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New iPad 2 and Apple TV Pack Tweaked A5 Chip on 32nm

By - Source: Chipworks | B 7 comments

The A5X isn't the only new chip that Apple introduced this year.

When the new iPad was launched last month, people barely even noticed that the price of the iPad 2 had been dropped by $100. After all, when there's a shiny new tablet to obsess over, why would anyone want to spend time looking at a product that's already over a year old, price drop or not? However, it seems the iPad 2 didn't go untouched when Apple brought out the iPad 3 and there was something new to be seen in the iPad 2.

According to Chipworks, the iPad 3's A5X processor was not the only new chip from Cupertino. Apparently, the new Apple TV and the iPad 2 also got an updated version of the A5. It may not have the quad-core graphics of the A5X but it is a dual-core chip, despite Apple's insistence that Apple TV runs on a single core processor.

"Sometimes, when we get inside technology, we find that things are not always what they are supposed to be," said the folks at Chipworks. "The new A5 processor die is not a single core processor, but contains a dual core processor.  Either Apple is only utilizing one core or they are binning parts."

Chipworks also discovered that the new generation of A5 processor is manufactured on a different process than the older generation of A5 chips. The older A5s were manufactured on Samsung's 45nm process while the chip now found in the new Apple TV and the $399 iPad 2 is manufactured on Sammy's 32nm process, which would improve performance and reduce power consumption.

Apple hasn't yet commented on the use of this new variation of the A5 chip and it's unlikely we'll hear anything from Cupertino on the subject, but it does introduce new questions when it comes to speculating about the chip and manufacturing process we'll see in the iPhone 5.

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  • 1 Hide
    joytech22 , April 13, 2012 12:50 PM
    Quote:
    The older A5s were manufactured on Samsung's 45nm process while the chip now found in the new Apple TV and the $399 iPad 2 is manufactured on Sammy's 32nm process


    When I read that I kinda assumed "Sammy's" was not Samsung, and was a separate chip manufacturer.
    I realised it isn't after a while..
  • 6 Hide
    g00fysmiley , April 13, 2012 12:59 PM
    not a bad idea, binn chips, ones with a dead core, or limited use on second core to the old stuff, with the 32nm shrink it'll likely do better on power esp if they disable one core which being apple they likely do. better than just wasting the silicon, not a fan of apple but this is a good buisness move on their part
  • 4 Hide
    Zingam_Duo , April 13, 2012 3:26 PM
    Quote:
    now found in the new Apple TV and the $399 iPad 2 is manufactured on Sammy's 32nm process, which would improve performance and reduce power consumption.


    no it doesn't anything but reduced cost to Apple

    make benchmarks not assumptions!
  • Display all 7 comments.
  • 3 Hide
    eddieroolz , April 13, 2012 5:31 PM
    frozonicSoC companies should start making them in 22nm process, i dont know why the hell they keep using 40nm


    Process maturity. 40nm is almost guaranteed to give high yields while 22nm is a lot more problem-prone.
  • 0 Hide
    getreal , April 13, 2012 11:47 PM
    APPLE JUST KEEPS ON PUSHING THE TECHNOLOGY ENVELOPE!
  • 0 Hide
    tomfreak , April 14, 2012 3:07 AM
    I am actually holding off my 5yrs old phone just for the 28/22nm chips 40nm may have in mature, but it has been here tooo long, due to TSMC delay/cancelling the 32nm. The significant performance/watt improvement make in GPU just prove that there is a huge diff between 40nm vs 28nm despite 28nm being still new.
  • 0 Hide
    Vladislaus , April 14, 2012 7:57 AM
    getrealAPPLE JUST KEEPS ON PUSHING THE TECHNOLOGY ENVELOPE!

    Funny because this chip is built using Samsung's 32nm High-K + Metal Gate process. Also this certainly isn't the first chip built using a 32nm process. For example Sandy Bridge is built using a 32nm process, Ivy Bridge will use a 22nm process.