Apple Versus Intel: What's Going On Here? (From Seeking Alpha)
As my readers are quite well aware, I'm a big fan of Apple's (AAPL) silicon development team. These folks are first to market with an ARM64 based chip, and quite frankly, that's nothing short of impressive. However, the Street is now turning its focus on a potential Intel (INTC) versus Apple debate with respect to low power CPU design prowess, using the benchmark "Geekbench 3" (which is really the only cross-platform, low-level benchmark available) as validation of some pretty bold claims.
It is my belief that the test results that have been published (and talked about even in my own article) with respect to the "Silvermont" part are neither comparable nor representative of what the chip, in a properly optimized software environment, is capable of. Further, it is my belief that the actual test itself, while certainly helpful for trying to get a feel for how certain processors behave, may not be entirely representative of CPU performance in any meaningfully complex workload.
Silvermont Verusus Cyclone: Apples And Oranges?
Performance in a given piece of code isn't just dependent on "how good" the processor is, but also on how well the software is optimized for a given processor architecture. The quality of the code generated by the compiler can make a night-and-day difference on the performance of a given chip in a given software environment.
Anyway, so the benchmark that is being used to compare Silvermont and Apple's Cyclone is known as "Geekbench 3". This is a benchmark that essentially runs a bunch of very small sub-tests and then spits out a score that many in the mobile world have been using as the be-all, end-all of processor performance benchmarks. I'll get to in just a moment why this is likely flawed, but the really interesting tid-bit is that only Real World Tech's David Kanter (seriously, if you care at all about semiconductrs and chips you need to follow his work and his Twitter feed) even bothered to ask seems to have asked which compilers were bein