iFixit, Chipworks tear down the iPad chip
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

iFixit, Chipworks tear down the iPad chip

Deconstructing processors like the A4 usually happens behind the closed doors of only a handful of companies. However, iFixit and Chipworks have teamed up to bring us a closer look at how semiconductor teardowns are conducted, as well as a peak inside the iPad's A4 chip. Here's part of what they found:

° The A4 package has three layers: two layers of RAM (Samsung K4X1G323PE), and one layer containing the actual microprocessor.

° This Package-on-Package construction gives Apple the flexibility to source the RAM from any manufacturer they want; they're not locked into Samsung.

° It's clear from both hardware and software that this is a single core processor, so it must be the ARM Cortex A8, and NOT the rumored multicore A9.

° iFixit and Chipworks don't expect to find any markings from PA Semi, Apple's recent acquisition, but it's safe to assume they played a major role in designing this package.

°  Every iPhone processor that we have dissected has had a Samsung part number on the processor die. The investigators haven't found any such Samsung markings on the A4 (outside of the DRAM), perhaps the clearest sign to date that Apple is now in firm control of their semiconductor design.

° Software benchmarks indicate that the A4 has the same PowerVR SGX 535 GPU as the iPhone 3GS, but verifying this via hardware analysis is quite difficult. If this is true, and it likely is, graphics performance on the iPad is fairly poor relative to the screen size.

° There's nothing revolutionary here. In fact, the A4 is quite similar to the Samsung processor Apple uses in the iPhone. The primary focus of this design was minimizing power consumption and cost.

iFixIt and Chipworks also identified several more manufacturers, including Linear Technologies, Intersil, ST Micro, NXP, Cirrus Logic, Texas Instruments, and Broadcom. More information on these parts is toward the end of the teardown.

You can find the A4 teardown at http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/A4-Processor-Teardown/2204/1 . Also, the Chipworks lab is still running full-tilt analyzing the iPad, and they will be updating their site as they discover more; to keep abreast of developments, go to http://www.chipworks.com/Apple-iPAD-Teardown.aspx .

 
AAPL
$93.24
Apple Inc.
-0.95
GOOG
$701.43
Alphabet Inc.
+5.73
MSFT
$49.94
Microsoft Corporation
+0.07
MacNews Search:
Community Search:
view counter

view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter

Black Hole Joyrider (Games)
Black Hole Joyrider 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Guide your spacecraft through the gravity well of a powerful black hole using only your retro-thrusters and dwindling fuel reserves. Black Hole Joyrider | Read more »
My Koi (Games)
My Koi 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: My Koi is a beautiful and relaxing fish pond app. Customise and name each fish. Feed them daily. Watch them grow. Collect new fish. Escape and relax. COLLECT. GROW. NURTURE. ESCAPE.*********" The most beautiful app I've ever seen... | Read more »
Never Gone (Games)
Never Gone 1.0.2 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.2 (iTunes) Description: ###IMPPORTANT### Never Gone's HD art resources require devices with more than 1GB RAM, so please note that iPhone 4/4s, iPad 2/mini, iPod Touch 5 or older devices are NOT supported."From Chinese developer HippieGame, this is... | Read more »
INKS. (Games)
INKS. 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: From the makers of BAFTA-winning Lumino City comes INKS. INKS updates pinball for a new generation. It combines the joy of pinball with skilful tactical challenges, and allows you to create wondrous works of art as the ball smashes... | Read more »
How to maximise your profits in Bakery B...
Running a bakery can be an expensive venture. You’ll need to continuously upgrade your oven, your kitchen supplies, and even your ingredients to keep customers happy. Most of these renovations in Bakery Blitz cost a pretty penny, but we have a few tricks up our sleeves to help you rake in the virtual wealth. [Read more] | Read more »
How to manage your time in Bakery Blitz
It can be tricky, especially when you risk burning your kitchen to the ground if you forget a cake in the oven, so make sure to use these time management tricks to keep your bakery running smoothly. Don’t collect the money right away [Read more] | Read more »
Model 15 (Music)
Model 15 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Music Price: $29.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: The Moog Model 15 App is the first Moog modular synthesizer and synthesis educational tool created exclusively for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.* The Model 15 App requires iOS version 9.3 or later to work. * | Read more »
How to deal with wind in Angry Birds Act...
Angry Birds Action! is a physics-based puzzler in which you're tasked with dragging and launching birds around an obstacle-littered field to achieve a set objective. It's simple enough at first, but when wind gets introduced things can get pretty tricky. Here are some tips to deal with wind-based obstacles. [Read more] | Read more »
How to get three stars in every level of...
Angry Birds Action! is, essentially, a pinball-style take on the pull-and-fling action of the original games. When you first boot it up, you'll likely be wondering exactly what it is you have to do to get a good score. Well, never fear as 148Apps is here to walk you through it, and provide a few tips and tricks to help you get three stars in every... | Read more »
The beginner's guide to Warbits
Warbits is a turn-based strategy that's clearly inspired by Nintendo's Advance Wars series. Since turn-based strategy games can be kind of tricky to dive into, see below for a few tips to help you in the beginning. Positioning is crucial [Read more] | Read more »
All contents are Copyright 1984-2010 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.