Next-gen A14 chip could be first Arm-based processor to exceed 3GHz

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Gather_Round_A12Bionic 2
A12 Bionic introduced the 7-nanometer process. A14 will take that number even smaller.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s forthcoming A14 processor for the iPhone 12 series will be the first Arm-based mobile processor to exceed 3GHz, a report published Sunday claims.

According to Research Snipers’ report, the new supercharged chip could hit a GeekBench 4 running score of 3.1GHz. That would be 400MHz higher than the current A13 Bionic chips’s 2.7GHz.

The report goes on to note that:

“At such high frequencies, Geekbench 5’s running points also soared, with single-core 1658 points and multi-core 4612 points.”

It notes that, compared to the A13 chip, single-core performance has increased 25% to 1658 for the A14. Meanwhile, multi-core performance is up 33% from the A13 to hit 4612 points.

A14: Introducing the 5-nanometer process

Apple’s A14 chip is being designed by TSMC using its breakthrough 5-nanometer process. Reaching smaller number in terms of nanometers is no guarantee of performance boosts. But reducing the size between transistors means being able to pack more of them on. This can then greatly improve performance.

The previous jump in terms of nanometers was Apple’s A12 Bionic chip in 2018. This chip, made using the 7-nanometer process, was either the first or second phone in the world to include these chips. Although Huawei showed off its 7nm Kirin 980 first, Apple shipped its 7nm iPhones before Huawei. Fast Company listed the 7nm A12 chip as being Apple’s biggest feat of 2018. This year’s A14 could help Apple repeat that achievement — and then some.

A report published by Digitimes last week said that TSMC is getting ready to “kick off” volume production of chips built using 5nm process technology in April. While it didn’t name Apple as TSMC’s client, it said that process capacity has already been “fully booked” up.