Skip to comments.Chip strip reveals 'handmade' Apple A6--Dual-core CPU, three GPUs exposed
Posted on 09/29/2012 7:59:50 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
Electron microscope photos of an Apple A6 processor lifted out of an iPhone 5 confirm the presence of a dual-core ARM CPU within the system-on-a-chip plus a trio of Imagination Technologues PowerVR graphics cores.
The SoC was pulled from the handset by the team at iFixit.com, and the die extracted from its ceramic package and then photographed by Chipworks.
Close-up snaps of the transistors show the part to be fabbed - by Samsung - on a 32nm process using high-K metal gate technology. The SoC 9.70 x 9.97mm die is labelled 'APL0589B01'.
The CPU element's dual-core design is clear: the top half is the mirror image of the bottom. What's interesting is the seeming lack of efficiency by which the CPU's components have been fitted into that segment of the SoC - and, indeed, the wide spacing of the chip's other components - suggests a 'hand made' quality to the layout.
If Apple has eschewed well-established - and used in pretty much every chip design elsewhere - die layout software tools in favour of a more manual layout, it will have gained a performance advantage at the cost of time and money.
The chip package also contains 1GB of low-power DDR 2 memory made by Elpida. ®
BTW...just got my two Stellaris Launchpad (Stella)boards delivered yesterday. These are sweet :-) CortexM4 processor, actually there are two on each board. One is used for the USB programmer/debugger circuit and the other to play with. The two boards were less than 10 dollars total and free Fedex shipping.
Here's a picture I took of them on the workbench at home...it's a large pic as I wanted the guys at Hackaday to get a good looksee.
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‘What’s interesting is the seeming lack of efficiency by which the CPU’s components have been fitted into that segment of the SoC - and, indeed, the wide spacing of the chip’s other components - suggests a ‘hand made’ quality to the layout.’
What a load of pretentious bs.
This writer never came close to laying out an IC.
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You won't want to see what happened to the first iPhone 5 in the Netherlands.
I love those pictures of chips. I’d like to have a series of posters showing the evolution from the 8080-current chips. I’d bet it would be fascinating.
That is a neat little board, and very inexpensive.
It’s just great, I also have 3 of the older MSP430 LaunchPad boards. I usually use AVR or ARM for personal projects but the 430 is pretty sweet.
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