The latest Apple TV 4K has been available to consumers for just about a week, and we continue to learn more about the changes and improvements Apple’s made with this year’s revision. The new Apple TV 4K is powered by the A15 Bionic chip, and new in-depth testing from FlatpanelsHD offers an interesting look at how this compares to game consoles like the Playstation 4 and Playstation 5.
Apple TV 4K performance testing
The A15 chip used by this year’s Apple TV 4K has a 4-core GPU, rather than the 5-core GPU version that was used in the iPhone 13 Pro. It also has a 4-core CPU rather than a 5-core CPU, again showing that it’s basically a “binned” version of the A15 Bionic chip used in other devices.
In terms of performance compared to the previous-generation Apple TV with an A12 chip inside, the tests done by FlatpanelsHD show that this year’s Apple TV 4K is “roughly 40% faster.” Apple advertises that it should be 50% faster, but this difference could simply come down to differences in testing methodology.
Another change this year is that the latest Apple TV 4K doesn’t have a fan inside, leading to a smaller and lighter design. How does this impact performance, cooling, and throttling? The new Apple TV 4K actually throttles less than the previous model:
In our CPU benchmark testing A15 was roughly 40% faster than A12 in the previous Apple TV – short of Apple’s claimed 50% improvement that may use different testing methodology. On the other hand we were surprised to see A15 throttle less than A12 considering that it does not have active cooling. A 20-minute CPU stresstest throttled A12 to 65% while A15 throttled to just 84%, meaning that the new Apple TV 4K can sustain most of its CPU performance during prolonged heavy loads in games.
In terms of comparisons to game consoles like the PS5 and Xbox One:
The CPU in A15 Bionic is much, much faster than previous-generation game consoles such as Xbox One and PlayStation 5. The A15’s CPU performance core is also significantly faster than PS5’s CPU core (single-core performance) but PS5 pulls ahead in multi-core performance because it has 8 cores as opposed to 5 cores in the Apple TV version of A15.
As for the GPU, Apple TV 4K (2022) on paper exceeds 1 TFlops of graphical performance but how much is a little unclear as there are no GPU info or benchmark apps available for tvOS. In terms of TFlops performance it still cannot match last-gen game consoles such as Xbox One and it has only half the amount of RAM (4GB vs. 8GB).
On the other hand Apple TV 4K (2022) has much faster RAM and is equipped with a very fast NVMe SSD unlike the old-school hard drive in last-gen consoles. We are starting to get to a point where Xbox One and PS4 games should, in theory, be playable on Apple TV without too many compromises.
For years, Apple has attempted to turn the Apple TV into a gaming device but without much success. These tests underscore that the issue isn’t performance but rather the lack of broader support from developers and game studios. These tests show that little has changed in that department, but the performance of games that are available continues to impress.
The full review from FlatpanelsHD offers a look at performance for games such as Beyond a Steel Sky, Sayonara Wild Hearts, The Pathless, and much more. Check it out here.
Will the Apple TV 4K ever become a leading gaming device? Let us know what you think down in the comments.
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