Cupertino giant company Apple has just launched its new top-performing smartphone, the iPhone 5. We reported here about the development history of this new chip, but now the first clear architecture details have apparently surfaced the internet.
The new SoC that’s powering the iPhone 5 has been baptized by Apple with the name A6 and there’s no clear information about the manufacturing technology.
Many still believe that the chip is also being manufactured in Samsung’s 32nm technology, but there are chances that Apple may have switched FABs, as we reported here.
Initially, industry insiders assumed Apple would go for a full ARM Cortex A15 design, but as it later turned out, the company has designed a custom processor that seems to be mainly a Cortex A9 derivative, with some Cortex A15 features.
We should note that ARM’s Cortex A15 was primarily designed for server developers such as Qualcomm, which has not completely implemented the A15 project into its mobile chips, but went for a partial implementation with some of the features omitted.
Apple has apparently opted for a similar approach and today we have confirmation on one main iGPU characteristic.
Hardware experts at Anadtech.com have managed to get their hands on the first microscope pictures of the processor die, showing the insides of the new chip.
One interesting aspect is the fact that the integrated graphics processing unit (iGPU) is a 3-core design, which is rarely seen in the industry.
The company’s previous iGPU is a PowerVR SGX543MP4, which is a 4-core design that runs the units at 200 Mhz.
Now, it seems that Apple has decided the MP4 variant was a little too much for a mobile phone and that a 3-core design with a bit higher frequency is enough.
Moreover, the chip has a dual-channel memory controller and uses a very fast 1066 MHZ memory.