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A6X chip in Apple's new iPad has quad-core PowerVR SGX 554 GPU

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
The performance of Apple's fourth-generation iPad has received a significant boost thanks to the PowerVR SGX 554 graphics processor hidden inside its new A6X chip.

The GPU, detailed by AnandTech, is a significant upgrade from the PowerVR SGX 543MP4 found in the third-generation iPad released earlier his year. Total GFLOPS at 300 megahertz have doubled from 38.4 in the third-generation iPad to 76.8 in the latest iPad.

"Ultimately it looks like the A6X is the (system on a chip) that the iPad needed to really deliver good gaming performance at its native resolution," author Anand Lal Shimpi wrote. "I would not be surprised to see more game developers default to 2048 x 1536 on the new iPad rather than picking a lower resolution and enabling anti-aliasing."

The A6X was also dissected by the silicon experts at Chipworks which called the chip "a very new beast." They found that the A6X is "not just an A6 with a couple minor tweaks," but is a full 30 percent larger than the A6 chip found in the iPhone 5.

Chipworks


The extra space went to the graphics processing cores, which have been increased from three to four. These GPU cores are also said to be much larger, while the CPU is sized the same size as the one found inside the A6.

Using a high magnification scope, Chipworks looked even closer at the four GPU cores in the A6X and found that each is actually split into 9 sub-cores: two sets of 4 identical sub-cores, plus a central one.

"This could be done to allow for more efficient parallel processing, or to allow for a higher maximum clock rate," the said. "In either case, these GPUs should result in some blazing graphics on your iPad.

They also found that the A6X has double the SDRAM interface of the A6, and that all of the digital cores other than the CPU have redesigned layouts.
post #2 of 32

I wonder what the heck that big unidentified square is that is just below the center of the chip... ?

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post #3 of 32
It's the Heisenberg Compensator.

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post #4 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

It's the Heisenberg Compensator.

 

Hmmm, I was thinking it was the solar farm for the green data center - which are the 8 buildings above it next to the dual core CPU complex.

 

But is hard to tell since this is in iOS6 Maps.

post #5 of 32
Imagine being shrunk to a microscopic or smaller scale and walking around this chip. The synthetic landscape before you would resemble those of the synthetic landscapes found inside that of the alien ship in Arthur C. Clarke's SciFi classic 'Rendezvous With Rama' and all the excellent sequels written together with Gentry Lee. Best SciFi series ever done I think. I'm not tripping really...just find chipscapes fascinating. I used to draw them with my Etch-A-Sketch as a child.
Edited by 1983 - 11/2/12 at 3:33pm
post #6 of 32
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Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

It's the Heisenberg Compensator.

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

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post #7 of 32

Its the thing that irritates Samsung.
 

post #8 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post

Its the thing that irritates Samsung.

BIG LOL!

23 posts and he's already struck gold!
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post #9 of 32

That's alot of power. I'd love to see something take full advantage of it. I think it might take a while to see stuff that actually realizes its full potential. We're getting to a point where hardware far exceeds the requirements of most software needs. Hell, my iPhone 4S is still fast as ****, which is why I'm not concerned about the mini having an A5. 

post #10 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1983 View Post

Imagine being shrunk to a microscopic or smaller scale and walking around this chip. The synthetic landscape before you would resemble those of the synthetic landscapes found inside that of the alien ship in Arthur C. Clarke's SciFi classic 'Rendezvous With Rama' and all the excellent sequels written together with Gentry Lee. Best SciFi series ever done I think. I'm not tripping really...just find chipscapes fascinating. I used to draw them with my Etch-A-Sketch as a child.

 

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post #11 of 32
Boy is it dead in here.

Not much the haters can say to dispute cold, hard facts. And the facts are the A6X kills the best available GPU's from Samsung and Qualcomm.

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post #12 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

That's alot of power. I'd love to see something take full advantage of it. I think it might take a while to see stuff that actually realizes its full potential. We're getting to a point where hardware far exceeds the requirements of most software needs. Hell, my iPhone 4S is still fast as ****, which is why I'm not concerned about the mini having an A5. 

I have to say my iPod touch (g4) seems to have become a bit sluggish starting with the iOS upgrade to iOS 5. I definitely could use a bit of headroom.

post #13 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


Say

my

name.

post #14 of 32

The Heisenberg compensator is an essential component of transporter technology to ensure the integrity of transported matter.

The compensator counteracts effects of the applied characteristics identified in Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. To accurately isolate matter prior to its entry into the transporter buffer, all particles must be located, their velocity observed, and tracked. The compensators allow this to happen.

 
Actually, I expected such a large chunk of prime real estate near the center of the chip, and practically surrounded with the CPU and GPUs to have some kind of major central purpose; such as a Jobsonian RDF. 
 
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post #15 of 32
How to enter the Apple logo  on iOS:
/Settings/Keyboard/Shortcut and paste in  which you copied from an email draft or a note. Screendump
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post #16 of 32
What impress me the most is at the A6X on the iPad 4 doubles the performance of theipad 3 and nexus 10 tablets. They will have to play games at the res of iPad 2 because they can't drive the amount of pixels a retina display requires (even worst for the nexus 10 with greater res display). While the iPad 4 will play games at retina. People think there will be a refresh in march for iPad I don't think so the competition is way behind.

Also now we know why the iPad 3 was discontinued it was not balance, iPad 2, mini and now iPad 4 have the hardware that can drive its display...
post #17 of 32

Nice.


Edited by 1983 - 11/3/12 at 9:14am
post #18 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by WelshDog View Post

Say
my
name.


(I hope this doesn't ruin it for anyone)

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post #19 of 32

Just how Far is this A6X from Xbox 360 and PS3? looks ike its starting to get in the same ball park...

 

CPU; Xbox 360-PS3

 

3.2 GHz Xenon processor 3.2 GHz Cell processor 3 dual-threaded cores 7 single-threaded cores

(plus 1 backup core) Maximum 77 GFlops Maximum 230 GFlops

 

GPU; Xbox 360-PS3

 

ATI Xenos NVIDIA RSX "Reality Synthesizer" Up to 512 MB GDDR3 RAM (shared w/ system RAM) 256 MB GDDR 3RAM (additional 224 MB can be shared w/ system RAM) 10 MB eDRAM 21.6 GBps bandwidth (256 GBps via eDRAM) 22.4 GBps bandwidth

post #20 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShAdOwXPR View Post

Just how Far is this A6X from Xbox 360 and PS3? looks ike its starting to get in the same ball park...

 

CPU; Xbox 360-PS3

 

3.2 GHz Xenon processor 3.2 GHz Cell processor 3 dual-threaded cores 7 single-threaded cores

(plus 1 backup core) Maximum 77 GFlops Maximum 230 GFlops

 

GPU; Xbox 360-PS3

 

ATI Xenos NVIDIA RSX "Reality Synthesizer" Up to 512 MB GDDR3 RAM (shared w/ system RAM) 256 MB GDDR 3RAM (additional 224 MB can be shared w/ system RAM) 10 MB eDRAM 21.6 GBps bandwidth (256 GBps via eDRAM) 22.4 GBps bandwidth

 

Personally, I don't think you can make a spec-based comparison between the Xbox and the iPad hardware.

 

The Xbox is hauling around a truckload of Win OS and playing games that are un-optimized and graphic heavy.

 

The iPads are highly optimized for minimum power consumption with tightly optimized HW and SW. Therefore, the iPad will do far more with far less, while the Xbox will burn a lot of power to accomplish less. 

 

The usual specs don't translate into resultant performance and that's why Apple is not talking HW specs. If you remember when Apple introduced the first iPhone the CEOs of RIMM declared that what Apple was saying the iPhone could do "was impossible."

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post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post

Personally, I don't think you can make a spec-based comparison between the Xbox and the iPad hardware.

The Xbox is hauling around a truckload of Win OS and playing games that are un-optimized and graphic heavy.

The iPads are highly optimized for minimum power consumption with tightly optimized HW and SW. Therefore, the iPad will do far more with far less, while the Xbox will burn a lot of power to accomplish less. 

The usual specs don't translate into resultant performance and that's why Apple is not talking HW specs. If you remember when Apple introduced the first iPhone the CEOs of RIMM declared that what Apple was saying the iPhone could do "was impossible."

I agree that a spec alone comparison is not the way to go since the consoles can use all the power they need and iPad hardware is driving a higher res display. But based on performance they could be compared IMHO. iPad 4 clock at 78gflops which is what the xbox 360 clock but not as fast as the PS3 230gflops. And the gpu on the consoles look to be close to the 554 MP4 of the iPad 4. Meaning that they are now in the ball park of each other or close to it.

Obviously the next gen cosoles will be beast of 600gflops-1.5tflops but iPads getting parity with the Xbox 360 and PS3 is huge IMHO. PSP vita is less powerful and people call it a console type level on the go.

So the question stands is the ipad 4 at Xbox 360 & PS3 level or at least In the ball park?
post #22 of 32
Ok, to put this into perspective: iPad4 is 3 times as slow as the Playstation3. (77GFLOPS versus 230GFLOPS in single precision floating point operations).
If we look at power use the difference is incredible: the iPad is 35 times as efficient (latest generation Playstation 3, 70Watt, versus 4 Watt for the iPad 4, of which half is used for the display).

By the way, looking at some other posts: I do think that the numbers show the real difference, that's because the games (that potentially use all GPU power) use OpenGL to achieve that.
And it's reasonal to assume that the implementation of OpenGL on a platform that has it's sole purpose in gaming (and exist for some time) is comparable to that of Apple.

J.
Edited by jnjnjn - 11/4/12 at 10:57am
post #23 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnjnjn View Post

Ok, to put this into perspective: iPad4 is 3 times as slow as the Playstation3. (77GFLOPS versus 230GFLOPS in single precision floating point operations).
If we look at power use the difference is incredible: the iPad is 35 times as efficient (latest generation Playstation 3, 70Watt, versus 4 Watt for the iPad 4, of which half is used for the display).
J.

Is GFLOPS a good way to measure gaming performance?

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

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

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post #24 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Is GFLOPS a good way to measure gaming performance?

Yes, it's directly related. See my previous comment (I added some lines to it).

J.
post #25 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShAdOwXPR View Post

...
Also now we know why the iPad 3 was discontinued it was not balance, iPad 2, mini and now iPad 4 have the hardware that can drive its display...

I was saying the exact same thing, even before the iPad3 was released.
It should have had at least 4 times the GPU performance of the iPad2 because it had 4 times the pixels.
If I remember correctly, the iPad 3 was in fact, only three times as fast, and relatively slower than the iPad2.
The A6X corrects this.

J.
post #26 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnjnjn View Post

Ok, to put this into perspective: iPad4 is 3 times as slow as the Playstation3. (77GFLOPS versus 230GFLOPS in single precision floating point operations).
If we look at power use the difference is incredible: the iPad is 35 times as efficient (latest generation Playstation 3, 70Watt, versus 4 Watt for the iPad 4, of which half is used for the display).
By the way, looking at some other posts: I do think that the numbers show the real difference, that's because the games (that potentially use all GPU power) use OpenGL to achieve that.
And it's reasonal to assume that the implementation of OpenGL on a platform that has it's sole purpose in gaming (and exist for some time) is comparable to that of Apple.

J.

But the Xbox 360 also has 77gflops and the performance is the same as the PS3...

post #27 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnjnjn View Post

Ok, to put this into perspective: iPad4 is 3 times as slow as the Playstation3. (77GFLOPS versus 230GFLOPS in single precision floating point operations).
If we look at power use the difference is incredible: the iPad is 35 times as efficient (latest generation Playstation 3, 70Watt, versus 4 Watt for the iPad 4, of which half is used for the display).
By the way, looking at some other posts: I do think that the numbers show the real difference, that's because the games (that potentially use all GPU power) use OpenGL to achieve that.
And it's reasonal to assume that the implementation of OpenGL on a platform that has it's sole purpose in gaming (and exist for some time) is comparable to that of Apple.

J.

 

But the Xbox 360 also has 77gflops and the performance is the same as the PS3...

 

So in CPU i believe they are in the same ball park but what about GPU? is the 554 MP4 in the same ball park as Xbox 360-PS3?

post #28 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShAdOwXPR View Post

 

But the Xbox 360 also has 77gflops and the performance is the same as the PS3...

 

So in CPU i believe they are in the same ball park but what about GPU? is the 554 MP4 in the same ball park as Xbox 360-PS3?

 

Maybe you confuse some things.

I was talking about GPU performance but the PS3 has no GPU, at least not by 'definition'.

The PS3 has 7 cores (cells) that act together as a GPU. You could say that it's a GPU formed by software and several cell cores.

So to answer your question: the PowerVR 554 (GPU) of the iPad 4 has 77GFLOPS (single precision) and is 3 times as slow and 12 times as power efficient as the Cell processor cores (organized by software as a GPU) of the PS3.

This excludes the performance of the dual core Arm processor (1.4GHz) of the iPad4, so technically the iPad is faster than 77GFLOPS. I don't know the number of GFLOPS for the dual core Arm, but compared to GPU performance this isn't much.

The point is that this performance isn't used for games, because the game software layer OpenGL uses the GPU only.

 

J.

post #29 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnjnjn View Post

 

Maybe you confuse some things.

I was talking about GPU performance but the PS3 has no GPU, at least not by 'definition'.

The PS3 has 7 cores (cells) that act together as a GPU. You could say that it's a GPU formed by software and several cell cores.

So to answer your question: the PowerVR 554 (GPU) of the iPad 4 has 77GFLOPS (single precision) and is 3 times as slow and 12 times as power efficient as the Cell processor cores (organized by software as a GPU) of the PS3.

This excludes the performance of the dual core Arm processor (1.4GHz) of the iPad4, so technically the iPad is faster than 77GFLOPS. I don't know the number of GFLOPS for the dual core Arm, but compared to GPU performance this isn't much.

The point is that this performance isn't used for games, because the game software layer OpenGL uses the GPU only.

 

J.

 

Actually you are wrong first the PS3 does have a GPU

 

Xbox GPU; ATI Xenos

PS3 GPU: NVIDIA RSX "Reality Synthesizer"

iPad 4; 554 MP4

 

Second the gflops is the CPU;

 

Xbox; 77gflops

PS3; 230gflops

iPad 4; 78gflops

 

Also I'm pretty sure that both CPU and GPU are used in OpenGL...

post #30 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShAdOwXPR View Post

 

Actually you are wrong first the PS3 does have a GPU

 

Xbox GPU; ATI Xenos

PS3 GPU: NVIDIA RSX "Reality Synthesizer"

iPad 4; 554 MP4

 

Second the gflops is the CPU;

 

Xbox; 77gflops

PS3; 230gflops

iPad 4; 78gflops

 

Also I'm pretty sure that both CPU and GPU are used in OpenGL...

 

I didn't know that the PS3 had a GPU, thanks for the information.

I didn't talk about the Xbox (but I did know that it had a separate GPU).

The GFLOP number I was referring to was from Anadtech and specifies the PowerVR 554 GPU (it's 77GFLOPS) of the iPad4.

Your right that the GFLOPS of the PS3 I mentioned was about the CPU (Cell processor), that's because I mistook it for a software GPU.

 

OpenGL runs on a CPU thread (although even this thread might run on the GPU), but the point is that all calculation intensive tasks are offloaded to the GPU.

So everything that has to do with performance is on the GPU side, that's why the GPU GFLOPS count and the CPU is largely irrelevant.

I'am not sure about the PS3 implementation because it seems that the GPU is only 10GFLOPS or so (from a quick search on the internet) and it seems strange to ignore 230GFLOPS from the Cell processors.

It seems to me that the OpenGL driver of the PS3 uses the CPU as one or more GPUs and that the total of 230 plus 10 (?) GFLOP of the discrete GPU is the actual performance of the PS3.

Maybe someone knows exactly how this is implemented?

 

J.

post #31 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnjnjn View Post

 

I didn't know that the PS3 had a GPU, thanks for the information.

I didn't talk about the Xbox (but I did know that it had a separate GPU).

The GFLOP number I was referring to was from Anadtech and specifies the PowerVR 554 GPU (it's 77GFLOPS) of the iPad4.

Your right that the GFLOPS of the PS3 I mentioned was about the CPU (Cell processor), that's because I mistook it for a software GPU.

 

OpenGL runs on a CPU thread (although even this thread might run on the GPU), but the point is that all calculation intensive tasks are offloaded to the GPU.

So everything that has to do with performance is on the GPU side, that's why the GPU GFLOPS count and the CPU is largely irrelevant.

I'am not sure about the PS3 implementation because it seems that the GPU is only 10GFLOPS or so (from a quick search on the internet) and it seems strange to ignore 230GFLOPS from the Cell processors.

It seems to me that the OpenGL driver of the PS3 uses the CPU as one or more GPUs and that the total of 230 plus 10 (?) GFLOP of the discrete GPU is the actual performance of the PS3.

Maybe someone knows exactly how this is implemented?

 

J.

that's the problem consoles gflops numbers are of CPU and ipad 4 gflops is GPU. Anyone knows the gflops of the A6X CPU? or the gflops of the GPU's opf Xbox 360 & PS3?

post #32 of 32

Found a few consoles gflops cpu/gpu numbers;

 

Xbox | CPU: 1.5 GFLOPS | GPU: 5.8 GFLOPS | Combined: 7.3 GFLOPS
Xbox360 | CPU: 77-115 GFLOPS | GPU: ???-240 GFLOPS | Combined: 355 GFLOPS
Dreamcast | CPU: 1.4 GFLOPS | GPU: 0.1 GFLOPS | Combined: 1.5 GFLOPS
Wii | CPU: 60 GFLOPS | GPU: 1 GFLOPS | Combined: 61 GFLOPS
PS2 | CPU: 6 GFLOPS | GPU: 0 GFLOPS | Combined: 6 GFLOPS

Wii U| CPU: 50-260 GFLOPS | GPU: ???-600 GFLOPS | Combined: 61 GFLOPS

iPad 4 | CPU: ??? GFLOPS | GPU: 78-??? GFLOPS | Combined: ??? GFLOPS
 

 

both xbox 360 and Wii U real gflops is the first one not the theoretical, apparently the real and theoretical are very different...


Edited by ShAdOwXPR - 11/5/12 at 10:02am
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