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Thermal test of iPad's A5X chip shows operating temperature of 97 degrees F

post #1 of 105
Thread Starter 
As numerous reports claim Apple's new iPad is warmer than the previous generation, a new analysis has found the A5X chip in the new device runs as much as 16 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the A5 chip in the iPad 2.

According to a series of tests conducted by Repair Labs, the A5X chip registered temperatures up to 36 degrees celsius (96.8 degrees Fahrenheit), compared to A5 readings of 27 degrees C (80.6 degrees F). The experiment involved opening up the tablets in order to directly measure the temperatures of the chips.

Technicians measured multiple components inside the new iPad in order to verify that the A5X was the part putting out the most heat. The report speculated that a difference in materials between the A5 and the A5X may be a contributing factor, as the A5 is believed to be ceramic, while the A5X is "obviously metallic."

An external test involved having the two iPads to play movies on Netflix. The third-generation iPad started at 27 degrees C (80.6 degrees F) and warmed up to 32-33 degrees C (89.6-91.4 degrees F), while the iPad 2 started at 24 degrees C (75.2 degrees F) and only climbed to 25-26 degrees C (77-78.8 degrees F).

Repair Labs said it was was unable to reproduce the 116 degree F temperatures that Consumer Reports noted earlier on Tuesday, though it did note that holding the new iPad 3 "could be noticeably warmer after only a few minutes use," especially if held where the A5X is located.



Writing for Consumer Reports, Donna L. Tapellini said that the new iPad felt "very warm" when at its hottest, but not "especially uncomfortable if held for a brief period." The story was quickly picked up by other outlets, some of which dubiously claimed that Apple's new tablet could cause burns.

Consumer Reports is no stranger to controversy with Apple's devices. The consumer advocacy group retracted its recommendation of the iPhone 4 in 2010 because it was able to reproduce a signal-loss problem in the device. With the release of the iPhone 4S last year, the group announced that Apple had resolved the issue."

Separate tests conducted by Tested found a maximum temperature of 82 degrees F on the third-generation iPad when playing "Infinity Blade II," the same app used by Consumer Reports in its tests.


Source: Tested


Display expert Dr. Raymond Soneira of DisplayMate attributes the new iPad's extra warmth to the fact that the device has approximately twice as many LEDs as its predecessor. "The LEDs give off 2.5 times as much heat as the iPad 2 and so will the battery and power electronics on the new iPad compared to the iPad 2," he said.

An infrared test conducted earlier this week by a Dutch site found the new iPad to have reached 92.5 degrees F during a GLBenchmark test, almost 10 degrees hotter than the 83 degrees F measured on the iPad 2 during the same test.

For its part, Apple issued a statement on Tuesday that the new iPad operates "well within [its] thermal specifications" and urged customers with concerns to contact its support service.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 105
It's official, the new iPad is hot!
post #3 of 105
You're scalding it wrong.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #4 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

You're scalding it wrong.

Don't get so burned-up over it.
post #5 of 105
Apple's in "Hot Watergate", and therefore doomed!
post #6 of 105
You use whatever unit you like. But please, considering the worldwide audience you have, change such titles into "Thermal test of iPad's A5X chip shows operating temperature of 97 degrees F" (that would prevent me from having a heart attack)
post #7 of 105
"The report speculated that a difference in materials between the A5 and the A5X may be a contributing factor to the heating issue, as the A5 is believed to be ceramic, while the A5X is "obviously metallic.""

Non-sense. This is non sense. What issues are they talking about? Look at the size of the A5X and compare it to the A5. A5X is way bigger and for god sake has two times the number of GPU cores. Why a hell are they coming up with this non-sense theories, the A5X is hotter because it is a bigger chip with more resources which by definition generates more heat. A chip operating at 36ºC is totally normal and concluding that it has heating issues just because it is hotter than the A5 is crazy non-sense.

If we assume that their numbers are correct, in percentage difference, the A5X at ~309 K (36 ºC) is merely ~3% hotter than the A5 at 300 K (27 ºC), for god sake 3%. This is small, damn small. At 3% difference what issues are they talking about. What overheating are they talking about?

Those people are not understanding what they are measuring.... They don't understand what they are talking about.
post #8 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hakime View Post

A chip operating at 36ºC is totally normal and concluding that it has heating issue just because it is hotter than the A5 is crazy non-sense.

The optimist in me says: Perhaps they didn't mean issue but meant variance.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #9 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


An external test involved having the two iPads to play movies on Netflix. The third-generation iPad started at 27 degrees C (80.6 degrees F) and warmed up to 32-33 degrees C (89.6-91.4 degrees F), while the iPad 2 started at 24 degrees C (75.2 degrees F) and only climbed to 25-26 degrees C (77-78.8 degrees F).

Must have been one hell of a porn session.
post #10 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rabbit_Coach View Post

Must have been one hell of a porn session.

C'mon, this is a totally serious situation that must be handled with maturity and professionalism! Netflix has Porn???? </s>
post #11 of 105
Place next to a bread pan with bread dough and it should help the bread rise. Nice.
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post #12 of 105
I went to an Apple store to see this for myself. I picked up the first display unit, felt the back left bottom in portrait mode, and immediately found the 'warm' spot. It was very noticeable

I'm disappointed, especially given the other trade-offs in weight and thickness (albeit, very small). Now, add 'heat' to the list. I can't understand why they used 45 nm for the A5X

Hopefully Apple team was all over this before launch and felt the compromises were absolutely necessary to get the Retina display out the door.

They had a year to get it right. If it was a matter of another 3-4 months to shrink key components, I would have held off the launch

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post #13 of 105
My laptop gets that hot or hotter so I have no problem with it.

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post #14 of 105
"Separate tests conducted by Tested found a maximum temperature of 82 degrees F on the third-generation iPad when playing "Infinity Blade II," the same app used by Consumer Reports in its tests."

Which makes wonder how those people measures thing? I am telling you, we are just thrown to our faces numbers taken from thin air. The same thing happened with the antenna thing for the iPhone 4.

But ok, now again let's look at the differences. Take the numbers from CR, with the iPad unplugged (the numbers for the iPad plugged to an energy source make even less sense), that is 113 ºF for the new iPad and 100 ºC for the iPad 2 (which by the way looks suspiciously too high for an iPad 2, they have probably a flaw in their measurements which tend to overestimate the values). That means ~318 K and ~311 K respectively. The difference between the two devices is ~2%. Just think about it, 2% difference, it's nothing. In order to compare the two devices, CR is by purpose using relative temperature differences which are by definition meaningless. They do that for one clear purpose, they want to make the story more sensational.

If you take the data from Tested, the difference between the devices is even smaller at ~1%.

So what a hell is this all about?
post #15 of 105
I'd say it's "warm" but definitely not enough to be uncomfortable to hold. My Thinkpad for instance creates a swamp in my pants (you can't un-know that). Are there any reports of the new iPad shutting itself down or are people just worried because it's warmer?

I read somewhere online that the temperature seemed to go down after a few days of use for some users, I'm not sure how accurate that is though. That could explain why the other test from 'Tested' had different results. People just have a need to complain about SOMETHING so it might as well be this.
post #16 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Oak View Post

I went to an Apple store to see this for myself. I picked up the first display unit, felt the back left bottom in portrait mode, and immediately found the 'warm' spot. It was very noticeable

I'm disappointed, especially given the other trade-offs in weight and thickness (albeit, very small). Now, add 'heat' to the list. I can't understand why they used 45 nm for the A5X

So you think Apple can just say, Hey! let's build them in 32 nm or what? They used 45 nm because they probably are getting the most biggest number of working chips out of the wafers at this manufacturing size. Apple's partners which manufacture its chips don't have a solid 32 nm production yet. It does not make sense for Apple to wait months before the 32 nm manufacturing process is working right given that the tradeoff in terms of heat to stay at 45 nm for the A5X chip is quite small, few percent. The fact that you feel that the new iPad is warmer is because there are several reasons adding up, bigger battery, more pixels, etc.. But again the final difference in heat production is quite small.

And when it comes to judge anything by just going to the Apple store, allow me to have doubts on the validity of the method.....
post #17 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by alienzed View Post

It's official, the new iPad is hot!

When they said after using it for a few minutes it becomes noticeably hot is pure bull.

I have one and I scarcely notice whatever you called it.

Face it if these clowns at CS think that by revving it to the max and it doesn't churn out heat then they have something else for brain. Yes by revving the engine of a car to hit 100mph and it still stay cool is the dream of many makers.

Time for CS and those whatever you called them to stop the BS.
post #18 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

C'mon, this is a totally serious situation that must be handled with maturity and professionalism! Netflix has Porn???? </s>

I might be wrong about Netflix (never cared to watch), but taking the fact, that CPU/GPU with more horse power is getting hotter serious, will be a difficult task for me. But I will try.
post #19 of 105
Hmm... double post? Should have slept a bit longer.
post #20 of 105
Lol. Even when they're turned off, iPad 2 and 3 are hotter than iPad 1.
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post #21 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hakime View Post

So you think Apple can just say, Hey! let's build them in 32 nm or what? They used 45 nm because they probably are getting the most biggest working chips out of the wafers at this manufacturing size. Apple's partners which manufacture its chips don't have a solid 32 nm production yet.

And when it comes to judge anything by just going to the Apple store, allow me to have doubts on the validity of the method.....

I did not say that. Of course they are using 45 nm for a reason. But the reality is that Apple is on the trailing edge of the manufacturing curve. And that has consequences, manifeasted in the additional heat. The new chip is massive

That is my point

I hate that Apple is so dependent on Samsung for key components. They have to more aggressively source other vendors

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post #22 of 105
Heck, I can't even get mine to warm up, what am I doing wrong?
post #23 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Oak View Post

I went to an Apple store to see this for myself. I picked up the first display unit, felt the back left bottom in portrait mode, and immediately found the 'warm' spot. It was very noticeable

I mentioned this on AI the day that I got it. It was evident but it's a little warmth, it's not scalding heat and you aren't going to get burned. The most difficult thing you might have to do is adjust your hand or rotate the device.

Quote:
I'm disappointed, especially given the other trade-offs in weight and thickness (albeit, very small). Now, add 'heat' to the list.

Is it really a better option to say we'll stick with the 0.78 million pixel display so we don't have to make slightly thicker, heavier and warmer behind the GPU? I certainly don't think so.

Quote:
I can't understand why they used 45 nm for the A5X

First of all, I don't know of any 28/32nm ARM CPUs that shipping in quantity right now. Qualcomm's Krait recently started shipping but the number of devices coming to market will sell less in total for the 6 months than iPads sold this past weekend.

On top of that there is no way Apple would use Qualcomm's intermediary option just to get the smaller lithography for the CPU when it's the GPU that generating the heat. Is there is foundry that can produce smaller GPUs that still have the same performance? Img Tech's roadmap for Series 6 GPUs doesn't look like it'll be ready until 2013. So what process could they have used when they started building iPads last year and in quantity as last as January? I don't think there is any.

Quote:
Hopefully Apple team was all over this before launch and felt the compromises were absolutely necessary to get the Retina display out the door.

Of course they were and of course it was a trade off. How else do you expect to get 3.1 million pixels without a more powerful GPU?

Quote:
They had a year to get it right.

It sounds like you're saying the iPad HW team works on a model up until it launches and then jumps to the next model. I can assure that is not how it works. This iPad was in the works for well over a year and was finalized many months ago.

Quote:
If it was a matter of another 3-4 months to shrink key components, I would have held off the launch

That probably wouldn't have made a difference for the quantities they needed but is always waiting for the next best thing to arrive really the best way to run a business when sourcing components?

Bottom line: This is the best iPad, the best tablet, and has set the bar so high that Apple has an iPod-like domination of the tablet market for the foreseeable future.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #24 of 105
Sigh. I'm trying to remember if there's been an Apple product rollout in the last 10 years or so that didn't feature an abrupt flurry of hysteria around some perceived failing. Hysteria, I might add, that typically blows away again as if it never happened, followed by every increasing sales and soaring consumer satisfaction numbers.
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post #25 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Sigh. I'm trying to remember if there's been an Apple product rollout in the last 10 years or so that didn't feature an abrupt flurry of hysteria around some perceived failing. Hysteria, I might add, that typically blows away again as if it never happened, followed by every increasing sales and soaring consumer satisfaction numbers.

iPad (3) — heat issues
iPad 2 — light bleed issues
iPad — "What the frak is it for?" issues

iPhone 4S — battery issues / they didn't redesign it issues
iPhone 4 — antenna issues / glass is too easy to break issues
iPhone 3GS — battery and heat issues / they didn't redesign it issues
iPhone 3G — it's cheap plastic issues / it's thicker and heavier issues
iPhone — lack of '3G' issues / "It's just a toy" issues / aluminium is too easy to scratch issues


PS: Check out that link. Remember that gem?

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #26 of 105
I think you'd have to hold an iPad 2 and iPad[ ] one after the other to see if the "warm spot" is really that dramatic, compared to another model. But of course it isn't. I mean... "warm spot?" Really?

Pretty silly.
post #27 of 105
My point is the following.

If the iPad 3's external housing gets hotter, it may be partly because of better heat transfer from the processor to the external world. Something already mentioned elsewhere, namely heat produced by other parts such as LED backlights, is not directly contributing to peak temperatures in the processor.

Further, given that the A5X has a metal housing, it may also be evacuating the heat better than the A4's plastic housing.

Also, opening up the case may not give a representative idea of the processor temperature, because of different heat conduction to the outer shell.

The only reliable measurement would be to access the on-chip temperature sensors.
Maybe there would be no FUD articles to publish if it would actually turn out that the actual dye temperature in the iPad3's processor is hardly different from that in the previous models. Would such a realization put CR, the NYT and others to shame? Probably not, they wouldn't even admit their unscientific mistake. They would simply start looking at something else to pick on.
post #28 of 105
First off anybody with any sense wold have expected more heat simply due to he more powerful chips and backlighting. Speaking of which that backlighting is most likely spread out a bit, the CPU is a point load. Thus it really looks like most of the heat is coming from the backlight. I believe somebody has already measured the power draw of the backlight so I really have to wonder what the debate is all about.

In any event I was watching an iTunesU video last night, with the iPad plugged in an didn't notice any heat issues.
post #29 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Esoom View Post

Heck, I can't even get mine to warm up, what am I doing wrong?

Try playing the updated for retina Real Racing 2HD for 20 minutes or so.... there is definitely a warm spot that is definitely warmer than it was on the iPad 2 but it's not "hot" by any definition, and anybody with even the faintest grip on physics (and reality) will know that doubling the number of cores on a chip and then pushing them all really hard is going to produce some extra heat... beyond that, in "normal" use (email / facebook / etc) I've yet to find any noticeable temperature difference to my iPad 2.

I'd say it's possibly more an indicator that Apple have improved the heat flow away from the hotter running (it has to be, see "physics" for more details) A5X chip with the new metal heat spreader identified in the iFixIt teardown - I mean lets face it that big aluminium rear case makes an ideal heatsink

I still say it's a non issue that certain sites are blowing out of all proportion in order to find something (anything!) to complain about to grab page hits and ad revenue in the ensuing hater frenzy.
post #30 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeanSolecki View Post

I think you'd have to hold an iPad 2 and iPad[ ] one after the other to see if the "warm spot" is really that dramatic, compared to another model. But of course it isn't. I mean... "warm spot?" Really?

Pretty silly.

It's all about who get's the most clicks in YouTube. AI shouldn't even provide links to click on IMHO. They just add to this silly hysteria. One 5-7°C warmer than the other ??!?? And they take the trouble to loose the warranty of such a nice device over this kind of bogus. Is there no end to this kind of craziness?
post #31 of 105
Outside air temperatures records in at least 20 US States are hotter than the iPad's warm spot.

http://www.usatoday.com/weather/wheat7.htm
post #32 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveMcM76 View Post

I mean lets face it that big aluminium rear case makes an ideal heatsink .

Exactly what I thought, when I saw the pics.
Makes perfectly sense to let the additional heat escape. What better to use than good old aluminium with such a nice heat conductivity.
post #33 of 105
The iPad 2 has a 25 watt battery, and can last upto 10 hours. The new iPad has a 42.5 watt battery and can last up to 10 hours. A little less than twice the energy is being expended in the same time period means more heat - simple as that.
post #34 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rxlewis View Post

The iPad 2 has a 25 watt battery, and can last upto 10 hours. The new iPad has a 42.5 watt battery and can last up to 10 hours. A little less than twice the energy is being expended in the same time period means more heat - simple as that.

Not necessarily. Well yes, but in a few years a proc with this same power as this will run significantly cooler, so it's not simply cut and dried like that.
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post #35 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Not necessarily. Well yes, but in a few years a proc with this same power as this will run significantly cooler, so it's not simply cut and dried like that.

What do you mean by "same power"?

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post #36 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post

Place next to a bread pan with bread dough and it should help the bread rise. Nice.

Use it as a bread pan!
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post #37 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Not necessarily. Well yes, but in a few years a proc with this same power as this will run significantly cooler, so it's not simply cut and dried like that.

It may be possible, in a few years, to develop more a efficient processor, but more effiecent means either less energy (fewer watts) OR more speed for the same energy (equal wattage). If they are expending the same amount of energy it will produce the same amount of heat ... Simple as that.

Please don't get me wrong- I don't see ANY issue with this at all, and really find all of this "hot" controversy amusing.
post #38 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

iPad started at 27 degrees C (80.6 degrees F) and warmed up to 32-33 degrees C (89.6-91.4 degrees F), while the iPad 2 started at 24 degrees C (75.2 degrees F) and only climbed to 25-26 degrees C (77-78.8 degrees F).

Repair Labs said it was was unable to reproduce the 116 degree F temperatures that Consumer Reports noted earlier on Tuesday, though it did note that holding the new iPad 3 "could be noticeably warmer after only a few minutes use," especially if held where the A5X is located.

Separate tests conducted by Tested found a maximum temperature of 82 degrees F on the third-generation iPad when playing "Infinity Blade II," the same app used by Consumer Reports in its tests.

An infrared test conducted earlier this week by a Dutch site found the new iPad to have reached 92.5 degrees F during a GLBenchmark test, almost 10 degrees hotter than the 83 degrees F measured on the iPad 2 during the same test.

Let's see. The Dutch site shows a maximum of 92.5 degrees on the external case running GL Benchmark. Repair Labs shows a maximum if 97 degrees ON THE CHIP and 92 degrees external running Netflix. Tested showed a maximum of 82 degrees running 82 degrees running Infinity Blade.

Consumer Reports shows 116 degrees running Infinity Blade.

Hmmm. Who to believe? I guess it won't be the first time CR has faked results to get attention:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv...20900-idx.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Oak View Post

I went to an Apple store to see this for myself. I picked up the first display unit, felt the back left bottom in portrait mode, and immediately found the 'warm' spot. It was very noticeable

I'm disappointed, especially given the other trade-offs in weight and thickness (albeit, very small). Now, add 'heat' to the list. I can't understand why they used 45 nm for the A5X

Hopefully Apple team was all over this before launch and felt the compromises were absolutely necessary to get the Retina display out the door.

They had a year to get it right. If it was a matter of another 3-4 months to shrink key components, I would have held off the launch

That's absurd.

First, you don't have any idea how long it would have taken to shrink the CPU. It's really funny how people can make claims like that without having any clue.

Second, it's an obvious result. The unit uses almost twice as much power as the previous one. Power doesn't just disappear, it must go somewhere. A tiny portion of it is dissipated as light (although total light output didn't change much from iPad 2 to iPad 3, so that's not going to account for the difference). The rest must be heat - regardless of how heavy or thick the device is. It is not surprising that it's slightly warmer.

I have a clue for you - a 300 HP car engine puts out more heat than a 100 HP car engine, too. I guess CR should be investigating the car manufacturers. If a radiator hose breaks, just think of how much faster that high performance car will overheat.

There are no reports of the device overheating to the point of shutting off. Apple says it meets their specifications. And even the most anti-Apple reports claim that it's not too hot to hold.

People are just stirring up a controversy where none exists.
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post #39 of 105
"We were not able to replicate the same temperatures that Consumer Reports were getting"
Well that's an open statement with no qualification whatsoever.

Considering they did not mention the games tests it makes it look intended to be quite misleading.
post #40 of 105
In other news, Al Gore says the new iPad is contributing to Global warming but he still wants one so he can surf the net he invented.
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