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A5X chip in Apple's new iPad doubles RAM to 1GB - report

post #1 of 114
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Though the new A5X chip in Apple's third-generation iPad features the same dual-core CPU found in its predecessor, the system-on-a-chip is still believed to double the onboard RAM to 1 gigabyte.

Apple has never announced the amount of RAM built into any iPad or iPhone, preferring to focus less on technical specifications and more on the abilities of a device, and this week's new iPad unveiling was no different. But a source who spoke with The Verge said the new A5X processor found in the latest iPad will, in fact, feature a gigabyte of RAM.

That's twice that of the iPad 2 released last year, powered by the custom-built A5 processor. It's also double that of the iPhone 4S released late last year, which also featires the A5.

RAM limitations in previous chips were said to be driven by battery life concerns. Last October, Microsoft explained that RAM is constantly consuming power, so the more memory that is included with a system, the less battery life it gets.

Though the new iPad is expected to feature double the RAM, the performance improvement will have no effect on battery life. Apple announced on Wednesday that the new iPad will continue to offer 10 hours of operation when using Wi-Fi and 9 hours on 4G LTE networks.




Reports first surfaced ahead of Apple's iPad unveiling that Apple would increase the RAM in its custom processor. The information was derived from alleged iPad debug photos that leaked last month.

The new A5X processor features a dual-core CPU, the same as the A5. But its performance has been boosted by a new quad-core graphics processor that Apple says is twice as fast as the Nvidia Tegra 3 while offering four times the performance.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 114
Hopefully this will cut down on page refreshing in Safari.
post #3 of 114
This is good stuff. I'll take an updated GPU and RAM over a processor upgrade any day of the week.
post #4 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The new A5X processor features a dual-core CPU, the same as the A5. But its performance has been boosted by a new quad-core graphics processor that Apple says is twice as fast as the Nvidia Tegra 3 while offering four times the performance.

The last sentence seems a bit odd, how can it be twice as fast with 4 times the performance? It's also interesting to note that it's listed at 2x the iPad 2 so they are in fact running 4x the pixels with just 2x the speed, which will result in the same effect we saw on the 3GS -> 4 transition, which is that graphics running at native resolution will run more slowly on the new one than the old one. It's only when the next one comes out (the equivalent of the iPhone 4S) that you see the performance go up.

1GB RAM is nice though, especially considering it's shared by the GPU.
post #5 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Though the new A5X chip in Apple's third-generation iPad features the same dual-core CPU found in its predecessor, the system-on-a-chip is still believed to double the onboard RAM to 1 gigabyte.

Is it just me or does this paragraph seem to imply that the A5X is effectively the same as the A5 apart from more onboard RAM. Is there some distinction between the CPU and the system-on-a-chip side of things that I am missing?
post #6 of 114
I'm speculating, but "twice as fast as the Tegra 3" may refer to clock speed whereas "four times the performance" is obviously based on benchmarking and pushing pixels vs. clock speed. I was wondering at how simply adding two cores to double the performance from the A5 would be enough to cover 4x the pixels, but perhaps they made some other performance boosts as well, or (I'd guess) maybe the A5 graphic cores ware never even near full perfornace used at 1024x768.
post #7 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdyB View Post

Is it just me or does this paragraph seem to imply that the A5X is effectively the same as the A5 apart from more onboard RAM. Is there some distinction between the CPU and the system-on-a-chip side of things that I am missing?

From what I've read so far, and we probably won't know for sure until someone breaks it down and x-rays the chip, but I heard it's an A5 with 1GB RAM and two extra identical graphics cores (no idea on any changes to clock speeds). Of course at this point, that's just rumor, so take it for what it's worth.
post #8 of 114
Hope fully it does have more RAM but I'll wait and see with a teardown. No use speculating unless your trying to make money on the speculation.
post #9 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

The last sentence seems a bit odd, how can it be twice as fast with 4 times the performance? ...

It is odd; no wonder that nVidia wants to see the benchmarks:

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/nvidia...s-rivers;item5
post #10 of 114
The iPad2 which had 512 mb of RAM killed and destroyed all Android tablets with 1 GB of RAM.

So an iPad3 with 1 GB is probably equivalent to having 2 GB's on an Android tablet. iOS is a much more professionally coded OS and it is far more lean than Android, which is a sloppy and poorly written OS, made by amateurs for amateurs.

Apple really knows how to get max performance out of it's hardware, due to it's OS, which is lightyears ahead of the competition. iOS is of course built on OSX. What is Android built on again, some crappy Java?

Why do you think that some Android tablets are going quad core CPU now? They have to, in order to compensate for crappy performance. Maybe Android will be as smooth as iOS when they release a 16 core CPU tablet in 2019.
post #11 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

Hopefully this will cut down on page refreshing in Safari.

God, I hope so. That's the most frustrating thing about the iPad. Quite a few times, I'll enter some text, say in a window at a site like this, switch to another tab to grab a link, & when I switch back, the page refreshes & my text is gone. If I want to write anything at all involved on a message board, I do it in notes, then copy and paste the thing. It's a pain.

Also, I hope iOS 5.1 does something about Safari's bad crashiness. It's nice that it auto-recovers the links that were open when it crashed, but I have to re-launch it 4 or 5 times a day, it seems like.

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post #12 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

But a source who spoke with The Verge said the new A5X processor found in the latest iPad will, in fact, feature a gigabyte of RAM.

So the "source" is someone who talked to someone at the old This Is My Next?

Why not just interview Daniel and save time?

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   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

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post #13 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

iOS is a much more professionally coded OS and it is far more lean than Android, which is a sloppy and poorly written OS, made by amateurs for amateurs.

Mm - Google. Definitely amateurs \
post #14 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The new A5X processor features a dual-core CPU, the same as the A5. But its performance has been boosted by a new quad-core graphics processor that Apple says is twice as fast as the Nvidia Tegra 3 while offering four times the performance.

Not so. The Apple A5 processor is twice as fast as the Nvidia Tegra 3 and the Apples A5X processor is four times as fast.
So the A5X is twice as fast as the A5 and with 4 times the pixels the new iPad is twice as slow as the iPad2.
Apple 'should' have used the 8 core version of the PowerVR 543 to equal the speed of the ipad2, but I think that most game developers can live with the current horsepower because in absolute numbers its quite impressive (29 GFLOPS).

J.

(The info came from Apples keynote from a spreadsheet about the A5X processor shown by Philip Schiller.)
post #15 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Euphonious View Post

Mm - Google. Definitely amateurs \

Yeah, I don't know about "amateurs", but design and performance aren't exactly hallmarks of the Google experience.

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

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post #16 of 114
"Microsoft explained that RAM is constantly consuming power"


LOL Hardware experts.
post #17 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

The last sentence seems a bit odd, how can it be twice as fast with 4 times the performance? It's also interesting to note that it's listed at 2x the iPad 2 so they are in fact running 4x the pixels with just 2x the speed, which will result in the same effect we saw on the 3GS -> 4 transition, which is that graphics running at native resolution will run more slowly on the new one than the old one. It's only when the next one comes out (the equivalent of the iPhone 4S) that you see the performance go up.

1GB RAM is nice though, especially considering it's shared by the GPU.

The old GPu had two cores. The new one has four cores. So if it runs twice as fast, it's four times as powerful.
post #18 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Euphonious View Post

Mm - Google. Definitely amateurs \

What do they know about making an OS?

They're an advertising company.

If I have a pain in my tooth, I'm not going to make an appointment with my barber.
post #19 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

The last sentence seems a bit odd, how can it be twice as fast with 4 times the performance?

Perhaps the clock speed is 2x, but the data throughput (I/O) is 4x? Just a guess...
 
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post #20 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by maciekskontakt View Post

"Microsoft explained that RAM is constantly consuming power"


LOL Hardware experts.

They are correct though. Anyone says that doubling RAM doesn't add to power draw doesn't know what they're talking about.
post #21 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

The iPad2 which had 512 mb of RAM killed and destroyed all Android tablets with 1 GB of RAM.

So an iPad3 with 1 GB is probably equivalent to having 2 GB's on an Android tablet. iOS is a much more professionally coded OS and it is far more lean than Android, which is a sloppy and poorly written OS, made by amateurs for amateurs.

Apple really knows how to get max performance out of it's hardware, due to it's OS, which is lightyears ahead of the competition. iOS is of course built on OSX. What is Android built on again, some crappy Java?

Why do you think that some Android tablets are going quad core CPU now? They have to, in order to compensate for crappy performance. Maybe Android will be as smooth as iOS when they release a 16 core CPU tablet in 2019.


You are so insightful! Android is definitely written by the same amateur company that pioneered modern internet search engine technology. Also, clearly iOS is built on OSX, not Darwin/*nix. Same goes for Android, the kernel is definitely running natively in Java and not on a *nix platform.

No one knows for sure what makes Android eat so much more memory than iOS. Maybe it's the superior multitasking capabilities, or maybe it is the dynamic and extended implementation of UI graphics unlike the rigid UI and multiprocessing framework found in iOS.

One thing we all know for sure is that Android sucks!!!
post #22 of 114
Don't forget that the new iPad has roughly 65% bigger battery but is rated for the same amount of usage. Some of the extra power consumption may be due to the additional RAM, though I'm guessing that it is mostly due to the fact that there are 4x as many pixels to render.
post #23 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neo42 View Post

You are so insightful! Android is definitely written by the same amateur company that pioneered modern internet search engine technology. Also, clearly iOS is built on OSX, not Darwin/*nix. Same goes for Android, the kernel is definitely running natively in Java and not on a *nix platform.

From Wikipedia:
"Android's kernel is based on the Linux kernel...."

If factual errors could kill, you'd be a serial killer

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post #24 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

It is odd; no wonder that nVidia wants to see the benchmarks:

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/nvidia...s-rivers;item5

Waahhhh. Waaahhhh.

Cry me a river.
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post #25 of 114
Yay..
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post #26 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

From Wikipedia:
"Android's kernel is based on the Linux kernel...."

If factual errors could kill, you'd be a serial killer

I think you missed the sarcasm laced throughout my post By "*nix" I meant unix based, linux included. And in case there is still some confusion, I was intentionally being facetious
post #27 of 114
When they say that battery life was not affected even with double the RAM, I'd say it was compensated for by nearly doubling the capacity of the battery:

iPad 2 : 25 Wh
iPad Mk III : 42.5 Wh

(Source: Apple's website)

That's a whooping change. I really hope we can get a tear-down soon to see if the battery takes much more space inside or if they did some magic trick to double the capacity while keeping the volume. I don't think the gain in depth alone can explain that much more power.

Also, I'd be interested to see how much life you can get out of it if you turn off the wireless signals and tune the brightness down a notch... must be impressive in non-CPU/GPU intensive tasks.
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post #28 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neo42 View Post

No one knows for sure what makes Android eat so much more memory than iOS. Maybe it's the superior multitasking capabilities, or maybe it is the dynamic and extended implementation of UI graphics unlike the rigid UI and multiprocessing framework found in iOS.

While I'm not a huge fan of the way iOS multitasks, the multiprocessing technology offered to developers for a single application in iOS is top notch. I'll take blocks and/or operation queues over threads and/or multiple processes any day of the week. Far less synchronization headache.
 
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post #29 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

What do they know about making an OS?

They're an advertising company.

If I have a pain in my tooth, I'm not going to make an appointment with my barber.

You're starting to sound like those that said "What does Apple know about making phones?"

You didn't go to a barber for your toothache but you went to a computer company for your phone.
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post #30 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neo42 View Post

You are so insightful! Android is definitely written by the same amateur company that pioneered modern internet search engine technology.

If I'm searching for midget porn, then Google is a good option. I don't mind using Google for searches. If I'm buying a tablet, I'm going to trust a company like Apple with decades of experience in making their own OS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neo42 View Post

Also, clearly iOS is built on OSX, not Darwin/*nix. Same goes for Android, the kernel is definitely running natively in Java and not on a *nix platform.

I don't know all of the technical details, but I do have two perfectly good functioning eyes, and I know when something looks choppy and not smooth, and I also know crap from good. As for Java, it seems that is what apps are written with on Android. Is that why they suck so much?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neo42 View Post

No one knows for sure what makes Android eat so much more memory than iOS. Maybe it's the superior multitasking capabilities, or maybe it is the dynamic and extended implementation of UI graphics unlike the rigid UI and multiprocessing framework found in iOS.

As for multitasking, a person should learn to walk before they run, and Android doesn't even have the basics down.

And you're comparing the Android UI to the super smooth and silky iOS UI? When was the last time that you went to an optometrist, because a person doesn't even have to be knowledgeable about tech to see that one is way smoother than the other.
post #31 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

You're starting to sound like those that said "What does Apple know about making phones?"

You didn't go to a barber for your toothache but you went to a computer company for your phone.

It's not the same at all, because an iPhone is basically a computer and who better to make that than Apple? That's why Apple totally disrupted the whole industry, because all of the other clowns making phones did not have the same vision, background and experience that Apple brought to the table.
post #32 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Waahhhh. Waaahhhh.

Cry me a river.

Very mature.

I do think nVidia has a point, but I personally don't really care. It wouldn't be the first time Apple lied during a product presentation, nor the last...
post #33 of 114
I'm owed a beer from one or more posters that said the iPad Retina GPU will be 4x as fast as the iPad 2 [I don't really care about the Tegra, unfortunately). Unless a four-core iPad Retina GPU is 4x faster than a two-core iPad 2 GPU, please PayPal me $5 for a Hahn Light (yes, not very aussie but whatever ~ most people here don't actually drink Fosters).

I'm also up for another bet. If it is proven that the iPad Retina uses 512MB of RAM ~purely~ for VRAM (i.e. system memory is never more than 50% of total memory available), I'll PayPal you $5 for a beer. But you have to PM me to sign up to our bet by 11:55pm Friday (any time zone)
post #34 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

It is odd; no wonder that nVidia wants to see the benchmarks:

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/nvidia...s-rivers;item5

Does anyone remember how the Tegra 2 was going to murder the chip in the iPad 2? Then the A5 came out.

Do you expect a different result this time around?

Just like with RAM, iOS is designed to require less horsepower than Android.
post #35 of 114
There's some seriously weird writing here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Last October, Microsoft explained that RAM is constantly consuming power, so the more memory that is included with a system, the less battery life it gets.

And before that time, I take it, you didn't know that? The rest of us did. It's true in everything except static RAM, which can lose power and keep its contents.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Though the new iPad is expected to feature double the RAM, the performance improvement will have no effect on battery life. Apple announced on Wednesday that the new iPad will continue to offer 10 hours of operation when using Wi-Fi and 9 hours on 4G LTE networks.

Not necessarily true. More likely, what it means is that the increased power demands from RAM were compensated for. That's a small but important distinction, because it's not just Apple that'll increase RAM. Don't assume there's no battery penalty.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The new A5X processor features a dual-core CPU, the same as the A5. But its performance has been boosted by a new quad-core graphics processor that Apple says is twice as fast as the Nvidia Tegra 3 while offering four times the performance.

As someone already commented above, this sentence is terrible. Are you saying the clock speed is double and the performance is quadruple? You haven't stated the clock speed of either. And performance doing what? Integer? Float? Raw graphics?
post #36 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

It's not the same at all, because an iPhone is basically a computer and who better to make that than Apple? That's why Apple totally disrupted the whole industry, because all of the other clowns making phones did not have the same vision, background and experience that Apple brought to the table.

And Google is a software company, them making a mobile OS isn't as far fetched as going to a barber for a toothache.
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post #37 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

If I'm searching for midget porn, then Google is a good option. I don't mind using Google for searches. If I'm buying a tablet, I'm going to trust a company like Apple with decades of experience in making their own OS.

I don't know all of the technical details, but I do have two perfectly good functioning eyes, and I know when something looks choppy and not smooth, and I also know crap from good. As for Java, it seems that is what apps are written with on Android. Is that why they suck so much?

As for multitasking, a person should learn to walk before they run, and Android doesn't even have the basics down.

And you're comparing the Android UI to the super smooth and silky iOS UI? When was the last time that you went to an optometrist, because a person doesn't even have to be knowledgeable about tech to see that one is way smoother than the other.

Backpedaling and twisting both your original post and mine. See what you did there? Maybe you should work for Apple!

I never said Google was a spectacular OS company. I am simply refuting your amateur classification. You don't know the technical details, yet you still feel entitled to spew technical misinformation regarding both iOS and Android. Most power users (minority) will prefer Android's multitasking because it's more like a desktop experience. The same users will feel restricted by iOS. If you want to compare actual functional use cases, the task switching/managing in iOS is watered down heavily. When you expand functionality it costs resources.

I also never said Android was smoother than iOS. I said the UI framework is more dynamic, which costs more resources. Some people get tired of looking at the same dated interface year after year. The look and feel in Android can be highly customized. That again costs resources. With flexibility there are sacrifices made, memory usage is one of them. Which scheme is better is subjective, but no worries about trying to figure out your stance here. You think Android is garbage and it's users are morons. We get it already.

BTW, I ordered a couple "new iPad"s (horrible naming convention) yesterday, so please repress your desire to call me a Fandroid and manipulate my words.
post #38 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pendergast View Post

Does anyone remember how the Tegra 2 was going to murder the chip in the iPad 2? Then the A5 came out.

Do you expect a different result this time around?

Just like with RAM, iOS is designed to require less horsepower than Android.

So what if the Tegra sucked in the wild, it was a beast on paper.
post #39 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pendergast View Post

Does anyone remember how the Tegra 2 was going to murder the chip in the iPad 2? Then the A5 came out.

Do you expect a different result this time around?

Just like with RAM, iOS is designed to require less horsepower than Android.

That's not the point, nVidia doesn't make the OS but the chip.

Also, according to Anandtech, the iPad 2 is about 1.4x faster than Tegra 3, not 2x as Apple claimed yesterday...
post #40 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Felman View Post

When they say that battery life was not affected even with double the RAM, I'd say it was compensated for by nearly doubling the capacity of the battery:

iPad 2 : 25 Wh
iPad Mk III : 42.5 Wh

(Source: Apple's website)

That's a whooping change. I really hope we can get a tear-down soon to see if the battery takes much more space inside or if they did some magic trick to double the capacity while keeping the volume. I don't think the gain in depth alone can explain that much more power.

Also, I'd be interested to see how much life you can get out of it if you turn off the wireless signals and tune the brightness down a notch... must be impressive in non-CPU/GPU intensive tasks.

What difference does it make?

We know that the new iPad is marginally thicker (about 0.6 mm, IIRC). It is about an ounce heavier. It has twice the resolution and four times the pixel density. It is much faster.

So who the heck cares about how they managed to do that?
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