November 21, 2018
Apple a12 vs a11 vs A12x

Apple A11 vs A12 vs A12x SOC Specifications Comparison & Benchmarks

It is that time of the year again, and Apple has released their flagship iPads Pros. The new Tablets comes with sleeker bezels and a performance boost not only over its predecessor but also over its mobile counterpart. With approximately 45% more transistor over the A12 (10 vs 6.9 Billion), it comes with performance matching with their x86 mid-range processor counterparts. Since it is an exciting launch, in this article, we will be comparing Apple A11 vs A12 vs A12x SOCs.


The A12x comes with two extra ‘Tempest’ performance cores when compared with the A12. Also, it comes with 3 more GPU cores for graphics offloading and performance increments. Incidentally, the current generation of iPads came with USB-C connectivity which enabled Apple to demo external cameras, monitors and other accesories.

Now, we all know the Bi-Directional capability of USB-C’s serial interface, including support for external display. Kudos to Apple for incorporating this open standard.

Also Read: Apple A12 vs A11 vs Snapdragon 845

The overall size of the SOC also got a bump from 83-mm2 to 120-mm2 (A12 vs A12x). It assures us that Apple isn’t selling us a more substantial size phone with pen (pencil) support. They are targeting the pro audience with these devices for sure!

The Comparison between Apple A11 vs A12 vs A12x

For a better understanding between the three competing processors refer to the table below. It will help us understand the differences in a transparent way.

Features / Particulars Apple A11 Apple A12 A12x
Manufacturing Process 10-nm FinFET Process 7-nm FinFET Process

Silicon Size: 83-mm2

7-nm FinFET Process

Silicon Size: 120-mm2

Architecture 64 bit 64 bit 64 bit ARMv8-A
CPU 6-core processor (2x Monsoon + 4x Mistral) up to 2.53GHz 6-core processor (2x Monsoon (2.5GHz) + 4x Mistral) up to 2.53GHz 8 Cores (4 (Vortex & 4 Tempest) performance and efficiency respectively
GPU Apple-Designed 3-core GPU Apple-Designed -core GPU 7-Core GPU (proprietary )
RAM Type LPDDR4x LPDDR4x Dual-Channel LPDDR4x
Camera Apple’s ISP for faster auto-focus in low-light scenarios Apple’s ISP for faster auto-focus in low-light scenarios Proprietary (ISP) Image Signal Processor (More depth and details)
Number of transistors 4.3 billion 6.9 billion 10 Billion
Security features Neural engine with face ID Neural engine with face ID Animoji, FaceID, AR
Neural engine cores (NPU) 2 Core NPU @ 600 billion Ops/sec 8

8 Cores @5,000 billion ops/sec


2nd Gen NPU (Neural Engine)

8 Cores @5,000 billion ops/sec

Now, beyond the specs, the real improvement is in their T2 micro-controller chip which is also found on their Mac Mini and MacBook Air offerings. The T1 has introduced not so long ago in 2016 and was first seen on the MacBook Air.

Most of T2’s job is to optimize the interconnects overall performance such as the following:

  • Storage SSD Controller up to 1 TB
  • AES-256 crypto engine
  • Systems Management Controller and thermals
  • Power, Battery, and Sensors (Light, Gyro, etc.)
  • Image Processor & FaceTime HD Camera

In addition to what is mentioned above, Apple also disclosed that they are using the T2 IC for managing Audio, Hey Siri! And native HEVC decoding.

Specs Comparison of Apple A11, Apple A10X, and A12x

So how does the A12x compare with its predecessors? First of all, it skipped a generation since we never saw an A11x SoC. As one would expect, the IP generations that were found in the A12 SoC is implemented on the A12x on a larger scale. Interestingly, it is also Apple’s first 8-core (Octa) SoC. What we don’t know yet is about the frequencies of these 4×4 Core CPU.

We expect most of its GPU performance will attribute to its 120Hz display unit running at either 2388 x 1668 or 2732 x 2048 for the larger 12.9″ model.

The A12x also sports the same neural network accelerator block (NPU) also found on the A12, sporting up to 8 Cores @5,000 billion ops/sec (5 TeraOPS of processing speeds).

Now that we know a little about the three processors, now let’s compare the specs and some real-world performance of the three SOC’s.

Apple A11 vs A10X vs A12x
SoC A11 Bionic Chip A10X Fusion A12x
CPU Architecture 64-bit ARMv8  64-bit ARMv8 64 bit ARMv8-A
CPU Cores Hexa-core (2× Monsoon + 4× Mistral) Max up to 2.34 GHz  Hexa-core (3× Hurricane + 3× Zephyr) Max up to 2.38 GHz 8 Cores (4 (Vortex & 4 Tempest) performance and efficiency respectively
GPU  Apple designed custom 3 core(s) GPU  Apple customized “PowerVR Series” Hex-Core 7XT GT7600 Plus 7-Core GPU (proprietary )
Manufacturing Technology  10 nm FinFET  10 nm FinFET  7-nm FinFET Process (TSMC)
Camera Dual rear camera 12 MP, 7 MP front camera  12 MP rear camera and 7 MP front camera Proprietary (ISP) Image Signal Processor (More depth and details)


Once we receive one of these iPads on our hands, we will get more insights about its internals, the new SoC and the CPU frequency. That is all that we have for you now.

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