Thursday, September 10, 2015

Apple's September Keynote CPU claims review: Why You Should Not Buy iPad Pro

First of all, you may buy your Apple products for other reasons than this post, but the single reason why I will make here this post is simply: Apple definetly lies customers over the keynote and if you care about honesty, I would not buy at least the iPad Pro.

So, first of all watch the keynote if you didn't watch it already! and after this we will have to define our terms. This is second time (after launching of iPhone 5S) when they state that the CPU inside the Apple product is "desktop class CPU", "Console level graphics" and things like it. If you want to be "selled" please take their message in writing.

So why Apple is dishonest, let's take claim by claim:

- the CPU is 1.8x times faster than their last tablet (iPad Air 2) and it will be faster than 80% of CPUs found today in mobile devices (like laptops). This is hugely dishonest at best. Their lowest cost model is at 800 USD, and at this price it is definitely on the lowest performing devices and lower spec. For 800 USD (or in EU will be like 800+ EUR) you will be able to buy more than 32 GB of storage SSD and a fairly beefy laptop. I bought Lenovo Y50 but previous year model with quad-core CPU (compared with very likely just 3 core iPad), 8 GB RAM, 1 TB storage (SSDH, but I would opt in for a 250 GB SSD), UHD ("4K") for 950 USD.

So let's benchmark it in a one core CPU, and let's use a benchmark that is not optimized for Apple (neither for Intel): Kraken benchmark. Apple iPad Air 2 (their fastest iPad) would give like 4000 ms. Let's say that Apple would achieve 1.8x (not "up-to" but true 1.8x) speedup. This would mean that this newest tablet in one thread performance would have like: 2200 ms to finish the JS Kraken benchmark.

Running today on this Lenovo laptop?  1134.2ms in Google Chrome and 1118.3ms in Firefox. In my book it means that a typical powerful laptop in the same class with the "iPad Pro" price wise should be at least 2x faster in single core performance and in a multicore scenario would be like: 2x * 4/3 (4 cores in laptop vs 3 core in iPad) = which would be more than 2.5x times slower.

2.5 times CPU maybe is a small inconvenience, but what about the rest? 

GPU benchmarks?
3DMark IceStorm has around 210K points on the Lenovo Y50 laptop because of powerful NVidia 860M. IPad Air 2 is around 22K. If iPadPro has 2 times the performance, will be still around 5 times slower than a mobile GPU.

2GB LPDDR3 vs 8 GB (low power LDDR3) memory. Not sure about you, but having less memory for a productivity device is for me a big differentiation factor.


4K (3840x2160) is bigger than iPad Pro resolution (2,732 x 2,048). And the DPI should be comparable (the Lenovo has 15 inch vs close to 13 on iPad Pro).

Other factors?
Maybe there is another factor that you would want a laptop. Maybe later expand your storage space or memory. I did this in fact, I switched from my HDD to SSD and from 8 GB to 16 GB. I could do it by myself in fact, it was really easy enough.

I am sure that if you care about your money and you are not wanting to show your Apple elitism, I'm sure that with a quad core laptop you can get better on the high end.

But who knows, maybe it is desktop class CPU, if you take the crappiest CPUs from the market. For example, again, if Apple is given 1.8x speedup, would match most of integrated AMD APUs, but this is again dishonest, because their (integrated) GPUs should be at least similar with the class of the 860M graphics, maybe a half. And the entire AMD systems cost in around half of price, or Intel lower cost laptops.

In fact a system which is comparable with iPad Pro should be one like this one. Of course, not on the screen size, but on the "Pro" computing specifications.

Of course probably you decided before reading the article and a rant kind of a blog entry should not make you change your view. Still, if you care of a company being honest, and you don't mind to get in fact a kinda Atom Quad-Core performance kinda laptop but in a tablet form factor sold on the price of entry level 
i7 Quad-core laptops, then go ahead...

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