Apple has started providing some developers with a Mac mini that includes the A12Z chip (as found in the iPad Pro).
Despite Apple telling developers not to post benchmarks relating to the Apple Silicon powered Mac, benchmarks have already appeared in the Geekbench database. However, these should be used with caution because Geekbench for Mac is not a native app for Apple Silicon and therefore will rely on the Rosetta 2 translation layer. This means it is only measuring how well programs optimised for Intel will run on the new hardware rather than native applications.
This will go some way to explain why the single-core performance of just over 800 points is significantly behind that of the iPad Pro with the same SoC, which reaches 1,100 points.
The difference is even greater with the multicore benchmark: 2,800 points on the modified Mac Mini and 4,700 points on the iPad Pro.
When we benchmarked the entry-level 2020 MacBook Air (with a 1.1GHz Dual-Core i3 10th generation processor) it saw a score of 2,380 for multi-core performance and 1,093 for single-core. So, even with the limitations of Rosetta the chip is still beating this Intel processor in multi-core performance.
The entry-level Mac mini (with a 3.6GHz Quad-Core i3 8th generation processor) scores high 865 for single-core performance and around 2,537 for multi-core.
If you assume that the chip itself should have the same performance as it does on the iPad Pro, you can see here how much Rosetta 2 is still slowing down and how much Apple Silicon relies on developers to quickly port their applications to the new platform.
Update: In February 2021 Apple recalled the Mac mini with A12Z chips.
This article originally appeared on Macwelt. Translation by Karen Haslam.