iPhone XS A12 Bionic chip features 7nm design, next-gen Neural Engine

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 12
In revealing the iPhone XS on Wednesday, Apple also detailed its core processor, the 7-nanometer A12 Bionic, which includes a new iteration of its "Neural Engine" for tasks related to machine learning, such as Face ID and animoji.

Phil Schiller and iPhone Xs


The latest Neural Engine is an eight-core unit, providing "multiprecision" support and a "smart compute system," Apple said during its press event. Whereas the one in the A11 could handle up to 600 billion operations per second, the new one is capable of 5 trillion.

The heart of the chip is a six-core CPU with two performance cores that are up to 15 percent faster than the A11 while consuming 40 percent less power. Four "efficiency" cores, handling lower-intensity tasks, should consume 50 percent less energy.

A12 Bionic capabilities


Apple claims that the four-core GPU in the A12 Bionic is 50 percent faster than the A11 Bionic. The additional speed and technologies support technologies like tessellation, multilayer rendering, and lossless memory compression.

The company is also promising a faster Secure Enclave associated with the new chipset, which is used for tasks like Face ID authentication. When paired with streamlined algorithms in iOS 12, the new hardware should speed up Face ID recognition versus that in the iPhone X.

A12 Bionic can perform 5 trillion calculations per second


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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,374member
    Pretty impressive. Imagine what next year’s chip will be like after a year of bedding down 7mm fabrication.  

    Which begs the question, are they really gonna call it an A13?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 11
    so here's an interesting little factoid -- the A12 has nearly as many transistors (6.9 billion) as a 22 core Xeon Broadwell from Intel (7.2 billion):
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transistor_count#Microprocessors
    jbdragonlolliverjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 11
    Supercomputers in the hand and on the wrist. Apple is engineering fantastic hardware.
    racerhomie3jbdragonlolliverjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 11
    ClarityToSeeClarityToSee Posts: 32unconfirmed, member
    All these transistors on A12 Bionic, yet they can only squeeze in 15% faster performance than previous generation A11?  Something doesn't add up!
    edited September 12
  • Reply 5 of 11
    All these transistors on A12 Bionic, yet they can only squeeze in 15% faster performance than previous generation A11?  Something doesn't add up!

    It adds up perfectly. They also reduced power consumption. And those are the three choices you have: performance increase, power consumption reduced or some combination of both. Apple went with the latter.
    racerhomie3SpamSandwichRayz2016lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 11
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,641member
    blastdoor said:
    so here's an interesting little factoid -- the A12 has nearly as many transistors (6.9 billion) as a 22 core Xeon Broadwell from Intel (7.2 billion):
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transistor_count#Microprocessors
    This is one reason why I believe Apple can do a SoC suitable for laptops and even desktops.   Apples chips design expertise is state of the art.   Beyond that I have to wonder what the real core count is in A12.   We have six application processors but all of those subsystems likely have an embedded processor of some sort.   The enhanced GPU and Neural Engine cores are very significance.

    Honestly I spend most of my Apple time exploring the A series chips as I just love what is baked into these technology wise.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 11
    All these transistors on A12 Bionic, yet they can only squeeze in 15% faster performance than previous generation A11?  Something doesn't add up!

    It adds up perfectly. They also reduced power consumption. And those are the three choices you have: performance increase, power consumption reduced or some combination of both. Apple went with the latter.
    As they continue down the path toward nanoscale computing, I fully expect to see Apple devices in my lifetime which run completely by energy sources previously unheard of, such as body temperature or a combination of solar and kinetic, or the like.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 11
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,641member
    All these transistors on A12 Bionic, yet they can only squeeze in 15% faster performance than previous generation A11?  Something doesn't add up!
    Have you spent any time at all reading up on what the chip is capable of?    I basically called this a couple of weeks ago when I said that Apple will likely focus on the Neural Engine and the GPU's.   Both of these subsystems have gotten significant upgrades.    The GPU's are 50% faster and support new features.   The Neural Engine has seen a massive leap in performance and is now stable enough to be running user ML code.   This mean ML code is no longer loading down the GPU so that 50% speed up is actually a bit better than that for apps using ML technologies.

    In a nut shell Apple spent engineering time on the areas that need it the most.   The GPU needed the boost because Apple first self designed GPU barely beat out previous processors performance wise.   Neural Engine needed the boost because this technology will be critical to Apple future,   Beyond that they seem to have upgraded Neural Engine to the point that they are fine with it running user app code, this is huge!!!!

    For somebody with a handle of "ClarityToSee" you have not looked very closely at what Apple is delivering in A12.   The 15% boost might not seem like much alone but we now have what amounts to a heterogeneous processor with 3 distinct processing subsystems.     So you got code that can run on ARM, Neural Engine and the GPU.   This is the start of great things to come.
    jbdragonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 11
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,641member
    All these transistors on A12 Bionic, yet they can only squeeze in 15% faster performance than previous generation A11?  Something doesn't add up!

    It adds up perfectly. They also reduced power consumption. And those are the three choices you have: performance increase, power consumption reduced or some combination of both. Apple went with the latter.
    Actually they spent much time on new technologies because frankly they are more important than the ARM cores.   The GPU core needed a significant boost to remain competitive and it got it.    The Neural Engine is now available to apps and that subsystem got a massive boost in performance.   Probably the biggest under stated reveal at this dog and pony show was the fact that the Neural Engine can now run  user ML apps.    I've already forgotten how much faster it will be but I believe it was 9 times faster.

    I think what some people are missing here is that 15% is still a big increase on a high performance processor.   However there are other areas that needed the engineering time to keep Apple moving into the future.   The execution environment in the future will be more complex than a simple ARM core running the app.
    jbdragonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 11
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,800member
    I was hoping for a jaw dropping moment during today’s event. These are usually preceded by the infamous “one more thing” lead-in. While there wasn’t a “one more thing” moment the details about the A12 Bionic blew me away. Wow, what an impressive technical achievement that makes me believe that all this talk about an ARM based notebook or desktop is not far fetched at all. If my livelihood was tied up in Intel or AMD the hairs on the back of my neck would be standing on end right about now. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 11
    All these transistors on A12 Bionic, yet they can only squeeze in 15% faster performance than previous generation A11?  Something doesn't add up!
    15% is only for the CPU performance increase but if you watched the keynote, Schiller also mentioned power consumption was reduced by 40% so Apple optimized the CPU for battery consumption.  On top of that the GPU performance is increased by up to 50% and the Neural Engine can process transactions 9X faster than the A11.  The A12 Neural Engine can process 5 Trillion Operations per second.
    watto_cobra
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