New iPad : Apple A5X Processor Analysed, 32nm Process?

Apple has a new processor on the block, the A5X, which is an evolution rather than radical change from the A5. A picture of the logic board containing the chip (check this picture from a Chinese website called WeiPhone).

The same markings we found out on the A5X chips from the presentation (51A009P3 1146 APL5498 34350533) can be found on the leaked chip as well. These correspond to the part number S5L8945X.

It is likely that Apple has stuck to the same specification for the CPU; a dual core Cortex A9 based system on chip with a clock speed of up to 1GHz and support for ARM's NEON SIMD extension and 1MB L2 cache.

The big difference is that there are FOUR GPU cores instead of two. Now according to a number of analysis (Chipworks, UBMInsights), the A5 die size is more than twice that of the A4; 10.1mm by 12.1mm compared to 7.3mm by 7.3mm.

Doubling the number of GPU cores with the amount of onboard memory rumoured to have increased to 1GB mean that the core size is likely to shoot up significantly perhaps by as much as 50 per cent.

Which means that a 45nm process would not be cost effective; Samsung has already demoed 32nm quad core Exynos SoC and we expect Apple to insist with Samsung - its foundry partner - on having that manufacturing process in order to reduce the die size (and the cost) and improve performance and power consumption.

This article is part of a series where we look at multiple aspects of the new iPad including the processor, the GPU, the screen, the 4G connectivity, the iSight camera, design and battery life. There's also a nifty comparison between the new iPad and the iPad 2.

You can read through our liveblog of the event, one which lasted nearly 90 minutes and also saw the launch of a new Apple TV and the iPhoto App plus a number of major updates.