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Mere physics says it won’t. It’s always possible to pack more performance in a larger package, even if it’s just because you can more easily dissipate heat on a larger surface. iPhones are amazingly powerful and might just be sufficiently powerful for everyday computing soon or even right now, but they’ll never surpass anything that can accommodate a larger die.



Physics doesn't drive CPU development, it just sets the absolute limits.

Apple have put faster chips in their smartphones than in their laptops.

http://bgr.com/2017/09/14/iphone-x-vs-iphone-8-a11-bionic-be...


Geekbench scores are interesting, but not necessarily translate straight into real-world performance. Intel CPUs have a much richer instruction set for example. Peak performance vs sustained performance is another issue. GPU performance, disk size and speed, available RAM, battery time at a certain usage etc. are other performance factors. Apple could decide to put faster CPUs into its macbooks at the cost of less battery time.

This is all alluded to in the article and the macrumors post that the article is based upon, here are some quotes:

> "Sure, that doesn’t mean the A11 Bionic can do all the things a desktop CPU does."

> "Though the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 offer impressive Geekbench scores, how that translates to real world performance remains to be seen."

There's no question that the iPhone chips deliver amazing performance, but there's a reason people still lug Macbooks around.


It does seem like something is missing in the comparison. High end x86 CPUs draw something like 30W idle, which would drain an iPhone X's battery in minutes. Do Apple/Arm really have some magic technology that makes their CPUs orders of magnitude more power efficient?

Geekbench always seems like an odd benchmark - the variability between runs alone is kind of odd. If I could run a compiler on an iPhone, for example, would I really see similar performance to my MBP?


The CPUs in MacBooks are mobile CPUs that certainly don’t draw 30W idle. You’d drain the battery faster than you can charge it :)


One thing to note, x86 is known for being spectacularly inefficient for mobile workloads. It's not magic that makes an ARM CPU more efficient, it's just different design considerations. For an example of this, check out the Intel Atom line of processors[0] which were mostly x86 processors but designed to be mobile and power sipping. Whether they were successful at that, or in terms of performance, I'm not sure. But they get down to single digit TDP, which is how many watts of power you can expect one to use while under load.

[0]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Atom


It's not about physics but about economics. Improvements go where revenue goes. For consumers that outcome is known.


Phones have a real physical advantage in lower latency connection to RAM. You can have more processing power in larger form factors, but it's not a net win for all workloads.




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