2020 iPad Pro's A12Z shows little improvement over 2018's A12X in early benchmarks

Posted:
in iPad edited March 2020
Apple's 2020 iPad Pro is set to arrive in customers' hands on March 25, but some have received their unit early and are putting the tablet through its paces. Surprisingly, the new machine with Apple's A12Z processor is mustering benchmark scores nearly identical to those achieved by the more than year-old A12X predecessor.

iPad Pro
2020 iPad Pro. | Source: "Zindexed" via Reddit


Redditor "Zindexed" received their 11-inch iPad Pro on Monday -- a full two days ahead of Apple's scheduled delivery date on Wednesday -- and promptly put the device through a battery of tests.

Using Geekbench 5, the new iPad Pro running iOS 13.4 managed a single-core score of 1114, a multi-core score of 4654 and a Metal score of 9894. Save for an improvement in Metal processing, those marks are roughly identical to averaged 2018 iPad Pro scores as collected by Geekbench.

According to the benchmarking service, Apple's iPad Pro running an A12X processor scored 1113, 4608 and 9020 in single-core, multi-core and Metal testing, respectively.

Antutu testing was a mixed bag, with the new iPad Pro scoring a total of 685120, down from last year's composite score of 709337. The 2020 model managed 187648 for CPU, 348519 for GPU and 71476 for memory. By comparison, Antutu's performance rankings show the 2018 iPad Pro scoring 184553 for CPU, 357335 for GPU and 90598 for memory.

The disparity in memory performance is a surprise considering a report last week claimed all 2020 iPad Pro models come with 6GB of RAM, two more gigabytes more than all but the top-tier 1TB model from 2018.

As with any early evaluation, the results gleaned from "Zindexed" might not be indicative of real world performance. That said, the numbers could be presumed from two A12-based system-on-chip designs with little architectural deviation. Both the A12X and the new A12Z feature 8 CPU cores clocked at 2.48GHz. Apple's latest variation, the A12Z, boasts eight GPU cores compared to seven on the A12X, which could explain the higher Metal score from Geekbench. That the new "Z" series silicon fared poorly in Antutu GPU testing is at this point an anomaly, though it could be the consequence of benchmarking software optimization.

AppleInsider will provide thorough evaluation of Apple's flagship tablet, including exhaustive benchmarking analysis, in the days to come.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    Apple's 2020 iPad Pro is set to arrive in customers' hands on March 25, but some have received their unit early and put the tablet through its paces. 
    Surprisingly, the new machine with Apple's A12Z processor is mustering benchmark scores nearly identical to those achieved by its A12X predecessor.
    .
    .
    .
    AppleInsider will provide thorough evaluation of Apple's flagship tablet, including exhaustive benchmark analysis, in the days to come.

    You missed out the “un”, i.e.:

    Unsurprisingly, given it has the same 8 CPU cores running at the identical speed, the A12Z scores almost identically to the A12X in CPU benchmarks..
    edited March 2020 indiekiduktokyojimu
  • Reply 2 of 29
    GabyGaby Posts: 191member
    @AppleInsider
    Guys you made a mistake: in fact the A12X has 7 GPU cores, whereas the A12Z has 8. 


    edited March 2020 blastdoorwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 29
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,927member
    Is Antutu Metal optimised?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 29
    rain22rain22 Posts: 132member
    Well... isn't that just indicative of Apple innovation of late. 


    williamlondonchemengin1
  • Reply 5 of 29
    Cam17Cam17 Posts: 1member
    It's an interim model, if you don't need the extra cameras and you have a working iPad then there's no point getting this one. I'm waiting for the model with Mini-LED screen

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 29
    PShimiPShimi Posts: 38member
    rain22 said:
    Well... isn't that just indicative of Apple innovation of late. 


    I think Apple wants to get LiDAR into people's (developer's) hands sooner rather than later, because:
    when they release the iPhone 14 later this year, it would help their marketing if there were apps that actually took advantage of it.

    They tweaked the SoC a bit, presumably to perform better with the LiDAR.

    The RAM speed is curious though. I'd read about it a couple of days back, and thought perhaps the SoC was clocked higher and the stepping resulted in the RAM being clocked slightly lower. But now we see the SoC is the same GHz, so who knows.

    There is another reason for this release - they wanted to sell more units - and if you tell people 'the iPad Pro is great, but hasn't been updated in a while' they hold out. Now we have lots of people stuck at home, that are being told 'there is a new model' - most people who were holding out will probably 'rush out' (online) and buy it.

    I am still waiting for the newer iPad Pro with an A14X in Oct this year. While we shall have to wait and see if that really happens, I feel like it will (it's a feeling, rather than because I read something somewhere). I was one of those burned by the iPad 3, not happening again.
    aderutterCam17davenWgkruegerchemengin1watto_cobrane1aaarrrgggh
  • Reply 7 of 29
    The interim model is now the previous one and not the reverse. 

    Cam17 said:
    It's an interim model, if you don't need the extra cameras and you have a working iPad then there's no point getting this one. I'm waiting for the model with Mini-LED screen


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 29
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    This is a rather disgusting turn at Apple.  They have literally taken cue from the video card makers and given us a new model with nothing of real value added.   Sad!  

    I can’t ever being so negative with respect to Apple.   It seems like at every turn they have become a milking machine for old tech.    Little innovation and lots of lipstick for old pigs.  
    williamlondonchemengin1
  • Reply 9 of 29
    entropysentropys Posts: 4,214member
    Gaby said:
    @AppleInsider
    Guys you made a mistake: in fact the A12X has 7 GPU cores, whereas the A12Z has 8. 

    Not certain but I recollect it might be both have 8 cores, but the eighth in the A12X is not activated.
    this seems to be about tweaks to the SOC for the new camera.
    Not for recent iPad Pro purchasers, more for those with several year old versions ,looking for an upgrade.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 29
    It's possible that including the LiDAR technology was expensive enough to rule out the inclusion of a completely updated SoC. If so, Apple appears to believe that the applications for LiDAR are going to be more compelling to customers than significantly higher chip benchmarks.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 29
    I was planning in buying an iPad Air 3 this month (to replace an old iPad Air) as it looked the best value. Now I think the iPad Pro looks better value (to me).

    I am intrigued by the LIDAR scanner though and will be dabbling with AR app building. So yes this may be an interim iPad Pro to get LIDAR in the hands of developers.  It doesn’t matter though, one would hardly lose much $ if they bring  out an A14 model later this year, I bet the resale value of these would still be high if you wanted to upgrade again.  

    I speak as someone who has a 2018 model in the house already.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 29
    rwesrwes Posts: 200member
    aderutter said:
    I was planning in buying an iPad Air 3 this month (to replace an old iPad Air) as it looked the best value. Now I think the iPad Pro looks better value (to me).

    I am intrigued by the LIDAR scanner though and will be dabbling with AR app building. So yes this may be an interim iPad Pro to get LIDAR in the hands of developers.  It doesn’t matter though, one would hardly lose much $ if they bring  out an A14 model later this year, I bet the resale value of these would still be high if you wanted to upgrade again.  

    I speak as someone who has a 2018 model in the house already.
    I have an iPad Air 2 that’s about due for a replacement (could use a new battery; crack in the bezel - which is not cheap to replace due to fully laminated display).

    Buying a 2018 11” Pro (refurbished, from Apple) as the replacement.
    gatorguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 29
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,499member
    It all depends on your frame of reference. If you have the immediate previous version this one has low appeal, especially if you can slap the new keyboard-trackpad on to your old model. But if you have say an original iPad Pro 12.9”, which I’m using right now, this new iPad Pro is a significant improvement. Unless you live and die on the efficacy of unsubstantiated rumors, or lose sleep over benchmark bragging rights, this may be the only iPad Pro update for another year or more and as good as it gets.

    Truth be told, there is nothing that I do with my current original iPad Pro that it cannot handle - superbly. Yeah, I’m sure that there are apps out there that would overwhelm the “limitations” of my current iPad Pro, but I haven’t found them yet. I don’t run benchmarks for a living. If or when I do, and if the limitations are crippling to my needs or my personal psyche then I guess I’ll select whatever iPad Pro (or whatever it’s called at that point) is in the store and buy one without remorse. 

    My only beef with the newer iPads is that so many of the advancements are embodied in the camera/imaging system, which is a big meh for me. I’ve never taken anything other than a “oh, look the camera actually works” picture using any iPad I’ve owned, and I suspect I’m not alone. My iPhone camera is always within reach. I wonder how much less expensive a version of of an iPad could be if Apple deleted the back camera entirely? Call it the iPad Pro LF for “lays flat” version. Keep the FaceTime camera, but the rear camera, I’d be happy to say ‘adios’ and use my coronavirus deflated savings to pay for other upgrades that really matter to me, like more storage or the fancy new floating keyboard-trackpad.  
    raulcristiandavgregmobirdchiawatto_cobramuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 14 of 29
    Apple mentioned the A12Z has better thermals to improve sustained performance.

    People running benchmarks need to perform tasks that actually stress the processor for more than a minute or two to see how it holds up under continuous use.
    foregoneconclusionjdb8167watto_cobramerefield
  • Reply 15 of 29
    Real world performance will be much better, the memory bump is way more important, the 8 core cpu was more than powerful enough. The extra GPU core will make gaming and AR a much better experience ...
    Synthetic benchmarks are a indication but only real world usage is important.


    jdb8167watto_cobramerefield
  • Reply 16 of 29
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 3,387member
    wizard69 said:
    This is a rather disgusting turn at Apple.  They have literally taken cue from the video card makers and given us a new model with nothing of real value added.   Sad!  

    I can’t ever being so negative with respect to Apple.   It seems like at every turn they have become a milking machine for old tech.    Little innovation and lots of lipstick for old pigs.  
    I have no problem with being critical of Apple -- I think any true fan ought to be critical. 

    But I think that's an overstatement and this seems like a particularly poor example to support the point. The A12X (or Z) is still way ahead of the competition and this new iPad does have some nice improvements beyond the CPU. 

    The best example to support your point is the recent Mac Mini "update". The iMac is also in need of an update. Those are examples where Apple either needs to switch to AMD or start making their own CPUs for Macs, because the bottleneck on those products is Intel. I think it's fair to fault Apple for sticking with Intel too long -- there's really no excuse. 
    watto_cobramerefield
  • Reply 17 of 29
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,574member
    entropys said:
    Gaby said:
    @AppleInsider
    Guys you made a mistake: in fact the A12X has 7 GPU cores, whereas the A12Z has 8. 

    Not certain but I recollect it might be both have 8 cores, but the eighth in the A12X is not activated.
    this seems to be about tweaks to the SOC for the new camera.
    Not for recent iPad Pro purchasers, more for those with several year old versions ,looking for an upgrade.
    No, there is no eight core on the A12x. The chip photos dont show an eight core. Stop writing FUD.
    jdb8167watto_cobracanukstorm
  • Reply 18 of 29
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    ...
    Using Geekbench 5, the new iPad Pro running iOS 13.4 ....
    ...
    Am I being anal -- or should that be "iPad OS" instead of iOS?  Or, are they still similar enough where the terms are interchangeable?  Perhaps with recent additions such as enhanced file system, split screen, cursor control, etc... it is time to distinguish between the two?  If so, perhaps it might be helpful for the guru's at AppleInsider to run a comparison between the two.   For instance, my grandson just asked if he could get an Apple Pencil to use on his iPhone Xr...

    Actually, I think I've been seeing iOS applied to the new iPad in other places as well (including by myself!). 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 29
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 3,387member
    melgross said:
    entropys said:
    Gaby said:
    @AppleInsider
    Guys you made a mistake: in fact the A12X has 7 GPU cores, whereas the A12Z has 8. 

    Not certain but I recollect it might be both have 8 cores, but the eighth in the A12X is not activated.
    this seems to be about tweaks to the SOC for the new camera.
    Not for recent iPad Pro purchasers, more for those with several year old versions ,looking for an upgrade.
    No, there is no eight core on the A12x. The chip photos dont show an eight core. Stop writing FUD.
    Where are there die shots of the A12X? I haven't been able to find any via Google. Anandtech's coverage when the A12X came out specifically notes lack of access to a die shot: 

    https://www.anandtech.com/show/13661/the-2018-apple-ipad-pro-11-inch-review/4
    "While we don’t have access to a die shot of the A12X..."
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 29
    jdb8167jdb8167 Posts: 626member
    blastdoor said:
    melgross said:
    entropys said:
    Gaby said:
    @AppleInsider
    Guys you made a mistake: in fact the A12X has 7 GPU cores, whereas the A12Z has 8. 

    Not certain but I recollect it might be both have 8 cores, but the eighth in the A12X is not activated.
    this seems to be about tweaks to the SOC for the new camera.
    Not for recent iPad Pro purchasers, more for those with several year old versions ,looking for an upgrade.
    No, there is no eight core on the A12x. The chip photos dont show an eight core. Stop writing FUD.
    Where are there die shots of the A12X? I haven't been able to find any via Google. Anandtech's coverage when the A12X came out specifically notes lack of access to a die shot: 

    https://www.anandtech.com/show/13661/the-2018-apple-ipad-pro-11-inch-review/4
    "While we don’t have access to a die shot of the A12X..."
    Picture of the die for the A12X is here: https://www.eetimes.com/the-a12x-ipad-pros-jump-into-machine-learning/

    Edit: Oops, fooled by an image search. The die shown is the A10X not the A12X. Sorry about that.
    edited March 2020 watto_cobra
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