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The 64-bit A7 chip used in the iPhone 5s is ‘only’ dual-core, rather than the quad-core most had assumed, according to chip review site AnandTech - and it has the same 1GB RAM as the iPhone 5. But no need to feel short-changed: the review concludes that dual-core is the optimum solution at present, and that real-life performance is better than anything else on the market.

All the benchmarks we’ve seen point to the iPhone 5s being the fastest phone out there by some considerable margin.

In a phone interview with CNET, Anand said:

 The tools that count cores query the [operating system] and the OS returns the number of logical CPUs and they only returned two. The quad-core card was kind of forced. It’s definitely not the only way to arrive at the ideal performance-power for a phone … 

With many benchmark tests generating results that are interesting technically but which don’t translate into real-life use, the review included a test designed to illustrate the kind of performance likely to be seen by users.

Our final browser test is arguably the most interesting. Rather than focusing on js code snippets, Browsermark 2.0 attempts to be a more holistic browser benchmark. The result is much less peaky performance and a better view at the sort of moderate gains you’d see in actual usage.

The speed advantage of the 5s over competitor phones is less dramatic, but the 5s still tops the league-table.

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While many had expected the 5s to ship with more RAM, with some pointing to 4GB as the amount needed to fully exploit the 64-bit processor, the review confirms that it has the same 1GB as the iPhone 5. But from all the benchmark results, 1GB would appear sufficient for now.

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Also interesting to note for the yearly “Samsung won’t make the next Apple A-series chip” doubters, Anand notes that it is likely that our Samsung would make the A7 chip call was right.

First off, based on conversations with as many people in the know as possible, as well as just making an educated guess, it’s probably pretty safe to say that the A7 SoC is built on Samsung’s 28nm HK+MG process. It’s too early for 20nm at reasonable yields, and Apple isn’t ready to move some (not all) of its operations to TSMC.

Chapter-and-verse over at AnandTech.

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20 Responses to “iPhone 5s A7 chip ‘only’ dual-core & 1GB RAM – but it’s still the fastest phone out there”

  1. It seems you are missing the Note 3 out of those benchmarks. Wait until that one comes out before calling the iPhone 5S ” Fastest phone out there”. Not a hater but tired of Apple claiming things like that.

    I own the ip5 but still tho its not nearly the fastest phone they claimed it was last year.

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  2. standardpull says:

    Not surprising, except for the fact that CNet finds it surprising.

    Multiple cores are not the best path to performance. Thread and core management has a lot of overhead, and only a subset of critical functions can be multithreaded. And then you get the power hit for spinning up multiple cores.

    If you have a choice, a faster clock and wider bus will pay more dividends than more cores.

    Of course, we don’t often get those things because clock speeds and bus traces are nearly as good as they can be given today’s engineering. So the cheap way out is to add more cores. But again, more cores means more power consumed. Nothing is easy.

    More RAM isn’t all that important for performance – once you no longer need to swap RAM frequently, more RAM isn’t going to pay off… except for the lousy, most inefficient apps.

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  3. Another thing worth pointing out is that the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5C have 1GB LPDDR2, while the iPhone 5S has 1GB LPDDR3 which is faster and yields more bandwidth at lower power consumption.

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  4. Did everyone gloss over Anandtech’s assertion that the A7 is manufactured by Samsung?

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  5. If that’s the case,then every company out they goes for 64 bit processor especially Samsung,Nokia and

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  6. jbo5112 says:

    Browsermark 2.0 Leaderboard

    Phone: Nokia Lumia 800
    Browser: Internet Explorer Mobile 9.0
    Score: 6512 points

    Phone: Galaxy S II Build/GRJ22
    Browser: Mobile Android Browser 4.0
    Score: 6360 points

    Phone: Galaxy Nexus Build/ITL41F
    Browser: Mobile Android Browser 4.0
    Score: 5197 points

    source: browsermark.rightware.com/leaderboard

    Tell me how this is a great test to show the iPhone 5s (with a score of 3,451) is the fastest phone out there. The iPhone 5s is getting beaten by 2 year old devices running Android and Windows.

    P.S.
    If commenters are going to knock the Note 3 for not being out, the same still applies to the iPhone 5s. The Galaxy Note 3 comes out Sept. 25th, not what I consider “just” under a month, and definitely not in October (unless we have wiped 148 countries off the face of the planet). The iPhone 5s beats it to market by only 5 days. While this would be a correct statement to make tomorrow (assuming there are benchmarks to support it), but at this point, leaving out even a mention of the Note 3 does make the report look biased.

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  7. Guang Ning says:

    Where is nokia lumia 1020?

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  8. How is the galaxy s4 considered slower than the iPhone 5 which was released 8 months prior? It has a quad and octa core processor with twice as much RAM. I call bullshit on this one.

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  9. I think it’s funny that all of the Samsung phones are freaking huge compared to the iPhone and they obviously have more space to fit more components yet the smaller phone has a better chip with lower frequency and DRAM! Just wait until iPhone pumps up it’s RAM and gets a bigger display. It will definitely beat anything out there.

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  10. Apple don’t need quad core big arse phablet phones apple just works out of the box with no instructions there’s no need for 2gb 4gb ram why add more ram when it’s not needed iOS is the best mobile os in the world there’s not many android phones out there that can even run the latest os or will ever be able to in fact only 17 % of android running Kitkat iOS was 77 % apple and iphone rule all you samsung and droid user stop posting hate on apple forums you trolls iphone 5s is the faster end of bring the note 3 on iphone 6 will smash it again boom boom

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    • iOS is the worst written UNIX OS ever made it takes up 3GB were as android kitkat can run on %90 of all android devices you just have to put it on yourself plus kitkat only takes up 500MB. and if you actually knew what you were talking about iphones new processor is 64bit witch requires 4Gb of ram to even run optimal. Samsung makes the processors that run your pathetic iPhone. and lastly this is a browser test Androids web browsers are designed to run off 2 cores for better battery life. therefore this test is only using half the power of these android devices.if you really think the iphone is the fastest cause it can run a browser test your a naive dumba** , get an fps meter on the iphone 5s and one on the galaxy s4 and get a simple game like temple run iphone 5s runs the game at 40fps with an occasional drop to 35. the s4 runs a steady 60 fps with an occasional drop to 55fps.

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