On paper, the multi-core result of the hexa-core A11 is 50 percent faster than the octa-core Snapdragon 835. As I mentioned above though, Geekbench doesn’t test other parts of the SoC. Things like the DSP, the ISP and any AI-related functions will influence the day-to-day experience of any devices using these processors. However, when it comes to raw CPU speed, the A11 is the clear winner.
This can be a bit hard for Android fans to stomach. So what is the reason? First we need a bit of a history lesson.
What is different about Apple’s CPU cores?
There are several key things to recognize about Apple’s CPU cores.
First, Apple had a head-start over just about everyone when it comes to 64-bit ARM based CPUs.
Second, Apple’s SoC efforts are tightly coupled to its handset releases.
Third, Apple’s CPUs are big and in this game, big means expensive.
Fourth, Apple’s CPUs have big caches.
Fifth, and finally, Apple’s plan of making processors with wide pipelines at (initially) lower clock speeds has come to fruition. In very broad terms, SoC makers can either make a CPU core with a narrow pipe, but run that pipe at high clock frequencies; or use a wider pipe, but at lower clock speeds. Like a real world water pipe, you can either pump water at high pressure through a narrower pipe or at lower pressure through a wider pipe. In both cases you can theoretically achieve the same throughput. ARM falls squarely in the narrow pipeline camp, while Apple is in the wider pipeline camp.