/ Apple Mac News

Geekbench results for the Apple Silicon Developer Transition Kit surface online

At WWDC20, Apple announced its next major shift for the Mac—away from Intel processors to Apple-designed silicon. It’s a big deal, and the first products for consumers will be available later this year.

In the meantime, Apple is making Developer Transition Kits available to some developers, so they can get started re-compiling and optimizing their Mac apps. The DTK is a Mac mini enclosure with an A12Z system-on-chip inside (the same as in the current iPad Pro). It has 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, and a special version of macOS Big Sur and Xcode development tools.

For Mac apps that aren’t updated to be compatible Apple silicon, the new Macs will use an automatic emulation tool called Rosetta to translate apps made for Intel processors. And now that the DTKs are starting to ship to developers, we have an early look at what kind of performance that might give us.

Early Rosetta Geekbench results

The Geekbench results database currently shows eight benchmark results for the DTK. Since Geekbench has not yet been made available as a new universal Apple/Intel Mac app, these results show what the DTK is capable of when running an app with the Rosetta translation.

geekbench dtk Geekbench

The scores generally fall into the low 800s for single-core performance and around 2,800 or so for multi-core performance. 

How does that stack up to other products? That same A12Z processor, running native code on an iPad Pro, scores about 1,100 for single-core and 4,700 for multi-core. The iPad Pro is roughly 25 percent higher on single-core performance and 40 percent higher on multi-core performance.

The latest MacBook Air, with its entry-level processor, scores around 1,100 for single-core and 2,200 for multi-core. And an entry-level Mac mini (which hasn’t been updated since 2018) delivers a score in the high 800s for single-core performance and around 2,500 for multi-core.

So the Mac Developer Transition Kit, running an Intel-based benchmark under Rosetta emulation/translation, takes a big hit compared to native performance. But Apple’s chips are so fast that it still runs roughly in the same ballpark as an entry-level Mac mini from 2018, or an entry-level MacBook Air from this year.

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