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Thread: ARM vs x64

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    Programmer Bulat Ziganshin's Avatar
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    ARM vs x64

    It's really hard to find good benchmarks of ARM vs x86 CPUs, but Anand provides some measurements on industry-standard benchamrks:



    Note that while Apple A13 has the same speed as Ryzen/Core, the frequencies is at least 1.5x different, so Apple CPUs already has 1.5x higher IPC!!!

    And while you may think that they have special optimizations for SPEC, I've also seen 7-zip benchmark results comparing Intel and ARM cpus - Intel has better IPC on compression (due to 128-bit memory controller, I believe), while ARM has better IPC on decompression. And you can see above that Apple CPUs are significantly better than ARM own ones.

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    Can't wait for the rumors about ARM-based Apple notebook to materialize. With enough RAM it could run some serious benchmarks. SPEC CPU2006 requires only 1 GB of RAM and is pretty outdated, but there's SPEC CPU2017 already and it requires at least 16 GiB of RAM for running the full version.

    Geekbench 5 scores shows similar story as SPEC CPU2006 (despite poor opinions about Geekbench scores reliability), i.e. Apple A13 sits between Intel Core i9-9900k and AMD Ryzen 9 3950X. Fastest cores from Arm company seem to have IPC comparable to high-end x86 microarchitectures (Skylake, Zen 2) when running in native mode (no x86 emulation or other weird things like that).

    A disadvantage of mobile SoCs (microarchitectures) is that they are still limited to rather old SIMD extensions, i.e. 128-bit SIMD named "Advanced SIMD" (Neon). I think it's rather likely that the mobile ARM cores would lose a lot in SIMD-heavy workloads vs high-end x86 cores. There's Scalable Vector Extension (SVE) for ARM but it's not yet available in hardware. Fujitsu A64FX will have it, but it seems it will have a low clock and pretty low general performance (instead it focuses on reliability, scalability and wide SIMD). IIUC then SPEC CPU benchmarks don't allow manual SIMD optimizations, so the only way to achieve any gain from SSE/ AVX/ NEON/ SVE/ whatever is to rely on compiler optimizations which seem to not give substantial gains.

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    Bulat Ziganshin (9th May 2020)

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