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Quad-Core Quandary: Why Apple’s New A7 Chip Is ‘Only’ Dual-Core

Quad-Core Quandary: Why Apple’s New A7 Chip Is ‘Only’ Dual-Core

Far too many  sites have written articles explaining that Apple’s custom A7 chip, used in the iPhone 5S, is only a dual-core chip, and not a quad-core chip as some had hoped (as if that were important). Fortunately, most of the articles I have read have done the matter justice, explaining that the number of cores is less important than their performance (including the original article at AnandTech that revealed the actual number of cores).


Invariable, each of these posts is plagued by sad reader comments from basement-dwelling buffoons who have taken just enough time out of their busy porn-watching and chatroom-trolling schedules to complain about this. “Apple is falling behind,” they say. “Android devices have had quad-core chips for AGES”, they say.

To all the Fandroid trolls who have, or invariably will, post this nonsense, I have only a few short things to say. Do you want to know why Apple’s A7 chip is NOT quad-core? Because it doesn’t need to be. It’s that simple.

The A7 is the fastest mobile chip ever benchmarked EVER, beating the ever-loving snot out of even the most power-draining and “advanced” quad-core chips being used in Android devices. Simply put, it’s the most powerful, efficient, and highest performing chip even put in a smartphone. And it can accomplish more with two processor cores that the competition can with twice as many.

AnandTech founder Anand Shimpi explains the matter quite well in a brief interview with CNET:

The tools that count cores query the [operating system] and the OS returns the number of logical CPUs and they only returned two […] The quad-core card was kind of forced. It’s definitely not the only way to arrive at the ideal performance-power for a phone. […] The dual-core A7 is now the fastest [system-on-a-chip] we’ve tested under SunSpider, even outpacing Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 and ARM’s Cortex A15.

Raw specs don’t matter. They never have. Guess what DOES matter? Performance, hardware-software integration, and the user experience – and that’s where Apple’s A7 has hit the ball waaaay out of the park. So stick THAT in your pipes and smoke it.

Check out our iPhone 5S and 5C launch page for our full assortment of tips, guides, apps, resources, and other coverage!