Apple has begun shipping its Developer Transition Kit hardware to developers. The kit appears to be a Mac mini with the iPad Pro’s A12Z chip, bring Apple silicon to a Mac for the first time in years.
The machines are posting around 800 on benchmark software Geekbench 5’s single core test and between 2500 and 2900 in the multi-core score. For comparison, we benchmarked the Intel Core i3 2020 MacBook Air at 2380 for multi-core.
Impressively, this means that Apple’s new machine is running better than a current MacBook Air even though the results are virtualised. Geekbench will not have been optimised for Apple’s new chips, and the machine itself is running virtualised using Apple’s Rosetta program.
It means that once the machines are finalised and are running programs built for the new ARM architecture, the results should be even higher. Devs have pointed out how these results are already bettering Microsoft’s ARM architecture on the Surface Pro X 2-in-1.
Surface Pro X can run Geekbench under emulation too — but remember, it’s emulating the 32-bit version, not 64-bit — and it’s using all eight cores https://t.co/sQ1zCExfbh
— Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith)
June 29, 2020
9to5Mac reports that the dip in performance via the emulation could be as high as 40%, and the final retail version of the promised 2020 device is likely to be more powerful than what we see here. It’ll be remarkable if Apple’s ARM implementation can be that much improved or Intel or Qualcomm’s.
It’s also not entirely clear the changes made inside the dev kit sent out, as the A12Z is an eight-core chip but the benchmark results of the new machine are showing just four.