A10X Fusion chip in new iPad Pro first consumer device built on TSMC's 10nm process

Posted:
in iPad edited June 2017
Third party analysts have examined the A10X Fusion processor found in the new iPad Pro, and it has been confirmed to be the first chip in a device using TMSC's FinFET 10nm chip fabrication process.




In a breakdown published by Tech Insights, A10X Fusion die size comes in at 96.4 square millimeters as compared to the 16nm A9X with a die size of 143.9 square millimeters. Even having the notably smaller die size, the chip has 8MB of L2 cache, three CPU cores, and a 12-cluster GPU assembly.

For comparison, the A9X in the previous iPad Pro also had a 12-cluster GPU assembly, but two CPU cores and 3MB of L2 cache. The GPU in the A10X is nearly identical to that in the A9X and A10, so it is likely still Imagination's PowerVR technology.

The step is slightly out of line for Apple. Historically, Apple has shifted to a smaller manufacturing process on the iPhone, rather than on the iPad. The "X" series processor has been an improvement on the smaller die, with more cores for higher performance when associated with a larger battery.

Despite the smaller die size and 10nm process, Anandtech notes that Apple groups the A9 and A10 families together in processor family documentation, including the A9X and A10X in the same family of processors.

The A10X Fusion processor debuted on June 5 in an event that saw the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro released, alongside a refresh of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Besides just the new processor, the new iPad Pros also feature "ProMotion" technology and other enhancements, dramatically improving visual performance by giving the screen a 120Hz refresh rate.

An AppleInsider review of the 10.5-inch iPad with the A10X Fusion processor found it to be a massive improvement over the A9X in the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. As a result, "Apple is now essentially competing with itself" in the large-format tablet race.
razorpit
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 51
    3GB L2 cache?
    anton zuykov
  • Reply 2 of 51
    sergiozsergioz Posts: 338member
    I am sure  he meant to type in 3MB of L2 cache!
  • Reply 3 of 51
    Beast of a processor for mobile. And Qualcomm/Samsung without anything to answer in this market. Meaning your tablets get the same processors as your phones, when a tablet is an ideal candidate for a more powerful processor to run more powerful Apps.
    watto_cobrastantheman
  • Reply 4 of 51
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,321member
    Beast of a processor for mobile. And Qualcomm/Samsung without anything to answer in this market. Meaning your tablets get the same processors as your phones, when a tablet is an ideal candidate for a more powerful processor to run more powerful Apps.
    Not exactly "no answer" but I understand the point I think you were trying to make: Neither Samsung nor Qualcomm can create quite as powerful a processor for a tablet. 
    https://news.samsung.com/global/samsung-launches-premium-exynos-9-series-processor-built-on-the-worlds-first-10nm-finfet-process-technology
    https://venturebeat.com/2017/01/03/qualcomms-snapdragon-835-will-debut-with-3-billion-transistors-and-a-10nm-manufacturing-process/
    edited June 2017 Soli
  • Reply 5 of 51
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,032member
    A couple things of note:

    • Apple's A10X is a 10nm process while Intel is still at 14nm with Kaby Lake in the new MBPs.
    • Even with the smaller npde process the A-series chips usually have grown in size.
    • Just imagine what Apple could offer if they designed a chip that had the power envelop and TDP of the Intel chips they use in their notebooks, without all the wasted features of Intel's offerings and at a fraction of the price.
    cornchip
  • Reply 6 of 51
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 2,516member
    Soli said:
    A couple things of note:

    • Apple's A10X is a 10nm process while Intel is still at 14nm with Kaby Lake in the new MBPs.
    • Even with the smaller npde process the A-series chips usually have grown in size.
    • Just imagine what Apple could offer if they designed a chip that had the power envelop and TDP of the Intel chips they use in their notebooks, without all the wasted features of Intel's offerings and at a fraction of the price.

    What TSMC calls 10nm and what Intel calls 10nm are not the same thing. TSMC's 10nm is probably somewhere in between Intel's 14nm and Intel's 10nm. 

    But that's a small point.

    Apple's windstorm cores are amazing. I have a new iPad Pro 12.9" and it really is super speedy. But while I really do like it, I wish my Mac could benefit from Apple's CPU design team. 
    Solirich gregorycornchipTomEstanthemannetmage
  • Reply 7 of 51
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,527member
    I haven't got a new iPad Pro yet.

    Through Gruber -- discussing iOS 11 AR:

     Look at what Apple itself has done with Flyover mode in iOS 11 Maps. (If you’re running iOS 11 betas, search for the name of a major city, then tap the “Flyover” button. In iOS 10 and earlier, Flyover takes you along a set path, and you can touch the screen to pan or twist the view. In iOS 11 you move your iPhone like a camera, and you can walk around the real world to stride about the on-screen city like Godzilla.)

    ARKit is not laying the foundation for Apple’s future move into augmented reality. ARKit is Apple’s move into augmented reality.


    https://twitter.com/gruber/status/880444659528601601

    AFAICT this video is running on an iPhone with an A9 or earlier APU.

    I've tried it on an iPhone 7 (A9) and an earlier iPad Pro 12" (A9X) running iOS 11.

    It takes a while to download and cache enough 3D map data... 

    But, but when I got it working...  

    Shit, Oh dear!
      I haven't felt this way since I saw my first Apple ][ -- 39 years ago.

    It isn't what it is, today -- it is the future! *

    Imagine the implications --  ad hoc gaming (including war games), history education and medical analysis immediately come to mind...

    Can anyone who has a new iPad with the new A10X chip please try the flyover and and post their opinion?  A video?


    * This is exactly in Apple's wheelhouse -- year after year there will be a demand for smaller, faster, more powerful, less battery-dependent devices and more integrated software capability.
    edited June 2017 radarthekatpatchythepiratecornchip
  • Reply 8 of 51
    slprescottslprescott Posts: 764member

    It takes a while to download and cache enough 3D map data... 

    But, but when I got it working...  

    Shit, Oh dear!
      I haven't felt this way since I saw my first Apple ][ -- 39 years ago.

    It isn't what it is, today -- it is the future! *

    Dick,

    Yours is the opinion I value most on this forum, and your enthusiasm above -- in the context of your lifetime of IT experience -- is very exciting for the future we're all on the cusp of entering.
    radarthekatpatchythepirate
  • Reply 9 of 51
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,345administrator
    sergioz said:
    I am sure  he meant to type in 3MB of L2 cache!
    Yeah, typo. We fixed it, thanks.
  • Reply 10 of 51
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,527member

    It takes a while to download and cache enough 3D map data... 

    But, but when I got it working...  

    Shit, Oh dear!
      I haven't felt this way since I saw my first Apple ][ -- 39 years ago.

    It isn't what it is, today -- it is the future! *

    Dick,

    Yours is the opinion I value most on this forum, and your enthusiasm above -- in the context of your lifetime of IT experience -- is very exciting for the future we're all on the cusp of entering.

    In my lifetime, I've met more than a few people who acted like the world revolved around them...

    Now it does -- for anyone with a newer iPhone or iPad...

    I entered Flyover for San Jose...  I spun and rotated the world around me to see my old home in Saratoga... then took a few steps to get there (could've swiped)... then, I spun again to rotate Cupertino into view...  took a few steps and I was at Apple's new Campus... 

    Now, I'm in Rome, then Madrid... 

    Wherever I go -- the world revolves around  ME!

    Now, how do I take a selfie to prove it???

    patchythepiratemizhoujoekewe
  • Reply 11 of 51
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    People are all saying, those 300 dollar can do what the iPhone can do... well the jokes on them as Apple really turns on the screws as they now custom tune the gpu to their own specs 

    they won't even know ewhat hit them.
    google probably knows but is quite late in wanting to start their own chip design
    cornchip
  • Reply 12 of 51
    tmaytmay Posts: 5,558member

    It takes a while to download and cache enough 3D map data... 

    But, but when I got it working...  

    Shit, Oh dear!
      I haven't felt this way since I saw my first Apple ][ -- 39 years ago.

    It isn't what it is, today -- it is the future! *

    Dick,

    Yours is the opinion I value most on this forum, and your enthusiasm above -- in the context of your lifetime of IT experience -- is very exciting for the future we're all on the cusp of entering.

    In my lifetime, I've met more than a few people who acted like the world revolved around them...

    Now it does -- for anyone with a newer iPhone or iPad...

    I entered Flyover for San Jose...  I spun and rotated the world around me to see my old home in Saratoga... then took a few steps to get there (could've swiped)... then, I spun again to rotate Cupertino into view...  took a few steps and I was at Apple's new Campus... 

    Now, I'm in Rome, then Madrid... 

    Wherever I go -- the world revolves around  ME!

    Now, how do I take a selfie to prove it???

    I would love to have an AR mode that would allow a temporal shift backwards at a particular location so that a person could look back in time. Not sure how you would obtain the data as there was little in the way of photogrammetry in use in most of the U.S. and it was used sparingly for topological mapping. There might be Landsat data going back a few decades that could be repurposed for AR.
    mizhougregoriusmnetmage
  • Reply 13 of 51
    Now, how do I take a selfie to prove it???
    Put it up on a big screen TV via AirPlay then take a selfie standing at front of it !
  • Reply 14 of 51
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    This is certainly a huge advancemment, effectively Apple beat everybody to a sub 14nm process.    Combine that with the demonstrated performance in the new iPads, it becomes obvious that Apple has a huge lead here.  

    Now we just have to imagine what the new iPhone processor will be like.  Im strongly leaning towards Apples new GPU showing up in the chip.  We might even get the same CPU cores as the A10X.    In otherwords i see A10X fore telling a big jump in iPhone SOC tech.  
    netmage
  • Reply 15 of 51
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,527member
    tmay said:

    I would love to have an AR mode that would allow a temporal shift backwards at a particular location so that a person could look back in time. Not sure how you would obtain the data as there was little in the way of photogrammetry in use in most of the U.S. and it was used sparingly for topological mapping. There might be Landsat data going back a few decades that could be repurposed for AR.

    I think this could be done to a certain extent!  If you watch how the Apple Maps 3D image is constructed on a slow connection, you will see, in this order:

    1. a 3D mesh showing the underlying landscape -- river bottoms, lake bottoms, hills mountains, etc.
    2. surface characteristics like rivers and lakes, forests, caves, etc. 
    3. man-made objects like buildings, bridges, tunnels roads, dams, etc.

    Of course you would need to do software-assisted artistic renderings to compensate for man-made and natural changes over time.

    But, I think you could create reasonably-accurate presentations of, say, the battle of Thermopylae:









    edited June 2017
  • Reply 16 of 51
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,527member
    foggyhill said:
    People are all saying, those 300 dollar can do what the iPhone can do... well the jokes on them as Apple really turns on the screws as they now custom tune the gpu to their own specs 

    they won't even know ewhat hit them.
    google probably knows but is quite late in wanting to start their own chip design

    Yep!  When you come to needs that are addressed by exclusive [to Apple] capabilities, cost becomes a non-issue.  

    I read somewhere that VR is like a game app or airplane simulator app -- they handle, and are limited by, situations that the programmer has written into the app.  Whereas AR has no such limitations.

    Supposedly there is an install-base of over a billion iOS devices capable of running iOS 11.  No-one else has that advantage --  and won't be able to match Apple's AR capability for years (if ever).

    And, on the business side, with its AR offerings, Apple is creating an unquenchable thirst for more, better, faster -- that will last for years!


    edited June 2017 cornchip
  • Reply 17 of 51
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,321member
    wizard69 said:
    This is certainly a huge advancemment, effectively Apple beat everybody to a sub 14nm process.  
    There's several mobile devices using a "sub-14nm process", primarily with the Qualcomm 835 10nm chip, like the Samsung S8/S8 Plus, Xiaomi Mi6, HTC U11, OnePlus5 and others. There's also Samsung's 10nm chipset, the Exynos 8895, but that's only used by Sammy themselves at the moment AFAIK. 

    Apple's A10X is the first 10nm from TSMC but not from the industry. It may of course be the better chip tho, no argument from me.  
    edited June 2017
  • Reply 18 of 51
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,527member
    wizard69 said:
    This is certainly a huge advancemment, effectively Apple beat everybody to a sub 14nm process.    Combine that with the demonstrated performance in the new iPads, it becomes obvious that Apple has a huge lead here.  

    Now we just have to imagine what the new iPhone processor will be like.  Im strongly leaning towards Apples new GPU showing up in the chip.  We might even get the same CPU cores as the A10X.    In otherwords i see A10X fore telling a big jump in iPhone SOC tech.  
    Yes!  Could it be that the A10X Fusion and the A11 are variations on a theme -- maybe a semi-annual tick/tock cycle?
      
  • Reply 19 of 51
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,527member

    Now, how do I take a selfie to prove it???
    Put it up on a big screen TV via AirPlay then take a selfie standing at front of it !

    Doesn't work on  current iP7 or older iPad Pro 12".

    The camera appears to be used for motion/depth detection but anything put in front of the camera is not captured.

  • Reply 20 of 51
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,527member

    Ha!  The AR mapping could be used for war games -- and maybe could've saved the Duke of York:

    • Richard, Duke of York (1411–1460), who was defeated at the Battle of Wakefield on 30 December 1460. Richard's army, some 8,000 strong, was awaiting reinforcements at Sandal Castle in Wakefield (the castle was built on top of a Norman motte). He was surrounded by Lancastrian forces some three times that number, but chose to sally forth to fight. Richard died in a pitched battle at Wakefield Green, together with between one third and one half of his army.[4]

    So the Story goes:

    Oh, The grand old Duke of York,
    He had ten thousand men;
    He marched them up to the top of the hill,
    And he marched them down again.

    And when they were up, they were up,
    And when they were down, they were down,
    And when they were only half-way up,
    They were neither up nor down all fucked up!

Sign In or Register to comment.