updated 06:20 pm EDT, Mon September 17, 2012
Dual core A6 beats quad-core Galaxy S III, Nexus 7 tablet in tests
While not confirmed as being legitimate, an iPhone 5 with the proper specification credentials has been benchmarked on the indie site Geekbench. The results show it to be the fastest smartphone on the market, with Apple's dual-core A6 (running at roughly 1GHz) beating both the Asus Nexus 7 and Samsung's Galaxy S III overall with a final score of 1,601, the highest total seen in the smartphone wars thus far. If genuine, the rating more than doubles both the iPhone 4S' score of 631 and even the 2012 iPad's 794.
It is possible that the ranking is not genuine, but the specifications on the submission match what little is currently known about the phone and processor. It is described as being the iPhone5,2 running iOS 6.0 using a dual core ARMv7 custom chip, with each core set at 1.07GHz. The specs show L1 instruction and data cache at 32KB but L2 cache at 1MB, with 1GB of operating RAM.
Presuming similar scores later confirm the ranking, it represents a true breakthrough for Apple's engineering team, and supports Anandtech's claim that the chip is a new custom design based on ARMv7 firmware but not running on a Cortex A15 chip as originally thought. That the dual-core chip outperforms Samsung's quad-core Exynos 4412 (which has all four cores running at 1.4GHz as well as having twice as much RAM in the Galaxy S III) shows off the efficiency of the (presumed) 32-nanometer process. The chip also appears to outperform the 1.3GHz quad-core Tegra 3 used in Asus' Google-branded Nexus 7 tablet, with the tablet achieving a close score of 1,588 and the Samsung Galaxy S III at 1,560.
Interestingly, the clock rating of the A6's two cores at 1GHz is not a huge change from the iPhone 4S' A5 chip at 800MHz, meaning that the increased efficiency may be coming from better executions of instructions per clock cycle and the use of faster RAM, notes CNet. Floating point processor performance and memory performance both score significantly higher than memory bandwidth and processor integer performance in Geekbench's breakdown of the score.
The crown of fastest mobile device won't last long, of course -- every chip manufacturer is racing to produce ever more efficient and quicker processors for mobile devices as the public shifts the majority of its computing to mobile devices, and Samsung may launch the Galaxy S 4 as early as March, just eight months after it launched the S III. But the iPhone 5's A6 not only represents a new cutting edge, it sends a signal that Apple intends to do more and more of its chip work in-house, and that this could represent a real competitive advantage for the company going forward. [Charts via Geekbench]