A9X in 9.7-Inch iPad Pro is Underclocked Compared to 12.9-inch iPad Pro

The new 9.7-inch iPad Pro adopts the same powerful dual-core 64-bit A9X chip that was first introduced in the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, but the two tablets are not on par when it comes to performance. Based on information on Apple's website, it appears the A9X in the 9.7-inch iPad Pro is slightly underclocked compared to the A9X in the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (via AppleInsider).

On its iPad comparison page, Apple lists the specs of the A9X in both of the iPad Pros, comparing them to the A7 chip in the iPad Air, iPad mini 2/3, and iPhone 5s. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro lists a 2.5x faster CPU and 5x faster graphics, while the 9.7-inch iPad Pro lists a 2.4x faster CPU and 4.3x faster graphics.

a9xclockspeeds
Apple has a history of underclocking the chips used in smaller devices. The iPad mini 2 and the iPad Air both used the same A7 chip, but while the iPad Air clocked in at 1.4GHz, the iPad mini 2 ran at 1.3GHz.

It's likely Apple is underclocking the A9X chip in the 9.7-inch iPad Pro due to its smaller body, which may be unable to dissipate heat as well as the larger 12.9-inch iPad Pro, The performance difference between the two tablets is likely to be unnoticeable in real world conditions, and even underclocked, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro is offering some significant performance improvements over the 9.7-inch iPad Air 2.

Aside from the slightly lower clock speed, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro has several features that set it above the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, including a 12-megapixel camera with a rear flash and a new True Tone display feature that adjusts the screen's temperature based on ambient lighting.

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro will be available for order starting this Thursday, with in-store availability and shipments starting the following Thursday, on March 31. Pricing for the new iPad Pro starts at $599.

Update: Geekbench benchmark testing conducted by TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino suggests the A9X processor in the 9.7-inch iPad Pro runs at 2.16GHz, compared to 2.24GHz in the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

The new iPad Pro received a single-core score of 3022 and a multi-core score of 5107. In comparison, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro sees average scores of 3224 on the single-core test and 5466 on the multi-core test. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro may not be quite as powerful as the 12.9-inch model, but it did significantly outperform the iPhone 6s and the iPad Air 2 on the Geekbench test.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro
Related Forum: iPad

Top Rated Comments

Norbs12 Avatar
83 months ago
Angry people that don't understand the intricate balance of size vs cooling vs weight vs clock speed vs battery life.
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
keysofanxiety Avatar
83 months ago
What I really want to know: if the 9.7 iPad Pro can stay flatly on surfaces - thanks to the protruding camera.
#Bumpgate
iPad Pro 7: "It's simply the best camera we've ever shipped in a portable product"



Attachment Image
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Norbs12 Avatar
83 months ago


- Processor speeds that are artificially under/over-clocked don't affect weight or size.
- Battery life can easily be extended if Jony stopped desperately obsessing over thin cases.
- You were never going to adequetly cool anything in a case with no air flow.

And I'm not even an engineer.
* No such thing as artificial clock speed. You raise clock, you lower battery life, need bigger battery (maybe even bigger casing) for same battery life, in the end it affects the weight.


* If only water wasn't so wet.

* Just because a device doesn't get airflow doesn't mean it doesn't get cooled (nice thing about using aluminum). The mass of the devices itself absorbs a lot of the heat. If Apple made it same speed people would complain on how it get so hot because the same amount of heat was spread through less mass. Bigger batteries also produce heat while being charged and discharged. Really you can't win because someone who didn't do their homework will tell you that you did it wrong.

"And I'm not even an engineer."
It was obvious.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
darcyf Avatar
83 months ago
Score one for the early Pro adopters.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
keysofanxiety Avatar
83 months ago
Not too fussed about the slight underclocking as Apple often do that. But if you're going to give two iPads the 'Pro' mantle, at least make all the specs the same — camera, USB, LCD ...

Apple laugh about software fragmentation, but this confusing anti-consumer hardware fragmentation can be just as bad.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
6836838 Avatar
83 months ago
Aside from the slightly lower clock speed(unnoticeable in real world conditions), the 9.7-inch iPad Pro has several features that set it above the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, including a 12-megapixel camera with a rear flash and a new True Tone display feature that adjusts the screen's temperature based on ambient lighting.

Score tied then? :p
I'm sorry it's moot. iPad photography should be banned in all countries. Along with 'selfie' sticks.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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