Apple A4 vs Snapdragon - Clash of the Chipsets!

Apple A4 vs. Qualcomm Snapdragon

AnandTech has put the iPad's new Apple A4 chip-to-chip against the Windows Phone- and Google Android Superphone-powering Snapdragon from Qualcomm in a clash of the 1Ghz titans. And the results?

To quote Steve Jobs - boom!

If we take the network out of the equation, the A4 in the iPad has a 37.6% performance advantage over the Qualcomm QSD8250. This actually supports some of the larger performance differences we saw earlier. If Apple can manage to deliver this sort of performance in its smartphone version of the A4, we're in for a treat.

Indeed! They're not sure why the difference is what it is, but possible reasons could include iPhone OS being better optimized than Android, or higher IPC based on better core architecture, larger caches, or faster memory bus.

They, like TiPb, want that bad boy in the 4th generation iPhone (which still won't be called iPhone 4G!). Qualcomm and other chipsets like Tegra won't sit still, however, so Apple has to keep pushing that bar as well -- if they want the cachet that comes with spinning premiere, custom silicon.

[AnandTech via Engaget]

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 29 comments. Add yours.

Dexter says:

So does anyone know for sure if the A4 processor or a version of it will be in the new iPhone?

Jim says:

That's what I'm talking about... GO APPLE GO!!!

excaliburca says:

From reading the article, I really wouldn't take these results as "gospel". All this tells me that Apple's closed architectural environment makes sure it's hardware and software play well together. If you want a true test, a "neutral" OS should be used. Don't know if that's possible or not, however.
In the end, I don't even know if the average person could even detect the difference in load speeds, as the A4 loaded most of the sites 3 seconds or less faster than the Snapdragon.

Jack says:

How about another column stating how much faster Snapdragon compared to A8? Or do u always like to compare apples with oranges? Since it's a tablet, show us the difference between A4 and an atom processor.
Too much cool aid fr breakfast, eh?
GO APPLE GO my arse.

Jellotime91 says:

Keep in mind the A4 processor is also powering a much higher screen resolution and a desktop-optimized browsing experience... The Nexus One is not. The A4 on a mobile phone like the iPhone would surely beat the hell out of the Snapdragon processor, trust me.

Random says:

I'm not a fanboy of either, but I can see where Snapdragon (Android and WM) fans could legitimately call foul on this. There are so many variables in this besides the processor (WiFi Radios, Graphics Engine, OS Speed, Web Browser Speed, etc) that it is hard to call this a processor comparison. I have to agree with Joost on this one, for this to be a fair test, it would have to be on a neutral OS. However, Apple will never let that happen.

Macboy74 says:

@ Adam I was thinking the same thing. If this A4 were in a iPhone would it not run faster than in a ipad?

SheiknetChris says:

Random is right--for haters, there is no better solutions than Snapdragon or Tegra. How can this stand???
Don't worry everyone, HTC will release a 1.5 GHz tablet, immediately followed by a 2.0 GHz, and right after that a 2.3. The last two will get the Android 10 'KrispyKreme' update, but the providers will be unsure which device will get what when.
Apple shouldn't even bother, right?

SheiknetChris says:

The close sarcasm tag didn't make it.
Also: won't anybody PLEASE think about the Flash??? What Would Flash Do?

zero credibility says:

i can see how this is totally apples and oranges, but when it comes down to what matters, the end result is the only result worth measuring right ? and people do notice a few seconds difference .. as google found out when adding more information to youtube and people complained about the extra second or so difference.

Martin says:

So a tablet computer performs overall faster than a phone. Somehow from this people conclude that one processor is faster than another. It's sad that this passes as reporting in this day and age. So much for looking at facts in a rational, logical and systematic fashion. I suggest this is spreading misinformation.

OHSNAP says:

I agree with Jack. How are you guys comparing a tablet to a phone?
How about looking at the A8 vs Snapdragon (phone vs phone) looks like the N1 snaps the head off of the 3GS.
This article is pointless. Dont get me wrong I have nothing against the iPad but can we get some real tests so we know what we're dealing with.

Carter says:

14 seconds to load a page? I rather watch grass grow.
iPad...iPass

sammy says:

this is not a fair test because the ipad/iphone/Nexus? do not support flash, making it faster to load pages because advertisements do not show up. Also the ipad propably uses "N", while the iphone 3gs only appears to support it (ifixit)

Limegrntaln says:

This coupled with only using 2.5 watts. This thing is a screamer. Of course apple will put it in the iPhone. They just spent $1 billion to develop their own chipset. Why wouldn't they?

Jo Blow says:

Agreed it is not great or neutral test of the processor considering the browsers, etc.
But...
For those that want A8 compared to Snapdragon---Read the chart!! Like Prego "It's in there" (the numbers that is).
And for years I've seen comparisons with Macs and PCs with OS in tact. That is part of the package. You might change networks, but in essence most will not go changing OS (with exception some techs).
And each system chooses the their browser etc for business, or optimization. So no matter how fast the processor is, a "real world comparison" would have to include what would be used in the real world.
Just a thought

tis says:

@gregg
I do not believe that apple spent a billion dollars developing the chip, I believe that apple bought all of the competing chip designers and secured their Intellectual Property rights so that the other chip designers could not develop a chip that could compete with the Apple A4. Apple is making it look like they spent a fat wad on this chip, my best guess is that they licensed the A8 from ARM and took out all of the non essential pathways in the chip so that voltage was not wasted and optimized.

Ummm says:

Heat? Power Consumption?

dragonmasterdoo says:

There are a lot of differences between a phone and an Ipad that are not being put in comparison here. The big one RAM. I'm sorry but even though there is a bigger screen on the IPAD is a computer, not a phone. Therefore, it is built to be faster than a phone. It has more RAM it has RAM dedicated to video, it has more cache on the processor. Plus the Snapdragon is throttled down to avoid overheating and save on battery consumption, where that is less of a worry with an IPAD. So you can't compare these until it is in the phone and not the computer. Even then you'd still have to run them on the same OS, because I'm sure the more you have running in the background, the longer it takes to load something. Plus all those extra seconds it takes to load one web page is saved when instead of closing my browser, and opening my email to check the emails I just received, I can just open up my email and check leave the browser running and go back to it by just closing my email. I'll gladly sacrifice a couple seconds for multitasking ability.

Alexandre says:

So you are comparing an iPad with a phone?!?!!?
What I see is that Google phone is much faster than iPhone.

BR says:

Wow! What a stupid review. At any point did it occur to you that an iPad can load websites faster because it's designed to use high speed wireless and the phones are optimized to use 3G? Even when connected to a wireless network the phones can't compete since the iPad has a much larger wireless antenna. The bottleneck isn't the processor it's the internet connection. It's like saying my computer is faster because it's connected to a cable modem and yours is slower because it uses dial up. The proof of this is the m.cnn.com. Take large file download time (ie network) out of the equation and the snapdragon processed the site and posted it faster than the iPad. If anything that result would suggest that the snapdragon is faster. And of course it smartly outperformed all the other phones.

BLR says:

This was kinda odd... tablet vs. phone.... but surprisingly relevant after the A4 chip recently was announced as a part of the iPhone 4. I will be pre-ordering tomorrow.

Pooya says:

hahaha, testing processor performance with web-page load time that mostly depends on internet connection, well done, really!!!

anonymous says:

going from the normal 3g to this is like seeing apps and internet in a new light. 3g is garbage, ive waited over minutes for some pages to load, and on average every page takes 25 seconds.
although the article compares a new gen phone against the newest addition of a new gen phone, it is a bit lop sided but what do you expect as the lime light is on the new iphone 4 (that we assume the a4 will be in). what will apple test against, of course the very best thats out there the andriod series. quit bitchin there aint nothing that can be done

J-bles says:

The A4 processor is in the new iphone :). yay!... oh and yeah 3g totally sucks but only because everyone is on it. its sort of like a highway system. There is lots of traffic that is super slow, if you want to get where your going faster you have to pay the toll to drive on the toll highway! 4G Wow! Bandwidth works the same way. They are just adding an extra highway when the 4G network comes out. No one has said how much more you're gonna have to pay for it though. I hate traffic. and yes i know this comment is way late! haha

silentknight says:

woot almost 2 years since the last post and since the iphone 4s has come out with an dual core a5 processor and there are now smartphones with QUAD CORES!