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Photo Shows Possible iPad 3 CPU/GPU as 'A5X' System on Chip

By - Source: via MacRumors | B 26 comments

It looks like the iPad 3 will not be getting the brand new A6 chip we thought it would.

With February drawing to a close, the iPad 3 rumors are starting to get a little more interesting. Last week we had a repair shop cobble together some rumored parts only to discover they fit together perfectly. This week, we've got a photo of what purports to be an iPad 3 logic board.

The photo you see below comes by way of Chinese site WeiPhone, and is supposedly a photo of the iPad 3's logic board. Casting our salt aside for a moment and assuming this is genuine, this photo shows that the iPad 3 won't have that Apple A6 SoC we've been speculating about for the last couple of months. Nope, the iPad 3 will apparently be based on a chip called the A5X, which is presumably a jazzed up version of the A5 that currently powers the iPad 2. As you can see in the photo, the chip in question carries a date code of "1146." This means it was manufactured in week 46 of 2011 (mid-November).

So, we know when this was produced, but we don't know what about this SoC is different to the regular A5. Apple could have kept the same CPU but upped the graphics, for example, which would make sense considering the retina quality display the iPad 3 is rumored to have. Either way, with a launch date scheduled for some time in March, we don't have long to wait.

Though it's disappointing to learn the iPad 3 may not be getting a completely new SoC, it shouldn't really be all that surprising. First of all, this is Apple, a company that is known for tweaking existing products as opposed to releasing something completely new each year. You might also remember back at the beginning of February when leaked photos suggested the CPU powering the iPad 3 would carry the model number S5L8945X. Considering the iPad 1's single-core (A4 S5L8930X) and the dual-core A5 (S5L8940X) had a difference of 10 in their model numbers while the new CPU represents only a difference of five when compared to the A5, it sort of makes sense to hear this new chip might not be a full upgrade.

Other rumored specs for the iPad 3 are a retina display, support for 4G LTE, and an improved camera. The last we heard, the rumor mill had put the launch event on March 7, which is a Wednesday (typical of iPad events) and just two weeks away.

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Top Comments
  • 17 Hide
    grantmcconnaughey , February 21, 2012 4:04 PM
    A couple of thoughts:

    First off, as soon as you call Apple "Crapple" you immediately lose all credibility.

    Second off, I really don't see a need for Quad Core right now. If they would only be implementing it to say "look at us, we have quad core" then they definitely don't need it! Consumers don't give a damn about how many cores something has or GHz or any of that nonsense. Most of them don't even understand what that means. What they want is for the product to work great, run smoothly, and do what they want it to do. If Apple can up the graphics, keep a dual core processor, and it still runs completely smoothly, then what's the point of going quad core?

    Thirdly (is that a word?...), to suggest that Apple going "retina display" with this new iPad isn't going to be "anything magical...hardware wise" is also silly. What other company has anything anything with a display that is 2048 x 1536, especially on a screen that isn't even 10 inches big! If they do pull that off, then THAT, my friends, will be "magical."

    No matter what happens, it'll sure be fun to watch.

    -(From an Apple AND Windows AND Droid AND Blackberry fan, and overall technology lover.)
Other Comments
  • 9 Hide
    EDVINASM , February 21, 2012 2:20 PM
    Why change it if it ain't broke :)  In a way I do agree with Apple in terms of tweaking, after all the iPad price on launch day expected to stay the same as previous one. With minor improvements it's realistic to expect that. I am not Apple fan and don't currently own any of their goods however, I do admire them for implementing iOS across their products and the simplicity of use.
  • -7 Hide
    rangas , February 21, 2012 2:21 PM
    more news at 11
  • 7 Hide
    billybobser , February 21, 2012 2:35 PM
    *Assuming this is real for a second*

    I wonder why there is such coverage of what is only another iteration of a product, and breaks no ground at all and at best listens to it's consumers on the issues reported.

    I also sincerely doubt anything magical is going to happen hardware wise, when happen are hardly technological leaders for hardware.
  • -5 Hide
    neon871 , February 21, 2012 3:05 PM
    Qaud core? nope, Asus still ahead!
  • 17 Hide
    grantmcconnaughey , February 21, 2012 4:04 PM
    A couple of thoughts:

    First off, as soon as you call Apple "Crapple" you immediately lose all credibility.

    Second off, I really don't see a need for Quad Core right now. If they would only be implementing it to say "look at us, we have quad core" then they definitely don't need it! Consumers don't give a damn about how many cores something has or GHz or any of that nonsense. Most of them don't even understand what that means. What they want is for the product to work great, run smoothly, and do what they want it to do. If Apple can up the graphics, keep a dual core processor, and it still runs completely smoothly, then what's the point of going quad core?

    Thirdly (is that a word?...), to suggest that Apple going "retina display" with this new iPad isn't going to be "anything magical...hardware wise" is also silly. What other company has anything anything with a display that is 2048 x 1536, especially on a screen that isn't even 10 inches big! If they do pull that off, then THAT, my friends, will be "magical."

    No matter what happens, it'll sure be fun to watch.

    -(From an Apple AND Windows AND Droid AND Blackberry fan, and overall technology lover.)
  • -1 Hide
    jn77 , February 21, 2012 4:05 PM
    wonder how hard it would be for someone that knows how to remove the 32gb memory chips on that board and replace them with 2 64gb memory chips....... that is still half of the 256gb I would want on an ipad 3 if I were to buy one.
  • -6 Hide
    bcpaul , February 21, 2012 4:41 PM
    oh wow...oh wow...oh wow...
  • -1 Hide
    jaber2 , February 21, 2012 4:58 PM
    I don't see a reason why should Apple work so hard, reading reviews here and other sites the iPad 1 is still better than anything new out there, they have left everyone in dust for such a long time competition can only get ahead by copying everything Apple does, no wonder Apple is constantly sues everyone for stealing thier technology.
  • -1 Hide
    freggo , February 21, 2012 5:15 PM
    THS ... Toms Hardware Speculation...

  • -3 Hide
    Assmar , February 21, 2012 5:50 PM
    Probably not as cool as the old A7X...
  • -6 Hide
    tsmatthx2 , February 21, 2012 5:58 PM
    Proven fact: 4 cores at 1.2ghz, is 200% faster, then 2 cores at 1.2ghz......If 2 cores at 1.2ghz can do it smoothly and blah blah whatever you said.....think about what 4 cores can do......that's right, twice as much more. Don't ever say there isn't a need for a newer technology, "right now" lol....that has been proven to be a dumb thing for anyone to think or say for the past 30-40 years....oh and btw, think how much more cpu power you'll need with double and triple the screen resolution.....lol. '

    P.S. Anyone who says they don't need a quadcore is jealous they don't have a quadcore :) , 6 core, 8core, etc.
  • 8 Hide
    theabsinthehare , February 21, 2012 6:17 PM
    tsmatthx2Proven fact: 4 cores at 1.2ghz, is 200% faster, then 2 cores at 1.2ghz......If 2 cores at 1.2ghz can do it smoothly and blah blah whatever you said.....think about what 4 cores can do......that's right, twice as much more. Don't ever say there isn't a need for a newer technology, "right now" lol....that has been proven to be a dumb thing for anyone to think or say for the past 30-40 years....oh and btw, think how much more cpu power you'll need with double and triple the screen resolution.....lol. 'P.S. Anyone who says they don't need a quadcore is jealous they don't have a quadcore , 6 core, 8core, etc.


    That's not exactly how it works...
    Quad cores, even with the most optimized for parallel processing software, still don't reach twice the performance of a dual core. They're usually slightly above 1.5x, and for unoptimized software, they offer almost no improvement at all.

    http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2006/08/quad-core-desktops-and-diminishing-returns.html
  • 6 Hide
    ap3x , February 21, 2012 6:18 PM
    grantmcconnaugheyA couple of thoughts:First off, as soon as you call Apple "Crapple" you immediately lose all credibility. Second off, I really don't see a need for Quad Core right now. If they would only be implementing it to say "look at us, we have quad core" then they definitely don't need it! Consumers don't give a damn about how many cores something has or GHz or any of that nonsense. Most of them don't even understand what that means. What they want is for the product to work great, run smoothly, and do what they want it to do. If Apple can up the graphics, keep a dual core processor, and it still runs completely smoothly, then what's the point of going quad core?Thirdly (is that a word?...), to suggest that Apple going "retina display" with this new iPad isn't going to be "anything magical...hardware wise" is also silly. What other company has anything anything with a display that is 2048 x 1536, especially on a screen that isn't even 10 inches big! If they do pull that off, then THAT, my friends, will be "magical."No matter what happens, it'll sure be fun to watch.-(From an Apple AND Windows AND Droid AND Blackberry fan, and overall technology lover.)


    Agreed. nothing magical about hardware, and no one really cares. It is the software that uses it that makes the difference. Example, Retina display... Great but what is the use if you don't have the hi resolution icons and other software that makes use of it. You can put a quad core processor but if their is no visual benefit or functional benefit to it no one will even think about it. Apple does not release the same software on different hardware like many of it's competitors. Anytime there is a new product released with new hardware with new software in the form of Applications, or integrated applications, or software features that make use of the new hardware to differentiate the device not only from it's competitors but from it's previous generation. That is the only way they can have a yearly refresh cycle and consistently get current customers to purchase again along with those net new customers. Like them or not, they have done a good job with that.

    For me personally, I have held off of purchasing a IPad precisely because I was waiting for a Retina display. I currently have a HP Touchpad that is virtually useless because of the application support and the performance (although some updates have improved the performance). There is no full non alpha release of Cyanogenmod for it so it is now delegated to Angry Birds duty for my 3 year old.
  • 7 Hide
    ap3x , February 21, 2012 6:22 PM
    tsmatthx2Proven fact: 4 cores at 1.2ghz, is 200% faster, then 2 cores at 1.2ghz......If 2 cores at 1.2ghz can do it smoothly and blah blah whatever you said.....think about what 4 cores can do......that's right, twice as much more. Don't ever say there isn't a need for a newer technology, "right now" lol....that has been proven to be a dumb thing for anyone to think or say for the past 30-40 years....oh and btw, think how much more cpu power you'll need with double and triple the screen resolution.....lol. 'P.S. Anyone who says they don't need a quadcore is jealous they don't have a quadcore , 6 core, 8core, etc.


    More capability does not equal more productivity bro. Applications are written to provide a user with a certain experience in the application. There is in most applications a point of diminishing returns as it relates to resource utilization. IOS is an incredible efficient OS and runs smooth as butter on dual cores. Quad Cores is not going to make it smoother but if there is an application that is CPU intensive enough to justify it I am sure it would be included into the package. Right now, there is not many applications on this type of device that actually even use Quad core. Hell, there is not many applications even on a PC that use all 4 cores.
  • -3 Hide
    nebun , February 21, 2012 6:25 PM
    now that steve is dead apple's R&D has come to stand still....what a shame
  • 6 Hide
    theabsinthehare , February 21, 2012 6:28 PM
    ap3xMore capability does not equal more productivity bro. Applications are written to provide a user with a certain experience in the application. There is in most applications a point of diminishing returns as it relates to resource utilization. IOS is an incredible efficient OS and runs smooth as butter on dual cores. Quad Cores is not going to make it smoother but if there is an application that is CPU intensive enough to justify it I am sure it would be included into the package. Right now, there is not many applications on this type of device that actually even use Quad core. Hell, there is not many applications even on a PC that use all 4 cores.


    However, he does prove a point, albeit a moronic one: People who don't understand technology will gladly hand over their money for what appears to be an upgrade just because it has a bigger number. That alone is enough for a company to throw the upgrade in, because even if it doesn't actually improve performance, they'll make more sales.

    As they say, a fool and his money are soon parted.
  • -2 Hide
    chicofehr , February 21, 2012 7:31 PM
    At the end of the day, its an Apple. I will buy it as soon as someone puts out a hack to allow me to run Android on it. Maybe even Windows 8 for that matter. I hope someone makes Apple mad by doing that. I would be so happy to see Windows on an Apple product. Not sure why it can't be done as its really no different inside from other products. Its made by Foxconn like everything else in the world. I guess the Holy Layers at apple are too scary.
  • -1 Hide
    chicofehr , February 21, 2012 7:33 PM
    I meant 'Lawyers' before someone tries to correct me :p 
  • 2 Hide
    ap3x , February 21, 2012 7:48 PM
    chicofehrAt the end of the day, its an Apple. I will buy it as soon as someone puts out a hack to allow me to run Android on it. Maybe even Windows 8 for that matter. I hope someone makes Apple mad by doing that. I would be so happy to see Windows on an Apple product. Not sure why it can't be done as its really no different inside from other products. Its made by Foxconn like everything else in the world. I guess the Holy Layers at apple are too scary.


    You can do that today on all of their computers. Windows actually runs very well on Apple hardware. Not sure why anyone would do it on a device like a IPad. The solution is really solid. I have seen Adroid running on a IPhone though.
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