Benchmarking ARM processors: Graviton 4, Graviton 3 and Apple M2

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2024-07-10 21:00:06

The world of commodity processor is roughly divided in two: x64 chips for servers and PCs, and ARM processors for mobile devices. However, ARM chips increasingly common on servers and laptop. My own favorite laptop is an Apple macBook with an M2 chip. Amazon has been producing its own ARM processors (Graviton) and it recently made available the latest of such chips, the Graviton 4. It is reportedly based on a Neoverse V2 design from ARM while its previous design was a Neoverse V1 (Graviton 3). Qualcomm has also released high performance ARM chips for Windows laptops, the Snapdragon Elite X.

I decided to quickly test Amazon’s new Graviton 4 processor. I am deliberately not comparing against x64 processors. It is far easier to compare ARM against ARM given that you can run exactly the same instructions.

In a previous benchmark, I found that, at least for the type of work that I do, the Graviton 3 processor ran slower than an Apple M2, even after correcting for its lower frequency. The Graviton 3 runs at up to 2.6 GHz, while Apple M2 can run at up to 3.5 GHz.  The Graviton 4 runs at 2.8 GHz. Going from the clock speed alone, you would not expect much of a performance gain going from the Graviton 3 to the Graviton 4 (at most 10%)

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