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iPad mini's A5 chip confirmed to be built on Samsung's 32nm process

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
It was confirmed on Thursday that iPad mini is using the same A5 processor found in the fifth-generation iPod touch, meaning the SoC is built on Samsung's 32nm process first introduced in the refreshed iPad 2 and third-generation Apple TV.

A5 SoC in iPad mini
Apple's A-series chips. | Source: Chipworks


Chip analysis firm Chipworks took a closer look at the iPad mini's processor to see if Apple moved to an updated process as it did with the incremental iPad 2 revision in May, which saw a process change from 45nm to 32nm.

The firm noted in its report that Apple quietly changed the process in the A5 chip when it introduced the New iPad and its touted A5X SoC.

"Apple (likely) plays it this way because they don?t want people evaluating their products based on 'commodity' technical specifications, but based on the overall experience with the device," Chipworks wrote.

Based on the company's generational process changes, some speculated that the iPad mini would carry a third-generation A5 chip even more efficient than the 32nm version found in the iPad 2 and Apple TV. Chipworks discovered, however, that the tablet's SoC is the same 32nm component found in the most recent iPod touch.

"Basically, we put our device in for a cross section and the images show the same contacted gate pitch and the same high-k metal gates, so we are comfortable with this conclusion," the firm said, referring to Samsung's 32nm process.

The continued use of the legacy A5 chip may not come as a surprise to most, as Apple was said to be keeping component costs down in order to offer the mini at a relatively inexpensive price point.

Chipworks' in-depth look comes on the heels of iFixit's usual teardown which found the 7.9-inch tablet to share design cues and parts design with the iPhone 5.
post #2 of 11
Troll me a poem. A8 at 12nm made by google.1smoking.gif
An Apple man since 1977
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post #3 of 11
This is interesting. During the keynote, Apple very clearly called the processor in the iPad mini an A5X, not an A5. They even put it up in a graphic on the screen.
post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsenka View Post

This is interesting. During the keynote, Apple very clearly called the processor in the iPad mini an A5X, not an A5. They even put it up in a graphic on the screen.

Go to 58m:53s. It's an A5/32nm.

They do show an A6X but that's earlier for the iPad (4) part. Note that the X is for GPU and bandwidth required to push all the additional data to the display. This is simply not required for the iPad 1, 2, or mini, which all only have a handle more pixels than the iPhone and iPod Touch with Retina displays.

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post #5 of 11
Originally Posted by bsenka View Post
This is interesting. During the keynote, Apple very clearly called the processor in the iPad mini an A5X, not an A5. They even put it up in a graphic on the screen.

 

A5. Right on the website.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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post #6 of 11

It sure looks pretty sitting on my bench syncing apps across...  it feels very light and no where near as 'solid' feeling as my old ipad2..  but tiny.  Jealous of my little one, who is it for.

Household: MacBook, iPad 16gb wifi, iPad 64gb wifi, iPad Mini 32gb, coming iPhone 5S, iPhone 4S 32gb, iPhone 32gb, iPod Touch 4th gen x1, iPod nano 16gb gen 5 x2, iPod nano gen 3 8gb, iPod classic...
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Household: MacBook, iPad 16gb wifi, iPad 64gb wifi, iPad Mini 32gb, coming iPhone 5S, iPhone 4S 32gb, iPhone 32gb, iPod Touch 4th gen x1, iPod nano 16gb gen 5 x2, iPod nano gen 3 8gb, iPod classic...
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post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsenka View Post

This is interesting. During the keynote, Apple very clearly called the processor in the iPad mini an A5X, not an A5. They even put it up in a graphic on the screen.

 

No they didn't. 

post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post

Troll me a poem. A8 at 12nm made by google.1smoking.gif

So what of it?? Android tablets with supposedly higher specs still run lousy compared to an iPad with less "specs". Funny how you guys keep conveniently avoiding that subject.

Now buzz off troll.
post #9 of 11
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post
So what of it??

 

He's hoping that Android will be able to scroll smoothly by then.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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post #10 of 11

Im guessing the 32nm processor is helping the iPad mini get the 10 hours of use. 
Just like the current iPad 2s run long than the original 2

post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zozman View Post

Im guessing the 32nm processor is helping the iPad mini get the 10 hours of use. 

Just like the current iPad 2s run long than the original 2

Definitely. The iPad mini simply wasn't possible at the duration and weight before 32nm.

Same goes for the use of the 1024x768 display as a 326 PPI display with backlight plus the A5X ASIC would be require a bigger battery to keep the 10 hour duration minimum. Because of that I don't think we'll see that PPI in the iPad mini until it gets Rogue 6 GPU which isn't slated until later next year and which I think it will be a year behind, so we're talking 2014.

"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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