When we talk about an iPhone or an iPad, we are quite interested in its characteristics: its screen, the camera or the security system. But sometimes we forget one of the most important sections which is the processor or the graphics that they integrate. In these devices they are grouped into class A chips. In this article we are going to make a comparison between two of the most important chips that can be found: the A14 and the A15.
Where can each chip be found
The first difference that can be found in the chips is the place where they can be found of course. The first thing to know is that both chips can be found in more than one device, specifically the iPhone and the iPad . If we start with the A15 chip, we must know that this could be seen for the first time in September 2021 and is present in the following devices:
- iPhone 13 Pro Max
- iPhone 13 Pro
- iPhone 13
- iPhone 13 mini
- iPad mini (6th generation)
In the case of the A14 chip , we are talking about a hardware that has a little more time to be presented as such in September 2020. This means that generationally, as its own numbering indicates, it goes ‘behind’ the A15 chip. In this case, it should be noted that this hardware is only available on the following devices:
- iPhone 12 Pro Max
- iPhone 12 Pro
- iPhone 12
- iPhone 12 mini
- iPad Air (4th generation)
The differences by parts
One thing you can go wrong with whenever you talk about an iPhone processor is that you only refer to the CPU. All components such as the GPU or RAM are imagined to be completely separate from each other. But the truth is that all these parts are concentrated in the chip of the A range and it is something that makes a lot of sense. By having all the components united in the same space, space is saved and all processes are also very efficient by facilitating the transfer of information between all these parts. Next we are going to break down in this way the differences that exist in GPU, CPU, memory and also in connectivity. These parts are always converged on the A14 and A15 chip.
What changes in the CPU
It can be said that the CPU is the true brain of an iPhone or iPad. In this part of the hardware the processing of all the instructions to be carried out is done. In this sense, the act of opening an application or processing a photo normally requires the power of this part of the hardware. In the following table you will see the differences that exist in particular between the A14 and A15 chip with reference to its CPU.
|A14 chip||A15 chip|
|Architecture||2x 3.1 GHz
4x 1.8 GHz
|2x 3.223 GHz
4x 1.82 GHz
|Frequency||3100 MHZ||32000 MHz|
|L2 cache||8 MB||8 MB|
|Processes||5 nanometers||5 nanometers|
|Number of transitors||11 thousand eight hundred million||15 billion|
|TDP (heat generated)||–||6W|
As you can see, there are not too many technical differences between both CPUs. The most remarkable thing resides in the transistors where there is an increase in the case of the A15 chip that exceeds 15 billion. This means that there is a higher density of this type of basic element in a CPU that translates into higher performance although not in a proportional way as can be expected. Another of the most relevant changes is an increase in the frequency of 100 MHz that also influences the ability to carry out different processes. But in core or architecture it remains practically the same.
GPU and memory differences
Another fundamental part of the A-range chip is the GPU, just like in any other electronic device. This graphics processing unit is a coprocessor that has the ability to process all images. In this way it is a fundamental part when taking pictures and also playing different games. Both graphic and three-dimensional information have this section inside the chip and that is why the greatest efficiency is always sought. This is in addition to the RAM memory that is essential to carry out all the processes in a much faster way. It also offers the possibility of having several applications open and ultimately doing several tasks simultaneously. Below we show you in a table the differences of GPU and RAM.
|Max bandwidth||42.7 Gbit / s||–|
|Maximum memory||6 GB||8 GB|
Regarding the GPU, you can see how Apple has opted to introduce an extra processing unit in the A15 chip compared to the previous generation. This can respond to the needs established by the devices in which these GPUs are integrated. Specifically, it should be noted that the iPhones that have the A15 include professional photography modes. This is something that always requires a higher GPU power that was solved with this strategy.
If we talk about RAM, we do see relevant differences. The highlight lies in the maximum memory that can be found. In the case of the A15 chip it can be accompanied with up to 8 GB of RAM, but in the case of the A14 it is only compatible with up to 6 GB of RAM. The fact of integrating a larger memory basically responds to the need to perform tasks simultaneously.
Do they have the same connectivity?
The communication system is another of the key points when talking about the chip that integrates an iPhone or an iPad. This is a part that is responsible for the coverage that the equipment receives through 4G or 5G networks. But in this sense, WiFi connectivity is also counted, which is undoubtedly one of the most used. All this system can also be found in the class A chip and in the following table we will tell you the differences that exist.
|4G support||LTE Cat 18||LTE Cat. 24|
|Navigation||GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo||GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo, QZSS|
As can be seen from this data table, the communication is quite similar in both chips. Both have support for 5G and the WiFi 6.0 standard, but there is only a slight difference in 4G support. This translates into a higher base speed with this type of network, which is one of the most used. In navigation in both cases the same characteristics are maintained.
Showdown in Benchmarks and AnTuTu
When you want to see the performance of a processor, it is usually customary to perform different stress tests. These make this hardware be 100%, with numerous processes running continuously. At the end, a numerical value is offered which is the one that marks how fast on a specific processor or GPU and can lead to a clear comparison. That is why when facing two processors of this caliber it is interesting to visualize the details of this type of test. If we start with GeekBench 5 , the results are as follows:
- A14 Single-Core: 1,575
- A15 Single-Core: 1,728
- A14 Multi-Core: 4,077
- A15 Multi-Core: 4,632
It can be clearly seen that there is an increase of 10% when speaking of Single-Core and 14% in the case of Multi-Core. In this way you can see that the performance is better in the higher generation but the difference is not as great as you can expect. In practice it is possible that it is simply not noticeable with a regular use that is always conditioned to the tasks that are being carried out.
Another test that can be performed on these processors is the AnTuTu 9. In this case it is basically done to be able to contrast the results and see if there is really a significant change or not. In the case of the comparison between the A14 and the A15 the following result can be found:
- AnTuTu 9 from A14 chip: 711.494
- AnTuTu 9 from chip A15: 786.699
In this case, you can see a difference in the score of 11% between both chips, the A15 being the winner as it may be logical. But what is really important here is that there is no evolution that can be noticed on a day-to-day basis. In the end we are facing two processors that are really powerful and although there is a difference on paper in practice it is not so relevant.