike the iPhone 5, the 5s does reach the screen refresh rate offering the maximum smoothness that you might appreciate, giving us some guarantee that we won’t find the slightest problem in staying above 30 fps in the vast majority of titles.

GLBenchmark 2.7 – Egypt HD (Offscreen 1080p)

Frames per second (more is better)

Again, in the offscreen test the Adreno 330 takes the lead, although probably at a much higher temperature and consumption than the PowerVR G6430 on the A7 chip.

3DMark Unlimited – Ice Storm

Score (more is better)

AnandtechEn Apple The reason for this change in roles is mainly found in the four cores of the LG G2 CPU, as opposed to the two cores of the A7, although each of these individually are more powerful.

3DMark Unlimited – Graphics

Score (more is better)

When graphics testing relies more on the GPU than the CPU, the iPhone 5s G6430 regains its position at the top of the competition despite the fact that 3DMArk continues to put far more CPU load on it than usual.

3DMark Unlimited – Physics

Score (more is better)

3DMark’s physical simulation tests succeeded in squeezing the settings with four cores, but also gave too suspicious results (like the iPhone 5s being behind even the 5) that are not supported by other tests. All this has led Anand to think that maybe he has come across some bug in Cyclone, the new test engine of this tool, so for the moment we keep this graph with a big question mark.

Basemark X – On Screen

Frames per second (more is better)

The graphics performance tests conclude with a third tool, Basemark X, with various game simulations with a complexity closer to GLBenchmark 2.7 than to the new 3DMark Ice Storm. The results on screen are clear, although a bug in the iOS 7 application prevented Anand from performing the offscreen tests on the iPhone 5s and 5c, and this is also pending for another time.

64 bits

As a final note, it is worth noting the performance improvement brought about by the jump to the 64-bit A7 chip thanks to, among other things, the new A64 instruction set . Like the iPhone 5 and 5c, the iPhone 5s also has 1GB of RAM, a far cry from the 4GB from which the best known benefit of this architecture is achieved, but it is not the only one. So Apple’s reasons for driving this change are more to do with that new set of instructions and a greater number of general-purpose registers than already improves performance by around 10%.

Both represent a much more substantial improvement in areas such as compression or encoding, with 825% increases working with the AES encryption (used by Touch ID or the iCloud Keychain) or 245% with the SHA hash function system. So yes, no matter what parameter you look at, raw power or graphics, the S of the iPhone 5s is definitely for its speed. As Apple says, a beast.


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