AnandTech doesn’t rush its product reviews, but their in-depth nature means they are always worth waiting for. Having gotten around to posting its review of the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, the system performance section in particular makes for interesting reading.
Brandon Chester put the smaller iPad Pro through a series of benchmark tests, comparing it with its bigger brother as well as the iPad Air 2 and a variety of other Apple and competitor devices. He notes that although you’d expect the 4GB 12.9-inch model to have twice the memory bandwidth of the 2GB 9.7-inch model, that isn’t the case in practice. Once you get into browser tests, the smaller model delivers very similar performance.
Two similar benchmark tests showed very similar results.
When it comes to games, two benchmarks comparing frames per second show what appear to be significant performance differences between the two machines, for example:
But as Chester notes, because the smaller machine is driving fewer pixels, the real-life performance is almost identical.
The on screen test tells an interesting story though. Both models of the iPad Pro have roughly the same performance at their native resolutions in this test, which could indicate that Apple was targeting the same performance relative to the display resolution when configuring A9X and its memory, in order to manage heat and energy usage in a smaller iPad Pro.
The other big difference seen here is in writing to storage. Sequential read performance is near-identical, but the 9.7-inch model has a significant lead in write-speed, which Chester attributes to the higher capacity of the model he tested.
Chester does observe here, though, that Apple is so far ahead of any of the competition that owners of either model are unlikely to have any complaints.