New iPad’s A5x Processor Holds Few Surprises Despite Enormous Size
Initial teardowns of the new iPad whetted many a chip nerd’s appetite when they revealed that the A5x chip inside was truly gigantic. At nearly 13x13mm, it is significantly larger than the A5, which was itself already kind of a hefty bugger.
Now some clear images (from Chipworks) have been taken of the die itself (some rather rough ones with initial “floorplans” showed up earlier over the weekend) and it’s becoming more and more clear that the A5x is a stopgap measure: a last-generation product that’s overcompensating, if you will, with a jumbo-sized GPU.
The A5x is manufactured with a Samsung 45nm process, a size Intel and AMD were using back in 2008. Nowadays all the cool kids are using 22nm. That means modern chips can fit around four times as many transistors and cells onto a piece of silicon than the technology used to create the A5x. It’s kind of ironic, since Apple has focused so much on getting four times the pixels into its displays.