A17 vs A16: The Battle of the Titans

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A17 vs A16: The Battle of the Titans

With the release of the A17 Pro system-on-chip, Apple is switching to a newer, smaller method for making chips and adding a new GPU core. So, what doe

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With the release of the A17 Pro system-on-chip, Apple is switching to a newer, smaller method for making chips and adding a new GPU core. So, what does this change mean in the real world?

What is the A16 Bionic?

The A16 Bionic is a system-on-a-chip that Apple released with the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max in September 2022. Like other chips, the A16 Bionic is based on 64-bit ARM architecture, but unlike standard x86 PC processors, it is not made by Apple.

A system-on-chip, or SoC, is an integrated computer with a CPU, GPU, RAM, and other parts on the same chip. In 2023, Apple put the A16 Bionic chip in the base iPhone 15 and the iPhone 15 Plus. This kept the trend of putting the best chip from the previous year in the non-Pro model of the current year’s iPhone.

The A16 has six CPU cores. Two are designed for high speed and run at just under 3.5GHz. The other four are designed for efficiency and run at just over 2GHz. These cores do most of the “thinking” on an iPhone, including jobs that run in the background. The efficiency cores are made to save power and lengthen the battery’s life.

On top of that, the A16 Bionic has five GPU cores that run at just under 1.4GHz and handle graphics-intensive jobs like 3D gaming and visual effects like iOS transparency. Apple also has a 16-core neural engine that uses machine learning to identify faces and items in your Photo library. The A16 Bionic comes with 16 billion chips and 6GB of RAM.

A new image signal processor (ISP) was added to the A16 Bionic to improve computational photos. This means that pictures from the camera will be better processed, leading to less noise and, in the end, better images.

Apple said that the A16 Bionic was the first smartphone chip to have only 4 nanometers wide transistors. Analysts found that this is debatable and that the chip was made using a slightly improved 5nm method called N4P by the company that made the chip, TSMC.

What is the A17 Pro?

The A17 Pro is an improved system-on-a-chip first used in the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max in 2023. It also has the same ARM-based architecture, but its performance is slightly better because its six-core CPU has two-speed cores that run at just under 3.8GHz and four efficiency cores that run at 2.1GHz.

The A17 Pro also increases the RAM on the SoC from 6GB to 8 GB.

Apple also improved the GPU by adding one more GPU core, bringing the total number of seats to six. Apple says this is a 20% improvement over the A16 Bionic and that hardware ray tracing and better shading make it easier for 3D apps to handle realistic lighting effects.

Apple increased the number of transistors to 19 billion and added support for AV1 decode, a video codec that will replace HEVC in the future. TSMC’s N3B process, which is used to make “true” 3-nanometer chips, makes the A17 Pro.

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How Much Better is the A17 Pro?

The A17 Pro is an improved system-on-a-chip first used in the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max in 2023. It also has the same ARM-based architecture, but its performance is slightly better because its six-core CPU has two-speed cores that run at just under 3.8GHz and four efficiency cores that run at 2.1GHz.

The A17 Pro also increases the RAM on the SoC from 6GB to 8 GB.

Apple also improved the GPU by adding one more GPU core, bringing the total number of seats to six. Apple says this is a 20% improvement over the A16 Bionic and that hardware ray tracing and better shading make it easier for 3D apps to handle realistic lighting effects.

Apple increased the number of transistors to 19 billion and added support for AV1 decode, a video codec that will replace HEVC in the future. TSMC’s N3B process, which is used to make “true” 3-nanometer chips, makes the A17 Pro.

Iphone BenchMark Score

Tom’s Guide made a set of benchmarks that measure Geekbench and real-world tests like converting 4K video to 1080p in Adobe Premier Rush. This made the A17 Pro beat the best A16 Bionic scores by anywhere from two to six seconds.

Remember that standards don’t always match how things are used in the real world. Because of how chip limitations work, scores will be different. Different batches of chips are made with additional silicon, so the numbers constantly change.

Does the A17 Pro Make the iPhone 15 Pro Worth It?

If you only want to switch from an iPhone 14 Pro to an iPhone 15 Pro to get a faster phone, the answer is probably not. If you play many 3D games, your view of the world might change. The improvements to the GPU will boost speed, and Apple’s plan to bring “AAA” games like Resident Evil: Village to mobile devices will require either an iPhone 15 Pro or an iPad with an M1 chip.

Still, if you’re a serious gamer, you probably already have a tablet or computer to run these games. Even if you use upscaling methods like NVIDIA’s DLSS, you can play these games at a higher quality on a big screen like a TV or monitor.

The A16 Bionic chip is still perfect, as shown by the fact that it will be in the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus models of 2023. The A17 Pro is on the cutting edge, which is why it’s in Apple’s “halo” line of top-of-the-line products. If you’re coming from an older device, you’ll likely notice a speed improvement. However, this is true whether you choose the Pro or the standard model.

If you want a reason to upgrade, we will point you to the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s 5x optical zoom, the Action button that replaces the ring/silent switch, and the USB-C port for charging and transferring data.

The A17 Pro is Apple’s First 3nm Chip

The A17 Pro is the first chip from Apple to be made with a 3-nanometer process. The number measures how big each transistor on the chip is. In effect, you can fit more transistors on a chip if they are smaller. This is clear because the A17 Pro has three billion more transistors than the A16 Bionic. The A17 Pro has 19 billion transistors, while the A16 Bionic only has 16 billion.

This not only helps performance by letting more things happen per second, but it also makes the chips work better. But you can’t always have it both ways, so efficiency and effectiveness are often traded off. This means that chips get faster each year while keeping the same efficiency as the year before.

You have nothing to worry about with this number. It means that chip manufacturing is improving, which will finally make its way down to all iPhone models (and other devices), whether you buy an iPhone Pro now or a regular iPhone in a few years.

Conclusion

If you want to spend money on a brand-new iPhone Pro with the latest features, a metal body, USB-C, and the A17 Pro, then go for it. But for most people, the best thing to do is stick to a more realistic update schedule and only update their iPhones when they “need” to. This could be because you’re waiting longer than you’d like, the battery life is worsening, or you want a better camera.

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