Teardown of Apple's A6 processor finds 1GB RAM with 2 CPU & 3 GPU cores

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 60
    wizard69 wrote: »
    IPad 4 should be very interesting to say the least. However I'd rather see them go for broke performance wise and not worry about the battery thinnest. Just keep performance at a level that maintains current long battery lifetimes.

    I disagree with you here (as usual). I do want longer battery life but portability is also very important. I think the weight and, by association, thickness need to be and will reduced for the next gen iPad.
    As far as the A15, A6 is a sign that buying cores from ARM is now a forgotten memory at Apple. This new core of Apples is already as fast or faster than A15 and most likely is running extremely slow at 1GHz in iPhine 5. I wouldn't be surprised one bit to see the A6 running at 1.5GHz in iPad 4. That is if they don't already have a quad core on the way for iPad. Apple now has more flexibility than at anytime in the past for SoCs so as stated iPad 4 had the opportunity to be very interesting to say the least.

    I try to use the suffix -esque and -like to indicate that these aren't ARM's specific designs for A9 or A15 but custom designs built from more basic reference designs from ARM. While the A6 looks much like Krait in its A9 with A15 features I wouldn't be surprised if the next iPad is much further toward the A15 envelope.I wish there was a marketing name to refer to base designs from ARM.
  • Reply 22 of 60

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post



    IPad 4 should be very interesting to say the least. However I'd rather see them go for broke performance wise and not worry about the battery thinnest. Just keep performance at a level that maintains current long battery lifetimes....


     


    I think the reverse is true in this case.  If ever there was a clunky, heavy Apple product it is the iPad 3.  As soon as it's not on sale anymore even the tech press will be able to admit what a kludge this particular model was.  


     


    If the mythical mini ever appears it might solve the problem, but it seems that even then, the iPad 3 could really benefit from a much thinner, lighter form factor.  

  • Reply 23 of 60
    jragosta wrote: »
    Yes, but Samsung didn't have to do a tear-down. The CA trial made it clear that their cell phone division is getting advance information from the microprocessor division.

    I didn't read about that at all. Can you supply some evidence to that effect?
  • Reply 24 of 60
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    I didn't read about that at all. Can you supply some evidence to that effect?

    Sure. Read the trial transcripts. Their analysis of the iPhone and what they needed to do to be competitive came from the microprocessor group.
  • Reply 25 of 60
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member
    What puzzles me is that Apple is using 3 GPUs. Why would they use 3? Isn't it customary to use GPUs in pairs if multiple GPUs are used? I've never heard of a 3 GPU design.
  • Reply 26 of 60

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Smartcat View Post



    I was just thinking, Apple really went far to keep the size of the phone small ....

    If not to preserve the phone dimensions, they would not be constrained by the battery capacity and just throw in whatever latest cores ready in the market.

    (Just like all the big screen competitors are doing now)

    So it looks like the iPad mini(if it comes out soon), will be an A6 at higher freq. and the next iPad4 will be A6X(think die shrink needed to squeeze in 4 cored GPU).

    Cool ....


     

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    I think the mini is still going to use a 32nm A5 processor to keep costs down not interfere with the iPhone 5 wrt manufacturing. 


     


    I wouldn't mind the next iPad moving to Quad Core with Rogue graphics.   It's time to start bringing the Pro apps to iOS. 


     


    Aperture 


    Final Cut Pro X 


    Logic  


     


    A 128GB Quad Core iPad with Rogue is going to be up to the task.  


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  • Reply 27 of 60
    jragosta wrote: »
    Sure. Read the trial transcripts. Their analysis of the iPhone and what they needed to do to be competitive came from the microprocessor group.

    Yeah, not going to read the transcripts from a trial that lasted several weeks. I thought you had an analysis or even a website that detailed that aspect in a cogent argument .

    drblank wrote: »
    What puzzles me is that Apple is using 3 GPUs. Why would they use 3? Isn't it customary to use GPUs in pairs if multiple GPUs are used? I've never heard of a 3 GPU design.

    A poster from AnandTech explains it well...
    penti wrote:
    It's three "compute units" nothing wrong with that and the SoC seems perfectly fine. Basically 3/4 of the power of the A5X just from the GPU-config, might have better clocks though. So roughly the same, but in phones. It's not three gpus or any SLI/Crossfire/Lucid configuration.

    They do stuff in parallel, they don't have three memory interfaces, the driver/software just schedules the work for the available units, but so does any other GPU. And it is tiled-based rendering regardless of how many cores you have here,1-16 is supported. Regardless of how many threads it's core can keep active. The tiles are handled in hardware. The scaling is pretty linear and don't have much overhead. It's not like having to copy frame buffers over the PCIe bus. Most mobile GPU's does do tiling as does the Xenos Xbox360 gpu. All have some type of multicore setup. Should make no difference that it is an odd number here. Rendering are already subdivided and multi-threaded even with one core here.
  • Reply 28 of 60
    This isn't space age science. It's routine, and yes, this analysis is standard for all chip fabs.
  • Reply 29 of 60

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    I disagree with you here (as usual). I do want longer battery life but portability is also very important. I think the weight and, by association, thickness need to be and will reduced for the next gen iPad.


     


    I bought my wife the original iPad and the Apple case.  It wasn't super thin, but it certainly felt like you were holding something when you had it in hand.  It's survied very nicely and gets a lot of use from our kids.  Every time I handled an iPad 2 in stores, it always felt too thin.  I was actually glad to see the iPad 3 felt a bit more substantial.  I like the current body and while I'm sure Apple will tweak things and try to go thinner, I think maintaining for the next go round and making more efficient use of the space internally will be better.  The trick is figuring out how to have lighter batteries.


     


     


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


     


    I think the reverse is true in this case.  If ever there was a clunky, heavy Apple product it is the iPad 3.  As soon as it's not on sale anymore even the tech press will be able to admit what a kludge this particular model was.  



     


    Completely disagree.  Then again, people whining about the weight of a product that weighs under 1 1/2 pounds...I've carried around and regularly read heavier books.

  • Reply 30 of 60
    ssquirrel wrote: »
    I bought my wife the original iPad and the Apple case.  It wasn't super thin, but it certainly felt like you were holding something when you had it in hand.  It's survied very nicely and gets a lot of use from our kids.  Every time I handled an iPad 2 in stores, it always felt too thin.  I was actually glad to see the iPad 3 felt a bit more substantial.  I like the current body and while I'm sure Apple will tweak things and try to go thinner, I think maintaining for the next go round and making more efficient use of the space internally will be better.  The trick is figuring out how to have lighter batteries.

    That's easy. You make the battery smaller. :D With a more efficient CPU/GPU/PoP/SoC/ASIC and with the 32nm lithography you can use a smaller battery and get the same performance and run time, as we're seeing with the new iPhone. I have no doubt that Apple's focus will be to reduce its weight. I, too, like the feel of the original iPad but thickness often accompanies weight. I doubt they will leave empty space inside and the next display could very well be in-cell touch and a single, smaller backlight, and will likely use GG2 so we're talking about a thinner model just from those elements.
  • Reply 31 of 60
    paxman wrote: »
    No, but it can't be a comfortable feeling that your primary competitor is the very one that produces your very own custom made chip. On paper it all checks out, I am sure but...

    That's the problem with these huge conglomerate companies. They often compete with other companies in one sector while partnering with the same companies in other sectors.

    And it also makes it hard to hate them when one division does bad things, when the other divisions have no fault. My Samsung refrigerator is the best & they make quality memory and SoCs, doesn't mean I care for their mobile division's policies. I play my PS3 often, but everything else Sony does is appalling. Microsoft Exchange & Active Directory are feature rich, well integrated and easy to maintain, but .... well, you know Microsoft.
  • Reply 32 of 60
    hmurchison wrote: »
    I think the mini is still going to use a 32nm A5 processor to keep costs down not interfere with the iPhone 5 wrt manufacturing.

    I think it'll use A5, like the iPod Touch, for cost reasons but will use 32nm lithography for power efficiency reasons.

    gazoobee wrote: »
    I think the reverse is true in this case.  If ever there was a clunky, heavy Apple product it is the iPad 3.  As soon as it's not on sale anymore even the tech press will be able to admit what a kludge this particular model was.  

    If the mythical mini ever appears it might solve the problem, but it seems that even then, the iPad 3 could really benefit from a much thinner, lighter form factor.  

    The Mini doesn't solve any such problem because it won't be pushing 3,145,728 pixels, only 786,432 pixels. That's 1/4 the number of pixels which means a lot less processing power, a lot less power for the display elements, and a much, much smaller battery.

    The only way to have kept the iPad 3 as thin and lightweight as the iPad 2 and still be usable was to simply not used the Retina display. I'm quite happy with a slightly heavier device that has the Retina display as opposed to one that is slightly lighter with only 1024x768. In no way is the iPad 3 a "badly put together machine".
  • Reply 33 of 60
    gazoobee wrote: »
    It will be very interesting to see if Samsung tries to copy the design.  A violation of that sort would be far beyond simply copying a style or an icon and could land them in serious criminal trouble.  It would be more in the line of industrial espionage and people would be going to jail.  

    If you can reverse engineer a netlist you deserve to use the chip design.

    J.
  • Reply 34 of 60
    gazoobee wrote: »
    I think the reverse is true in this case.  If ever there was a clunky, heavy Apple product it is the iPad 3.  As soon as it's not on sale anymore even the tech press will be able to admit what a kludge this particular model was.  

    If the mythical mini ever appears it might solve the problem, but it seems that even then, the iPad 3 could really benefit from a much thinner, lighter form factor.  

    You obviously don't use an iPad3.

    J
  • Reply 35 of 60
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    Yeah but, not but, yeah but, no but, yeah, while the Samsung Galaxy SIII International version has 4 cores¡

    And the Tegra 2 and three have, how many, 6 or 8 or 12 graphics cores? And 4 core CPU, and is still handily beaten by Apple's chips.

    If we've learned anything over the years, it's that the number isn't the only thing that matters. Right now, while a 4 core CPU will give better numbers on tests that measure all core use, in the real world, it's negated by apps that only use one or two cores. It's per core performance that still matters, and multiprocessing efficiency, that is, how much of a boost is there going to more cores. They don't add up perfectly after all, and a second core may only add 80%, a third, another 70%, and the forth, just 60%.

    Generally, it's better today, but not all the time.
  • Reply 36 of 60
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member
    umrk_lab wrote: »

    A bit like human brain .. tear down cannot explain everything ....

    Yup, the gestalt is such that the whole is worth more than its parts.
  • Reply 37 of 60
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member
    wizard69 wrote: »
    IPad 4 should be very interesting to say the least. However I'd rather see them go for broke performance wise and not worry about the battery thinnest. Just keep performance at a level that maintains current long battery lifetimes.
    As far as the A15, A6 is a sign that buying cores from ARM is now a forgotten memory at Apple. This new core of Apples is already as fast or faster than A15 and most likely is running extremely slow at 1GHz in iPhine 5. I wouldn't be surprised one bit to see the A6 running at 1.5GHz in iPad 4. That is if they don't already have a quad core on the way for iPad. Apple now has more flexibility than at anytime in the past for SoCs so as stated iPad 4 had the opportunity to be very interesting to say the least.

    I wouldn't have minded if the phone only weighed 15% less, and was another .5 mil in thickness if it gave another 15% or so better battery life. That is, just for the phone. The iPad is heavy enough already.

    As Pogue said, this is well on its way to becoming a bookmark.
  • Reply 38 of 60
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member
    hmurchison wrote: »
    I think the mini is still going to use a 32nm A5 processor to keep costs down not interfere with the iPhone 5 wrt manufacturing. 
     
    I wouldn't mind the next iPad moving to Quad Core with Rogue graphics.   It's time to start bringing the Pro apps to iOS. 
     
    Aperture 
    Final Cut Pro X 
    Logic  
     
    A 128GB Quad Core iPad with Rogue is going to be up to the task.  
     

    I'd love 128 in the next version. The question is how much more that will cost. We'll likely see better graphics performance. But I'm not sure what we'll be able to get as a GPU. I'm hoping the series 6 cores will be available. Four of those operating at a higher speed using a 32nm node would be awesome. Not certain of what we'll get for CPU's either. We may just see these running at, hopefully, a max of 1.5 GHz. We'll get four core at so e point, just not so sure Apple wants another sku for their SoC so soon.
  • Reply 39 of 60
    can someone explain me what a manual chip layout means and how those people could have come to that conclusion?
  • Reply 40 of 60
    I guess that will take 1 or 2 more years.
    OS has to be 64bit.

    By the way, that might be biggest issue of that Win8 foray. Too early. ARM 64 bit will not sell on Taiwanese dairy markets for another year or so.
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