Apple's A5X SoC

Today has been pretty exciting. Not only did we confirm the die size of Apple's A5X SoC (162.94mm^2) but we also found out that it's still built on Samsung's 45nm LP process. Now, courtesy of UBM TechInsights, we have the first annotated floorplan of the A5X (pictured above).

pple's A5 SoC

You can see the two CPU cores (ARM Cortex A9s) as well as the additional two GPU cores (PowerVR SGX543MP4) compared to the A5 (pictured below). Note the increase in DDR interfaces, although it's unclear whether we're looking at 4x16 or 4x32-bit interfaces. It's quite possible that it's the former. Also note that Apple has moved the DDR interfaces next to the GPU cores, compared to the CPU-adjacent design in the A5. It's clear who is the biggest bandwidth consumer in this chip.



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  • MonkeyPaw - Friday, March 16, 2012 - link

    Maybe there's more than one reason Apple is just calling this "iPad" and not iPad 3. It seems like this current model is a stop-gap between iPad 2 and a properly shrunken A5X. I mean, that's a massive APU for a low power device. I could only imagine how much better it could be once properly reduced to 28nm. They could likely raise the clocks and still get better battery life. That, or just go back to the thinness and weight of iPad 2.

    No matter. I just bought an Iconia A500 and love it. Sure, it's a little heavy, but it has a USB2.0 port on it. I plugged in a wireless keyboard+trackpad and it just started working! Now that's a tablet! :)
  • name99 - Friday, March 16, 2012 - link

    You can plug a USB keyboard into the iPad camera kit (on sale at any Apple store) if for some reason you hate the idea of using a bluetooth keyboard.
    I've no idea if a plugged in trackpad would work, though my guess is not.
  • UpSpin - Saturday, March 17, 2012 - link

    I don't understand why people think that Apple had to increase the battery because of the second GPU. It's wrong!
    Apple had to increase the battery capacity because of the higher resolution display, which results in smaller pixels, which results in worse light transmittance, which requires a much brighter backlight, at least an additional LED row, together with brighter LEDs in general. So the display backlight consumes probably four times the power the old one did. And because the LED backlight is and ever will be the most power hungry peripheral in a smartphone/tablet, it's the thing which made Apple switch to such a huge battery.
  • Steelbom - Saturday, March 17, 2012 - link

    The display is definitely a likely component, but so are the GPUs. They've added two more, and overall the GPUs will be used more often to drive four times the pixels. It all adds up. Reply
  • XBoxLPU - Monday, March 19, 2012 - link

    They had to increase the battery because of the LTE chip Reply
  • doobydoo - Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - link

    They had to increase the battery life for the GPU's, the higher resolution screen, AND the LTE chip. Reply
  • macs - Saturday, March 17, 2012 - link

    Probably this is too big for the next iPhone. I still hope for an A6 - Cortex A15 this fall... Reply
  • The Ugly Truth - Saturday, March 17, 2012 - link

    Freedom of expression and freedom to have an online life outside of AT forums reach is all we ask.

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