Apple’s A17 Pro, housed in its flagship iPhone 15 Pro, boasts significant improvements over its predecessor. It is the only SoC by Apple that officially supports a range of AAA titles. However, this raw power comes at the cost of efficiency.
While the A17 Pro is a powerful chip, it is unable to reach its maximum potential, mainly due to thermal throttling. In certain demanding scenarios and benchmarks, the chip’s performance experiences significant drops, even after short bursts of unsustained load.
This issue stems primarily from the inadequate cooling system in the iPhone 15 Pro models, which allows the phone’s temperature to exceed 45°C, triggering thermal throttling mechanisms. While Apple attempted to address this problem with the iOS 17.0.3 update, it appears that the issue still persists.
With all that to cater for and fully explore the potential of the A17 Pro, it was essential to eliminate ambient temperature constraints and test the chipset in a cool environment. To achieve this, reviewer VST conducted a 3DMark Wildlife Extreme benchmark test with the background temperature maintained at near-freezing levels.
For this test, they compared the A17 Pro against Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 in the Xiaomi 14 Pro and the older Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 (For Galaxy) in the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.“
Testing Reveals A17 Pro’s Rapid Performance Drops Under Sustained Load
For the review, the ambient temperature was measured to be approximately 4°C. Throughout the entire 20-minute duration of this test, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 consistently outperformed the other two chipsets, as evident from the FPS numbers. However, a surprising observation was that the A17 Pro struggled to keep up with the previous generation’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.
Upon analysing the performance data, it was discovered that the A17 Pro had throttled within the first minute, resulting in an immediate drop in performance.
iPhone 15 PM’s overall stability was measured at 75.8%. However, the 8 Gen 3, despite its less optimal cooling solution, achieved a stability of 88.3%. The last-generation overclocked 8 Gen 2 in the S23 Ultra was the most stable at 98.7%, albeit with a lower overall score compared to its successor.
While Apple’s lack of adequate cooling solutions were exposed within the initial periods of its release, its evident that software updates didn’t rectify the issue fully. It is important to note that 3DMark Wildlife Extreme isn’t the only benchmark where one’s judgement should lie. But, it definitely gives an idea on how the SoC performs under certain workloads.
This is all we know for now, but rest assured that we will keep you updated as new information becomes available.