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
$126.00
Apple Inc.
-0.44
GOOG
$522.86
Google Inc.
-0.54
MSFT
$44.39
Microsoft Corporation
-0.01
MacNews Search:
Community Search:
view counter

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

This Week at 148Apps: June 29-July 3, 20...
Into July With 148Apps How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Take a look at what we've... | Read more »
Sonic Runners Guide
Despite its flaws, Sonic Runners' platforming action is actually quite fun. Though it can be a little more complicated than old-school Sonic games. Here's how to make sure you're up to speed when jumping in. [Read more] | Read more »
Rage of Bahamut is Giving Almost All of...
The App Store isn't what it used to be back in 2012, so it's not unexpected to see some games changing their structures with the times. Now we can add Rage of Bahamut to that list with the recent announcement that the game is severely cutting back on the number of events it holds. | Read more »
Adventures of Pip (Games)
Adventures of Pip 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ** ONE WEEK ONLY — 66% OFF! ***“Adventures of Pip is a delightful little platformer full of charm, challenge and impeccable level design.”4/5 – Hardcore Gamer"A retro platformer that sets itself apart with the protagonist’s... | Read more »
Divide By Sheep - Tips, Tricks, and Stre...
Who would have thought splitting up sheep could be so involved? Anyone who’s played Divide by Sheep, that’s who! While we’re not about to give you complete solutions to everything (because that’s just cheating), we will happily give you some primers on how to get started and what to expect. [Read more] | Read more »
NaturalMotion and Zynga Have Started Tea...
An official sequel to 2012's CSR Racing is officially on the way, with Zynga and NaturalMotion releasing a short teaser trailer to get everyone excited. Well, as excited as one can get from a trailer with no gameplay footage, anyway. [Read more] | Read more »
Grab a Friend and Pick up Overkill 3, Be...
Overkill 3 is a pretty enjoyable third-person shooter that was sort of begging for some online multiplayer. Fortunately the begging can stop, because its newest update has added an online co-op mode. [Read more] | Read more »
Scanner Pro's Newest Update Adds Au...
Scanner Pro is one of the most popular document scanning apps on iOS, thanks in no small part to its near-constant updates, I'm sure. Now we're up to update number six, and it adds some pretty handy new features. [Read more] | Read more »
Heroki (Games)
Heroki 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $7.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: CLEAR THE SKIES FOR A NEW HERO!The peaceful sky village of Levantia is in danger! The dastardly Dr. N. Forchin and his accomplice, Vapor, have stolen the Emerix - a powerful amulet and all hope may be lost! Created by Picomy. Published... | Read more »
Wars of the Roses (Games)
Wars of the Roses 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
All contents are Copyright 1984-2010 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.