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Apple's A5 processor could pave the way for larger chip trend

post #1 of 119
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Despite sharing similar specifications, Apple's bigger A5 System on a Chip processor used in the iPad 2 has posted better performance than Nvidia's Tegra 2 chip, causing one analyst to believe that Apple is leading a trend toward larger, faster mobile processors.

Responding to another analyst's claims that, from a semiconductor perspective, "Apple is falling behind - way behind," analyst Didier Scemama of RBS issued a report on Friday defending the A5's larger footprint, Barrons reports.

Given that the A5 is 122 square millimeters in dimension, compared to the Tegra 2's 49 square millimeters, Scemama finds the difference "surprising" because both processors have similar specifications: "dual core Cortex-A9 ARM CPU, high-end GPU, HD video, high-end audio and imaging."

That size difference is partly attributed to the 45-nanometer process used by Samsung to build the A5, as Nvidia used Taiwan Semiconductor's smaller 40-nanometer process.

According to Scemama, "the major difference in specification between the chips is that Apple uses Imagination Technologies PowerVR SGX543 dual-core GPU in the A5 and Nvidia uses its own GPU called GeForce.



The PowerVR SGX543, which AppleInsider was first to report would be included in the iPad 2, provides a dramatic boost in graphics power. Though Apple claims a 9x graphics speed bump from the original iPad to the iPad 2, real world tests suggest the second-generation tablet has roughly 5x the graphics power of its predecessor.

The analyst cited OpenGL benchmark tests that show "that the A5 beat Tegra 2 handsomely." When tested against the Tegra 2-powered Motorola Xoom tablet, the iPad 2 performed 3.7x better than the Xoom.

The Tegra 2's slower performance may be a result of cost limitations that Nvidia faces with its customers, the report noted. Scemama believes that Nvidia needs to keep the Tegra 2 chip in the $15 to $20 range. In contrast, UBM TechInsight estimates that Apple's new chip costs $25 to make, though the research firm speculates that high volume, generated by building A5 into a range of products such as the iPhone 5 and next-generation iPod touch, could bring the costs down to $15.

"Apple can afford to use a larger chip, which delivers substantially better performance, as it pays a fraction of the price it would pay if it used an off-the-shelf solution with similar performance," said Scemama.

Scemama speculates that ARM and Imagination Technologies would benefit from an ensuing spec race as competitors attempt to match Apple in terms of performance.

"Given the current gap in performance between the A5 from Apple and other competing chips, we believe it is possible higher performance (and therefore potentially larger die size) processors may be required by OEMs. This may explain the current race among ARM partners to launch higher performance processors in terms of CPU but also, crucially, GPU," he noted.

Nvidia's price limits could stem from struggles by rival tablet makers to keep costs down while remaining competitive with the iPad on features and performance.

Last year, Apple CEO Steve Jobs noted that the company's "potential competitors [in tablets] are having a tough time coming close to iPad's pricing. iPad incorporates everything we've learned about building high value products. We create our own A4 chip, software, battery chemistry, enclosure, everything. This results in an incredible product at a great price. The proof will be in the pricing of our competitors' products, which will offer less for more. "

Jobs' words rang true this spring when Motorola revealed a $799 price tag for the entry level Xoom, despite the company's use of the cheaper Tegra 2 chip. Shortly after Apple unveiled the iPad 2, Motorola announced a $599 Wi-Fi only version of the Xoom.
post #2 of 119
Yep. Remember, to get the surface area of a transistor, figures like 45nm are squared, so a difference of 5nm is larger than it seems. Plus, the A5 uses the MP2 version of the 543 GPU, which obviously would take more room, seeing as its a whole 'nother graphics core. Not really surprising that its bigger, nor that it does better in raw graphics benchmarks.

I know the 543 was built from the ground up to be scalable (up to 16, I think, and the PSP2/NGP will use the 4 core version), I wonder if Nvidia's equivalent GPU is like that? If so, they could catch up soon.
post #3 of 119
The important thing is how flat/thin it is, right? Otherwise if you can make it cheaper by spreading it out, and you have the room anyway, go for it.
post #4 of 119
Apple made a great move by building their own chip on top of an already fast arm architecture. This means the performance will stay competitive, but competition will gain little in adopting newer versions as direct comparison based on chip number or even gigahertz impossible.
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post #5 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

The important thing is how flat/thin it is, right? Otherwise if you can make it cheaper by spreading it out, and you have the room anyway, go for it.

Agreed. Not a big deal for iPad, which at least in version 1 had room to spare, but an iPod touch might have a problem with larger design. Also heat and ventilation are a concern though a bigger surface area may make cooling easier.
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post #6 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by tipoo View Post

Yep. Remember, to get the surface area of a transistor, figures like 45nm are squared, so a difference of 5nm is larger than it seems. Plus, the A5 uses the MP2 version of the 543 GPU, which obviously would take more room, seeing as its a whole 'nother graphics core. Not really surprising that its bigger, nor that it does better in raw graphics benchmarks.

I know the 543 was built from the ground up to be scalable (up to 16, I think, and the PSP2/NGP will use the 4 core version), I wonder if Nvidia's equivalent GPU is like that? If so, they could catch up soon.

Don't forget the layers. These chips are also three-dimensional.
Does the A5 have more layers than the Nvidia chip?
post #7 of 119
You can now buy the WiFi version of the 32GB Xoom for $599, matching Apples 32GB iPad price point.
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Motorola...;skuId=1946197

I suppose some will honestly feel that the slightly higher resolution display and 16:9 aspect ratio on a TN panels are more important than a more universal 4:3 IPS panel on a tablet, or that their cameras are more awesomer despite being cameras on a tablet, or that its not to locked to iTunes and you dont have to buy all your stuff from iTunes Store, or that Android is open and free I said feel, I didnt say they would think.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

The important thing is how flat/thin it is, right? Otherwise if you can make it cheaper by spreading it out, and you have the room anyway, go for it.

A couple weeks ago we were wondering if this larger chip could fit into the iPhone 4/G4 iPod Touch casing. I recall that its only slightly larger on the short access making it possible if they maneuvered some other chips on the board.

sheffs remark that it could be for better cooling makes sense to me. Do we know how thick the A4 and A5 PoPs are compared to other chips? No one has yet made a logic board as dense as Apples iPhone 4 board. They are stacking chips on either side so perhaps thickness is more important than area in this case.
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G4 iPhone Teardwon Theyve come a long way.
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post #8 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

A couple weeks ago we were wondering if this larger chip could fit into the iPhone 4/G4 iPod Touch casing. I recall that its only slightly larger on the short access making it possible if they maneuvered some other chips on the board.

It's a good question. Maybe with it's smaller screen they will be able to leave off some of the graphics circuitry, but still have the same CPU. But then again, it is a retina display!
post #9 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post

Apple didn't build the A5 chip, Samsung built the A5.

Apple designs the chip, Samsung produces it.
post #10 of 119
Apple's chugging along to complete self-sufficiency.
post #11 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post

Apple didn't build the A5 chip, Samsung built the A5.

Thats like arguing that Apple doesnt build the iPhone, Foxconn does. In the end, Apple isnt buying off-the-shelf components for the A5. Its there design for the A5 chip, regardless of what reference design was used, who they hired to help with tweaking to their needs and who actually produced it, the same way that the iPhone wasnt completely designed by Apple or produced by Foxconn if we consider the many components within the device that were actually bought off-the-shelf.
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post #12 of 119
It is fun to follow the progress of Apple's designs including their A line of processors.

I'm still hoping to see to 4" iPod Touch this fall. The A5 would fit nicely in such a device. iPod Touch devices with built-it 3G/4G connectivity or wifi only would be even nicer. That device is pegged for the mobile gaming market so why not make it a bit bigger and give it more than wifi as an option for online gaming anywhere.
post #13 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post

Apple didn't build the A5 chip, Samsung built the A5.

Apple designed the chip. They pay samsung to manufacture it. Apple owns the design.
post #14 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post

Apple didn't build the A5 chip, Samsung built the A5.

No Apple made their own modifications to the Cortex A9 Arm chip and coupled it with a GPU and ram of its choice. Apple designed the A5, Samsung just manufactures it...
post #15 of 119
I guess you guys don't realize that the Tegra 2 is last year's chip. You are comparing the A5 to a chip from 2010. The next chip will be out in products in June. Code-named Kal-El, it is the first quad-core processor on the market. Five times faster than the Tegra 2.

That is THIS YEAR's chip. Cannot wait to see how the A5 stacks up.

Apple would be better served buying the chips from Nvidia. By 2014, Nvidia will have chips 100 times faster than Tegra 2. This is an arena Apple will not be able to keep up in.
post #16 of 119
While it's nice that Apple is competitive in this area, I don't think it's a huge deal. When you're on a yearly upgrade cycle, there's just not enough time for developers to really max out the performance of a CPU/GPU. Very few developers have the capability to do so anyway. It's the software that really makes the difference. Current Android games still look two generations behind iOS games because the platform has yet to attract A-list developers. This is true even when Android phones have more powerful processors and GPUs. As long as they remain in roughly the same league, I don't the CPU/GPU performance matters. Heat, size, cost and power saving are all more important to mobile devices.
post #17 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by EgisCodr View Post

I guess you guys don't realize that the Tegra 2 is last year's chip. You are comparing the A5 to a chip from 2010. The next chip will be out in products in June. Code-named Kal-El, it is the first quad-core processor on the market. Five times faster than the Tegra 2.

That is THIS YEAR's chip. Cannot wait to see how the A5 stacks up.

Apple would be better served buying the chips from Nvidia. By 2014, Nvidia will have chips 100 times faster than Tegra 2. This is an arena Apple will not be able to keep up in.

I think your optimistic on Nvidia's timeline for Kal-el. The first silicon was shown at MWC in Feb. So it won't likely be in a shipping product in June. More likely late 2011. I would expect Apple to have an A6 design based on Samsung's 32/28nm process for 2012 which will provide plenty of power and reduce power consumption. Apple has implemented dynamic frequency and voltage clocking and a wider memory bus then Nividia so that contributed to the increased die size verse Tegra 2 in addition to the dual core 543mp
post #18 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTel View Post

It is fun to follow the progress of Apple's designs including their A line of processors.

I'm still hoping to see to 4" iPod Touch this fall. The A5 would fit nicely in such a device. iPod Touch devices with built-it 3G/4G connectivity or wifi only would be even nicer. That device is pegged for the mobile gaming market so why not make it a bit bigger and give it more than wifi as an option for online gaming anywhere.

You mean like, an iPhone?
post #19 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by EgisCodr View Post

I guess you guys don't realize that the Tegra 2 is last year's chip.

The typical rebuttal to Apple's success: Soon. Soon, soon, soon! Ate we talking about technology or Waiting for Godot?

Quote:
You are comparing the A5 to a chip from 2010. The next chip will be out in products in June.

You honestly think it's wrong to compare products that are shipping now than ones that will eventually be shipping in products that don't yet exist. You have no idea what Apple has planned for future chips so you've ignored it, just like you've ignored the Tegra 2-based Xoom with 1GB RAM barely besting a year old iPad with a single-core Cortex-A8 and GPU with 256MB RAM.

Quote:
Code-named Kal-El, it is the first quad-core processor on the market. Five times faster than the Tegra 2.

With such a cool codename I guess we shoul all wait until the bottom of the year and Jr assume it's going to be the bees knees... Or, we an stop saying "soon" and start expecting to see real world results before we start making silly claims about will be the fastest forever and ever and ever.

Quote:
That is THIS YEAR's chip. Cannot wait to see how the A5 stacks up.

Tell us again what the calendar year has to do with anything relevant.

Quote:
Apple would be better served buying the chips from Nvidia. By 2014, Nvidia will have chips 100 times faster than Tegra 2. This is an arena Apple will not be able to keep up in.

If you are still reading you'll be licking your wounds, so I'll throw you a bone: Why do you think Apple's Ax chips chips can't ever use Nvidia GPUs? They've certainly switched many times in their Macs, and even switched from Motorola to IBM to Intel. They do hold a small stake in Imagination Tech, but to assume they would use inferior GPUs that would hinder sales forever and ever and ever because of 7.5% ownership is silly. But that's beside the point since IMG has delivered and your claims are nothing more than the parroting of a company infamous for over-promising and unde-delivering.
post #20 of 119
It isn't so much about die size at all. 45nm is roughly 25% larger then 40% i best case scenario. @ 91.5 mm2 A5 is still double the size of Tegra 2.

It is about the pricing and economy. Both Nvidia and Apple's Chips costs in $2x range. Not what the article state Tegra 2 are in $15 range, as far as i know even high volume clients and in the very low end $20 per chip.

The difference is, $2x is what Apple cost to make. But $2x is what Nvidia cost to sell, Nvidia needs to make a profits from selling its chip, and estimate it cost them roughly $15 to build Tegra, so making $5+ profits isn't that much in Semi Conductor industry. ( You have to factor in the billions into R&D )

Apple doesn't make, or need to make a single dollar from building A5. The sell iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. When Competition requires $20 to buy an component. They can use the full $20 to make a better component.
post #21 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post

Apple didn't build the A5 chip, Samsung built the A5.

Apple DESIGNED the A4 and A5. Who makes the chip? Pick the ones with the best fab.
post #22 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by EgisCodr View Post

I guess you guys don't realize that the Tegra 2 is last year's chip. You are comparing the A5 to a chip from 2010. The next chip will be out in products in June. Code-named Kal-El, it is the first quad-core processor on the market. Five times faster than the Tegra 2.

That is THIS YEAR's chip. Cannot wait to see how the A5 stacks up.

Apple would be better served buying the chips from Nvidia. By 2014, Nvidia will have chips 100 times faster than Tegra 2. This is an arena Apple will not be able to keep up in.

That's just a little bit of exaggeration there, man. Tegra 3 is 5x times faster than Tegra 2? And June? Nvidia ARM SoCs will be 100x faster in 2014?

How about Tegra 3 will be out in 2H 2011. The rumors are saying August, not June. There are no known design wins for it yet. They better announce one soon if a product is going to ship soon. In system throughput, a 1 GHz Tegra 3 has the potential to be 2x faster than a 1 GHz Tegra 2, and has potential to be 5x faster in GPU than Tegra 2.

In 2014, 3 years away, ARM SoCs will be at 18nm to 20nm process nodes, representing 4x to 5x the transistor count from Tegra 2. This will translate to about 2x to 3x the single-threaded performance (not many low hanging fruit for single threaded performance after the A5) and 5x to 10x the multi-threaded performance (quad-core with 2-way SMT). GPU will be much more power consumption limited than desktop hardware GPU are. And I think 5x to 10x is the most one could expect as well. You likely can have 100x GPU performance, desktop SLI rigs today are probably already there, but I doubt they are going to fit in handheld products.

Nvidia's press release roadmap is great and all, but it's a press release roadmap. You should inject some realism instead of propagandizing it.

Tegra 3 is going to be built on the same 40 nm process as Tegra 2. The thing has about 50% more transistors then Tegra 2. It'll need to be operating at ~25% lower voltages and be power-gated up the wazoo to fit inside the same power envelope (~0.5 Watts) as the Tegra 2 in order to fit inside handhelds. People should be skeptical that they could do this, and quad-core SoCs probably won't fit until the 28nm to 32nm nodes. And that means 2012.
post #23 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swift View Post

Apple DESIGNED the A4 and A5. Who makes the chip? Pick the ones with the best fab.

Well, it's really something like pick the fab that offers the best price that meets the specified requirements (X millions of chips/month, Y dollars/chip). That doesn't translate to the best fab.

The best fabs belong to Intel. And obviously, Intel doesn't fab any ARM chips.
post #24 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by EgisCodr View Post

I guess you guys don't realize that the Tegra 2 is last year's chip. You are comparing the A5 to a chip from 2010. The next chip will be out in products in June. Code-named Kal-El, it is the first quad-core processor on the market. Five times faster than the Tegra 2.

That is THIS YEAR's chip. Cannot wait to see how the A5 stacks up.

Apple would be better served buying the chips from Nvidia. By 2014, Nvidia will have chips 100 times faster than Tegra 2. This is an arena Apple will not be able to keep up in.

Well seeing as the chip isn't even released yet, you want to enlighten us as to how Apple is supposed to put it in its iPad? You understand that Apple's "Time Machine" is just back up software with a spiffy name, right?

In all seriousness, if this "kal-el" chip (which is nerdy as hell if its not an April Fools joke) is worth a damn, Apple will improve upon it and stick it in the iPad 3. I'm sure there'll be a number of spec list wonderbombs with slapdash software and this chip on the market that will have failed by the time Apple comes out with iPad 3.
post #25 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by EgisCodr View Post

I guess you guys don't realize that the Tegra 2 is last year's chip. You are comparing the A5 to a chip from 2010. The next chip will be out in products in June. Code-named Kal-El, it is the first quad-core processor on the market. Five times faster than the Tegra 2.

That is THIS YEAR's chip. Cannot wait to see how the A5 stacks up.

Apple would be better served buying the chips from Nvidia. By 2014, Nvidia will have chips 100 times faster than Tegra 2. This is an arena Apple will not be able to keep up in.

It showed at last year's CES. There are a couple of half-assed tablets on the market now with that chip. Not before this year, though they've told us all multiple times that it was coming. You can tell the difference between "shipping" and "in the design stages," can't you?

A quad chip? Will it finally run Flash?
post #26 of 119
There are several things the article didn't consider.

1.
The article didn't take into account Apples FAST logic that trades space for lower power and high performance.

2.
The CPU is assembled in a module that stacks RAM on top of it. The chips need to line up properly to accomplish this.

3.
No body has a sound idea as to what is actually included on A5. Chipworks can guess at possible functionality but they won't get 100% of the functionality. So the question is how much of this comparison is one to one.

4.
I will take a trade off that gives me better performance and lower power any day. Customer satisfaction means more than chip size!!!!
post #27 of 119
Remember, the reference articles are about a NVDA (Nvidia) stock analyst defending his rating on NVDA. The stock has lost 30% of its value since February, and other analysts attribute it to the iPad 2 basically crushing the Xoom, or that the Xoom came out too early, whatever.

But that's just nonsensical. Apple's A5 doesn't compete with Nvidia's Tegra. If people haven't noticed, Apple doesn't sell the A5 and the A5 can't take any design wins away from Tegra.

Apple's iPad 2 can take customer wins away from Moto Xoom or LG G-Slate or Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9/10.1. So there is an indirect competition. But Tegra's real competition is TI OMAP 44xx, Qualcomm Snapdragon, and Samsung Exynos (and others), the chips that power other Android handheld devices.

Circumstantial evidence seems to say that NVDA got a nice ramp up because: Google is baselining Tegra 2 for Honeycomb, Tegra 2 has a lot of tablet and cell phone design wins, and this all occured during trade show season from December to February. NVDA started falling when: it was apparent Honeycomb wasn't ready, Tegra 2 phones so far have be uninspiring (Moto Atrix and LG Optimus 2x), Tegra 2 tablets have been uninspiring, and the Verizon Driod Bionic (a CDMA Moto Atrix) is rumored to be late. In the meanwhile, Apple released the iPad 2 which seems to be taking the wind out of the sails of competitor tablets.

So all this is just a stock analyst defending has reputation or defending his stock.
post #28 of 119
Tostitos with a hint of lime! Mmmmm
What's funny to me is that all these knuckleheads are so green with Apple envy they will find just about any straws to grasp on.

I got news for all these clowns: what matters is the entire product and that somehow eludes them. Despite of blockbuster sales of the ipad2 and incredible demand, the knuckleheads keep pontificating and littering the web with these mindless rants. From Dell to Microsoft to this chip "expert". I say keep up the comedy
post #29 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

There are several things the article didn't consider.

1.
The article didn't take into account Apples FAST logic that trades space for lower power and high performance.

2.
The CPU is assembled in a module that stacks RAM on top of it. The chips need to line up properly to accomplish this.

3.
No body has a sound idea as to what is actually included on A5. Chipworks can guess at possible functionality but they won't get 100% of the functionality. So the question is how much of this comparison is one to one.

4.
I will take a trade off that gives me better performance and lower power any day. Customer satisfaction means more than chip size!!!!

Good points.
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post #30 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksec View Post

It isn't so much about die size at all. 45nm is roughly 25% larger then 40% i best case scenario. @ 91.5 mm2 A5 is still double the size of Tegra 2.

There are lots of good reasons for the A5 to be larger than Tegra 2:

1. PowerVR SGX 543MP2 has 4x the performance as Tegra 2 ULP GeForce. TANSAAFL. That probably means 4x the transistors.

2. Apple's A5 appears to implement a pipelined FPU while the Tegra 2 doesn't. That's more transistors.

3. Apple has likely contracted Samsung to fab the A5 with less metal layers than Nvidia has asked TSMC. This can result in larger die sizes for the same transistor count.

You're absolutely right though. Cost-wise we have no idea. There are good reasons for the A5 to be cheaper.

1. Samsungs 45 nm fab is mature and has much better yield than TSMC's 40 nm.

2. Larger die size may imply less metal layers which imply better yield than what Nvidia has asked TSMC to do with 40 nm.

3. Older fab may mean cheaper product!

Quote:
It is about the pricing and economy. Both Nvidia and Apple's Chips costs in $2x range. Not what the article state Tegra 2 are in $15 range, as far as i know even high volume clients and in the very low end $20 per chip.

Actually, we have no idea how much an A5 costs Apple. Absolutely none. Apple themselves may not even be able to separate an actual real live cost out of it. Apple basically has billions of dollars in contracts with Samsung for CPU-GPU chips, flash chips, RAM chips, LCDs, and who knows what else.

They may have a specific contract for the A5 SoC (which includes the MCM packaging of the RAM chips) so they could have the precise number, but then again, Apple may have amortized the cost of Samsung components over multiple components! Who knows.
post #31 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrike View Post

Remember, the reference articles are about a NVDA (Nvidia) stock analyst defending his rating on NVDA. The stock has lost 30% of its value since February, and other analysts attribute it to the iPad 2 basically crushing the Xoom, or that the Xoom came out too early, whatever.

But that's just nonsensical. Apple's A5 doesn't compete with Nvidia's Tegra. If people haven't noticed, Apple doesn't sell the A5 and the A5 can't take any design wins away from Tegra.

I think the question is what value add does Nvidia provide in the Arm food chain if an upstart (in the chip business) like Apple can outdo them with the A5. Also there is at least 4 other companies doing Arm chips - Marvel, Samsung, Ti and Qualcomm. It is not clear to me if this is going to be a great business for Nvidia.
post #32 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrike View Post

3. Apple has likely contracted Samsung to fab the A5 with less metal layers than Nvidia has asked TSMC. This can result in larger die sizes for the same transistor count.

Excellent points, but could you explain this one in more detail. I’m wondering why less metal layers would create a larger chip.
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post #33 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ssampath View Post

I think the question is what value add does Nvidia provide in the Arm food chain if an upstart (in the chip business) like Apple can outdo them with the A5. Also there is at least 4 other companies doing Arm chips - Marvel, Samsung, Ti and Qualcomm. It is not clear to me if this is going to be a great business for Nvidia.

With a billion cell phones sold each year, getting 10% of that market would be 100 million devices. I think 100 million of anything is quite a number.
post #34 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by tipoo View Post

Yep. Remember, to get the surface area of a transistor, figures like 45nm are squared, so a difference of 5nm is larger than it seems. Plus, the A5 uses the MP2 version of the 543 GPU, which obviously would take more room, seeing as its a whole 'nother graphics core. Not really surprising that its bigger, nor that it does better in raw graphics benchmarks.

I know the 543 was built from the ground up to be scalable (up to 16, I think, and the PSP2/NGP will use the 4 core version), I wonder if Nvidia's equivalent GPU is like that? If so, they could catch up soon.

not at the same price.
post #35 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post

With a billion cell phones sold each year, getting 10% of that market would be 100 million devices. I think 100 million of anything is quite a number.

But this is the story of many dwarfs competing for the same market just like all the Android phone manufacturers right. They all drive the prices down and no one makes any profits. Sure there are millions of Android phones being sold but Apple and RIM still make most of the money!
post #36 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by EgisCodr View Post

I guess you guys don't realize that the Tegra 2 is last year's chip. You are comparing the A5 to a chip from 2010. The next chip will be out in products in June. Code-named Kal-El, it is the first quad-core processor on the market. Five times faster than the Tegra 2.

That is THIS YEAR's chip. Cannot wait to see how the A5 stacks up.

Apple would be better served buying the chips from Nvidia. By 2014, Nvidia will have chips 100 times faster than Tegra 2. This is an arena Apple will not be able to keep up in.

Apple has proven they can turn around a new chip design in 12 months, add substantial performance, and have it shipping in high volumes. WHere is the evidence they can't compete when they are currently ahead?

And even nVidea says the Kal-El won't be in systems in June.

And 5x is graphics, not CPU. Is it even clear that a quoted 5x increase, which isn't going to be uniform, even pulls ahead of the A5?



post #37 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post

Apple didn't build the A5 chip, Samsung built the A5.

Yes, we already know Samsung makes the A5 under contract for Apple. Apple doesn't manufacture anything. Apple designed the A5 and Samsung can only sell the A5 to Apple. So what is your point?
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post #38 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrike View Post

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Tegra 3 is going to be built on the same 40 nm process as Tegra 2. The thing has about 50% more transistors then Tegra 2. It'll need to be operating at ~25% lower voltages and be power-gated up the wazoo to fit inside the same power envelope (~0.5 Watts) as the Tegra 2 in order to fit inside handhelds. People should be skeptical that they could do this, and quad-core SoCs probably won't fit until the 28nm to 32nm nodes. And that means 2012.

But seriously dude... any Fandroid worth his propeller, will be able to get past the "gates" by tweaking the BIOS, water-cooling, and over-clocking the beast... then it will be truly "awesome", or?
Knowing what you are talking about would help you understand why you are so wrong. By "Realistic" - AI Forum Member
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Knowing what you are talking about would help you understand why you are so wrong. By "Realistic" - AI Forum Member
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post #39 of 119
LOL I’d love to see a water-cooled smartphone.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #40 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrike View Post

There are lots of good reasons for the A5 to be larger than Tegra 2:

1. PowerVR SGX 543MP2 has 4x the performance as Tegra 2 ULP GeForce. TANSAAFL. That probably means 4x the transistors.

2. Apple's A5 appears to implement a pipelined FPU while the Tegra 2 doesn't. That's more transistors.

3. Apple has likely contracted Samsung to fab the A5 with less metal layers than Nvidia has asked TSMC. This can result in larger die sizes for the same transistor count.

You're absolutely right though. Cost-wise we have no idea. There are good reasons for the A5 to be cheaper.

1. Samsungs 45 nm fab is mature and has much better yield than TSMC's 40 nm.

2. Larger die size may imply less metal layers which imply better yield than what Nvidia has asked TSMC to do with 40 nm.

3. Older fab may mean cheaper product!



Actually, we have no idea how much an A5 costs Apple. Absolutely none. Apple themselves may not even be able to separate an actual real live cost out of it. Apple basically has billions of dollars in contracts with Samsung for CPU-GPU chips, flash chips, RAM chips, LCDs, and who knows what else.

They may have a specific contract for the A5 SoC (which includes the MCM packaging of the RAM chips) so they could have the precise number, but then again, Apple may have amortized the cost of Samsung components over multiple components! Who knows.

Well, die size i was referring to Apple doesn't care about die size as much as Nvidia due to cost issues.

TSMC 40nm LP is actually much better then what other people think. But Samsung Holds all the liscense needed to create Apple's SoC.

Th cost of A5 comes from some other analyst and isuppli. Which predict from somewhere 20 - 30 Range. So i took the middle of the estimate as $25.
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