Benchmarks are in for Apple's ARM64 macOS development kit, and they smoke the Surface Pro X

Just a week ago, Apple confirmed its plan to transition its Mac lineup to its own custom ARM64 processors. The company also started seeding a Developer Transition Kit, packing an A12Z chipset, 16GB RAM, and a 512GB SSD into a Mac mini chassis. Now, the first benchmarks are in.

In the Geekbench 5 test, the dev kit seems to score ~835 on single-core and ~2,800 on multi-core. Here's the full list.

This is something that's fun to look at, since it's new and exciting, but to be clear, these scores don't mean anything. Any actual Mac using the company's ARM64 processors likely won't be using an A12Z chipset, which is the one found in current iPad Pro tablets. And of course, this is very pre-production.

Compared to the iPad Pro, it doesn't do too well. This is no surprise, given that Geekbench 5 is running in emulation on the Mac and natively on the iPad. The latest iPad Pro gets about 1,120 on single-core and about 4,650 on multi-core.

We can also compare this to an entry-level MacBook Air with an Intel Core i3-1000NG4. That unit got 1,083 on single-core and 2,246 on multi-core. Of course, the Core i3 is dual-core, which is why the multi-core score comes out so low. The Core i5 model, which is quad-core, got 1,152 and 3,841 on single-core and multi-core, respectively.

Of course, Microsoft has its own Windows 10 PCs running on ARM64 processors, and at the top of the lineup is the Surface Pro X. The device uses a custom, overclocked version of the Snapdragon 8cx called the Microsoft SQ1. Unfortunately, Microsoft-branded chipsets don't measure up to Apple-branded SoCs too well, scoring 765 on single-core and 2,985 on multi-core. Moreover, while Geekbench 5 is running in emulation on the Mac, it's actually running natively on the Surface Pro X.

Both the A12 Bionic and the Snapdragon 8cx are over a year and a half old. Apple will have custom chips designed for Macs, and Qualcomm should be refreshing the Snapdragon 8cx pretty soon. Competition is always good, and hopefully these two companies can push each other.

Update: Added information about the Surface Pro X.

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