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Apple Praised for Bold Move With A6 Processor

By - Source: Barron's | B 42 comments

While we have seen images of Apple's A6 processor die, large parts of the core design as well as the interaction of the integrated components remain speculation.

The latest indicator is the most recent release of the Microprocessor Report, in which Linley Gwennap argues that several hundred million dollars of investment are paying off for Apple. The latest A6 processor design is recognized as unique and as a design "that has never been seen before." That indicates a design that is specifically tailored to the needs of the iPhone and the iPad, which makes economic sense at the scale of current iPhone and iPad shipments.

Gwennap notes "that the iPhone 5 could generate $20 billion in revenue" in the Christmas season alone. "So that half a billion dollars [of investment] could be money well spent," he said.

However, Apple appears to be now reaping the fruits of its gutsy move to develop its own microprocessor with the help of acquired companies such as PA Semi in 2008 and Intrinsity in 2010. There was the notion that Apple could never compete with the processor design resources by companies such as Samsung or Intel, but it seems that the company is changing opinions.

 

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  • 23 Hide
    syrious1 , October 19, 2012 10:07 PM
    Quote:
    that in general doubles the performance of the chip in the iPhone 4S


    I would like to see some actual benchmarks, instead of a photo of the die.
  • 14 Hide
    deftonian , October 19, 2012 10:48 PM
    DangiOf course A6 will run faster, that's what embedded systems do, you don't need that much CPU brute force if the system is fully optimized for it, the same way consoles can play games with performance close to computer games ( without AA ) with hardware thats way less powerful


    It's a stretch to say consoles can play games with performance close to computer games... a very big stretch. Computers have such a huge range when it comes to performance so if you mean that consoles comes close to low end computers in regards to gaming, then you're accurate. But mid to higher end PCs will knock the socks off a console.
  • 13 Hide
    eklipz330 , October 19, 2012 10:44 PM
    zwavergnYou do realize the dual-core A6 outperforms some quad-cores like the Nvidia Tegra 3 and Snapdragon S4, which are quad core chips, right?More cores does not mean it's better. A better architecture or design makes the difference. In Apple's case with the A6, they laid it out by hand instead of the usual automated tools and it gave significant performance boosts.
    what are you trying to reason with someone that hates apple? that's like trying to reason with someone that buys nothing BUT apple.

    2 sides of the same coin.
Other Comments
  • 23 Hide
    syrious1 , October 19, 2012 10:07 PM
    Quote:
    that in general doubles the performance of the chip in the iPhone 4S


    I would like to see some actual benchmarks, instead of a photo of the die.
  • 8 Hide
    ttg_Avenged , October 19, 2012 10:10 PM
    Meh. They are not the first, no where near it to make a dual core phone. There is quads 1.6GHz out.. so, yea.

    But still, I could definitely see how much innovation has been created from this, and all that amazing manure iSheep eat & nom on all day.
  • 7 Hide
    lipoly , October 19, 2012 10:10 PM
    syrious1I would like to see some actual benchmarks, instead of a photo of the die.


    Here you go: http://www.anandtech.com/show/6330/the-iphone-5-review
  • 8 Hide
    Dangi , October 19, 2012 10:18 PM
    Of course A6 will run faster, that's what embedded systems do, you don't need that much CPU brute force if the system is fully optimized for it, the same way consoles can play games with performance close to computer games ( without AA ) with hardware thats way less powerful
  • -6 Hide
    zwavergn , October 19, 2012 10:30 PM
    ttg_avengedMeh. They are not the first, no where near it to make a dual core phone. There is quads 1.6GHz out.. so, yea. But still, I could definitely see how much innovation has been created from this, and all that amazing manure iSheep eat & nom on all day.


    You do realize the dual-core A6 outperforms some quad-cores like the Nvidia Tegra 3 and Snapdragon S4, which are quad core chips, right?

    More cores does not mean it's better. A better architecture or design makes the difference. In Apple's case with the A6, they laid it out by hand instead of the usual automated tools and it gave significant performance boosts.
  • 13 Hide
    eklipz330 , October 19, 2012 10:44 PM
    zwavergnYou do realize the dual-core A6 outperforms some quad-cores like the Nvidia Tegra 3 and Snapdragon S4, which are quad core chips, right?More cores does not mean it's better. A better architecture or design makes the difference. In Apple's case with the A6, they laid it out by hand instead of the usual automated tools and it gave significant performance boosts.
    what are you trying to reason with someone that hates apple? that's like trying to reason with someone that buys nothing BUT apple.

    2 sides of the same coin.
  • 14 Hide
    deftonian , October 19, 2012 10:48 PM
    DangiOf course A6 will run faster, that's what embedded systems do, you don't need that much CPU brute force if the system is fully optimized for it, the same way consoles can play games with performance close to computer games ( without AA ) with hardware thats way less powerful


    It's a stretch to say consoles can play games with performance close to computer games... a very big stretch. Computers have such a huge range when it comes to performance so if you mean that consoles comes close to low end computers in regards to gaming, then you're accurate. But mid to higher end PCs will knock the socks off a console.
  • 7 Hide
    Anonymous , October 19, 2012 11:40 PM
    Apple could make another bold move by contracting with AMD for a custom APU for Apple laptops! I am sure they would have better graphics the the Intel HD4000!
  • -7 Hide
    bigdragon , October 20, 2012 12:02 AM
    Move on over, Intel. Here comes Apple. I expect this to become a trend. Could we see Apple move away from x86 and roll their own chips for laptops and desktops in 5 years? It's now possible especially as iOS continues to gain steam. It's not like they've always been x86. I would be quite interested in seeing Wintel vs Armple. The competition that would bring would help boost computing I think.
  • -6 Hide
    IQ11110002 , October 20, 2012 12:14 AM
    "You do realize the dual-core A6 outperforms some quad-cores like the Nvidia Tegra 3 and Snapdragon S4, which are quad core chips, right?"

    Of course it's fast on such a puny little screen, sigh..... All that performance that you can't actually see. lol
    I'll take the slightly slower(unnoticable in real world) phone with larger screen thanks, At least it will be of use!
  • 9 Hide
    ericburnby , October 20, 2012 1:02 AM
    ^ Shows how much you know. They run offscreen 1080P benchmarks to test the GPU independently of the screen res and the A6 kicks everyone else to the curb. The newest S4 Pro with Adreno 320 can match the A6 but needs twice the cores and higher clock to do so.

    I thought Tom's was a site where people discussed hardware like CPU's? All of a sudden Apple has the best mobile SoC and suddenly everyone at Tom's has forgotten everything they supposedly learned over the years watching AMD and Intel battle.
  • 1 Hide
    nieur , October 20, 2012 1:26 AM
    if apple thinking of bringing their cpu on desktop it will simply fail. It requires years of research and development.
  • 5 Hide
    christarp , October 20, 2012 1:37 AM
    ericburnby^ Shows how much you know. They run offscreen 1080P benchmarks to test the GPU independently of the screen res and the A6 kicks everyone else to the curb. The newest S4 Pro with Adreno 320 can match the A6 but needs twice the cores and higher clock to do so.I thought Tom's was a site where people discussed hardware like CPU's? All of a sudden Apple has the best mobile SoC and suddenly everyone at Tom's has forgotten everything they supposedly learned over the years watching AMD and Intel battle.


    b..but apple is bad!! This is seriously the argument everyone on this site uses.
  • -1 Hide
    Kami3k , October 20, 2012 2:29 AM
    The CPU isn't even fully their design, not impressed.
  • 6 Hide
    Dupontrocks11 , October 20, 2012 2:38 AM
    Apple always gets praise. Apple takes middle line technology and adds a twist. Then they market the hell out of their iProduct to uninformed consumers, and sue anyone who gets in their way. No matter what they say, Apple isn't concerned about the advancement of technology for the industry, they are concerned with your MONEY.
  • 1 Hide
    vigorvermin , October 20, 2012 2:59 AM
    deftonianIt's a stretch to say consoles can play games with performance close to computer games... a very big stretch. Computers have such a huge range when it comes to performance so if you mean that consoles comes close to low end computers in regards to gaming, then you're accurate. But mid to higher end PCs will knock the socks off a console.


    His point was that it runs better then the same spec hardware in a computer environment. Put console parts into a computer and you'll get way worse looking games then on the console.
  • 3 Hide
    usbgtx550 , October 20, 2012 3:01 AM
    At first I thought, "about time Apple used an AMD processor in their notebooks."
    Open article, disappointment.
  • 3 Hide
    Bloob , October 20, 2012 4:40 AM
    zwavergnYou do realize the dual-core A6 outperforms some quad-cores like the Nvidia Tegra 3 and Snapdragon S4, which are quad core chips, right?More cores does not mean it's better. A better architecture or design makes the difference. In Apple's case with the A6, they laid it out by hand instead of the usual automated tools and it gave significant performance boosts.

    A6 (and their chip.design in general) is actually one of the few praise-worthy things about Apple, especially because they can optimize both the hw and sw to work together to increase efficiency. While A6 outperforms Tegra3 in lightly threaded applications ( S4 Plus does too ), I've seen no evidence of it beating S4 Pro in highly threaded applications (/multitasking), at least the Exynos chip in the int. GS3 version beats A6 in usual benchamarks ( and supposedly, battery life ).
  • 9 Hide
    Cazalan , October 20, 2012 5:04 AM
    Nvidia needs to get that Tegra4 out sooner.

    Kudos to Apple for designing something other than a thin case with rounded corners.
  • 4 Hide
    bluekoala , October 20, 2012 6:12 AM
    As much as I don't like Apple, this is pretty impressive.
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