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MacRumors
Dec 10, 2012, 09:30 AM
http://images.macrumors.com/im/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com/2012/12/10/apple-shifting-to-tsmc-for-a-series-chip-production-earlier-than-expected/)


http://images.macrumors.com/article-new/2012/11/ifixit_a6x-150x150.jpgWhile Apple appears to have been making efforts to diversify its supply chain and move away from courtroom and marketplace foe Samsung, production of one of the company's highest-profile components for its iOS devices remains entrenched at Samsung with the A-series chips.

There have, however, been rumors that Apple is looking into an alternative supplier for its custom ARM-based chips, with several recent claims (http://www.macrumors.com/2012/10/12/apple-reportedly-tapping-tsmc-for-20-nm-quad-core-chips/) suggesting that Apple could switch to TSMC's more efficient 20-nanometer process by late 2013 for introduction in the 2014 generation of iOS devices.

Taipei Times now reports (http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/biz/archives/2012/12/10/2003549765) that Apple's rumored timeline for shifting chip production to TSMC may be accelerating, with Credit Suisse analysts claiming that Apple appears set to make the jump as soon as the second quarter of 2013 using TSMC's 28-nanometer process.The projected timeframe would come "earlier than expected," Manish Nigam, head of the brokerage's non-Japan Asia technology research division, said in note to clients on Friday, citing their recent checks with several equipment suppliers and other companies in Japan, Taiwan and China.

Previously, Credit Suisse said it expected Apple would seek a second source for its chips other than Samsung Electronics Co by either late next year or early 2014.Earlier this year it was reported that both Apple and Qualcomm had placed bids to try to secure exclusive access (http://www.macrumors.com/2012/08/29/apple-unsuccessfully-tried-to-purchase-exclusive-access-to-tsmc-chip-production-for-ios-devices/) to TSMC's chip production capacity, but the foundry opted not to tie its future so closely to any one company, although it has indicated that it is open to dedicating a factory or two to a single customer.

Article Link: Apple Shifting to TSMC for A-Series Chip Production Earlier Than Expected? (http://www.macrumors.com/2012/12/10/apple-shifting-to-tsmc-for-a-series-chip-production-earlier-than-expected/)



SeattleMoose
Dec 10, 2012, 09:38 AM
Good to see Apple trying to move away from Samsung components. Reduces leverage/control over Apple products. Of course Samsung is such an honorable company and would NEVER claim "part shortage" to hurt Apple..:rolleyes:

spyguy10709
Dec 10, 2012, 09:40 AM
Bye-Bye, Samsung :D

NakedPaulToast
Dec 10, 2012, 09:59 AM
Bye-Bye, Samsung :D

This post reminds of all the "Bye-Bye, Google :D" posts when iOS went to Apple Maps.

How'd that work out?

alex00100
Dec 10, 2012, 10:10 AM
This post reminds of all the "Bye-Bye, Google :D" posts when iOS went to Apple Maps.

How'd that work out?

Quote of the day.

blackhand1001
Dec 10, 2012, 10:10 AM
Bye-Bye, Samsung :D

Samsungs new exynos 5250 absolutely rapes the a6 and a6x. Apple should have let Samsung design the a6 and stick with them for fabbing as well. Its also a much smaller die size which improves power draw.

http://img690.imageshack.us/img690/2080/1355155044680.th.png (http://imageshack.us/a/img690/2080/1355155044680.png)

2888 vs 1767 on the a6x and 1569 for the a6. And this is only the dual core exynos. The quad core version is expected to be released soon.

daneoni
Dec 10, 2012, 10:29 AM
^
A newer processor is faster than an older one?

http://i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/newsfeed/000/210/119/+_2acc5a8841f8752904d37f90a8014829.png?1322693145

nagromme
Dec 10, 2012, 10:30 AM
This post reminds of all the "Bye-Bye, Google :D" posts when iOS went to Apple Maps.

How'd that work out?

Worked out great for me—although some will pretend Google Maps were error free. (And some even believe it: confirmation bias lives!)

Of course, how things work out in reality and how the media spin it are two different things.*

* I’m not counting the way media spins Maps in Australia because a) I don’t live there and b) you can’t get any media in the wilderness where Maps will dump you.

P.S. One of the good things about ARM is that many companies can manufacture the platform. Samsung is in no way the only successful ARM maker, and Samsung did not design Apple’s chips—Apple did. Nobody will know the difference. (Note that Samsung devices with higher CPU specs “on paper” run slower and burn more power in real-world tests. Computing efficiency does not come from a marketing bullet point alone, nor a chip alone. People are of course free to time travel, comparing Apple 2012 chips with Samsung chips that don’t yet exist in the market; they must be assuming, then, that the amazing things Apple’s chip designers did this last time around are the end of Apple’s chip innovation. Every company has future plans except Apple, some will assume!)

guzhogi
Dec 10, 2012, 10:34 AM
Samsungs new exynos 5250 absolutely rapes the a6 and a6x. Apple should have let Samsung design the a6 and stick with them for fabbing as well. Its also a much smaller die size which improves power draw.

Image (http://imageshack.us/a/img690/2080/1355155044680.png)

2888 vs 1767 on the a5x and 1569 for the a5. And this is only the dual core exynos. The quad core version is expected to be released soon.

The A6 & A6x are already out, though I don't know how well they compare to the Exnos.

I really wish Apple would standardize on one A# processor. The iPad's on an A6x, the iPhone 5's on the A6 and the 5th Gen iPod Touch is on an A5. I can understand if the processor in them was the latest at the time the device was launched, but that's not the case. Wasn't the current iPod Touch released after or about the same time as the iPhone 5, but has an older proc? Why the fragmentation? Just so Apple could sell more iPhones than iPod Touches?

commander.data
Dec 10, 2012, 10:41 AM
28nm on TSMC is an interesting choice. Samsung's 28nm process is supposed to be a very easy shrink from their existing 32nm process since it uses the same design rules. That Apple is going to the effort of using TSMC's 28nm process really shows how much they want to move away from Samsung. I don't believe TSMC's 28nm and 20nm processes are technically similar enough that doing a 28nm TSMC SoC is a significant technical benefit although I suppose it'll be helpful from the perspective of general process and collaboration familiarization.

Pressure
Dec 10, 2012, 10:42 AM
Samsungs new exynos 5250 absolutely rapes the a6 and a6x. Apple should have let Samsung design the a6 and stick with them for fabbing as well. Its also a much smaller die size which improves power draw.

Image (http://imageshack.us/a/img690/2080/1355155044680.png)

2888 vs 1767 on the a5x and 1569 for the a5. And this is only the dual core exynos. The quad core version is expected to be released soon.

It isn't just about highest performance. Efficiency and Performance per Watt are king in mobile devices.

Besides, how is it a surprise an ARM Cortex-A15 clocked at 1.70 Ghz beats the Apple A6/A6X clocked 300-400 Mhz lower based on the same superset.

Even the A6 beats the Exynos 5250 when it comes to graphics performance. AnandTech easily calls Apple's chips for the most well-rounded System-on-a-Chip, offering the better performance per watt.

commander.data
Dec 10, 2012, 10:49 AM
I really wish Apple would standardize on one A# processor. The iPad's on an A6x, the iPhone 5's on the A6 and the 5th Gen iPod Touch is on an A5. I can understand if the processor in them was the latest at the time the device was launched, but that's not the case. Wasn't the current iPod Touch released after or about the same time as the iPhone 5, but has an older proc? Why the fragmentation? Just so Apple could sell more iPhones than iPod Touches?
Why would they use 1 processor when these 3 devices have very different performance and power requirements. iPads have large batteries and very high resolution displays hence the use of a A#X type processor with higher clock speeds and doubled GPU performance. The iPod Touch is extremely thin and has a small battery hence the need to use an optimized older generation processor. In this case a 32nm shrink of the A5 in the 5th gen iPod Touch whereas the iPhone 4S uses a more power hungry 45nm A5. The iPhone has a larger battery than the iPod Touch so uses a "standard" A#. The current 32nm A6 is more power hungry than the 32nm A5 so wouldn't work in the 5th gen iPod Touch without impacting battery life or requiring lowering clock speeds which is fragmentation anyways. Fragmentation in SoC between the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch is necessary since the requirements are so different.

chrmjenkins
Dec 10, 2012, 11:00 AM
Samsungs new exynos 5250 absolutely rapes the a6 and a6x. Apple should have let Samsung design the a6 and stick with them for fabbing as well.

The exynos is largely a stock A15 implementation. There is much more design in the Swift A6 core than there is the exynos 5 core. Most of Samsung's work went into the memory hierarchy.

That being said, there's nothing spectacular about Samsung's designs. In fact, most of the design wins go to Nvidia, who can leverage their own graphics IP and have been forward thinking with their shadow core, or Qualcoomm, who has been doing custom ARM architecture implementations long before apple did swift.

Samsung has also yet to fit Exynos 5 in a phone or even a phablet. Thus, it's clear it wouldn't have been ready for the iphone 5 and it hasn't proven itself as a phone processor yet at all.

Its also a much smaller die size which improves power draw.

Although I can find no literature on the die size, you're looking at the issue wrong. Power is a combination of process, transistors, transistor type, operating frequency, dynamic operating frequency, core voltage and power saving implementations that can be transistor level logic implementations or endemic like power gating and declocking. It also depends heavily on what fills the area such as cache, core logic, memory bus, etc. Different areas see different toggle rates, and hence, more power draw.

Image (http://imageshack.us/a/img690/2080/1355155044680.png)

2888 vs 1767 on the a5x and 1569 for the a5. And this is only the dual core exynos. The quad core version is expected to be released soon.

A15 is no doubt more powerful than the A9 and recent custom implementations of the ARMv7s ISA, but they're starting to add a lot of fluff phone processors don't need. ARM is looking to take on Intel in the ultrabook/notebook and eventually even server space with their recent 64-bit processor announcements. Not really what Apple needs in a phone processor. ARM's introduction of the light A7 core is in fact a reflection of the fact that can't do a one size fits all approach with the A15.

It's also important to remember, as was noted, that their clocks are 25% higher.

The A6 & A6x are already out, though I don't know how well they compare to the Exnos.

I really wish Apple would standardize on one A# processor. The iPad's on an A6x, the iPhone 5's on the A6 and the 5th Gen iPod Touch is on an A5. I can understand if the processor in them was the latest at the time the device was launched, but that's not the case. Wasn't the current iPod Touch released after or about the same time as the iPhone 5, but has an older proc? Why the fragmentation? Just so Apple could sell more iPhones than iPod Touches?

The iPad needs an X processor because it has more pixels to drive. The touch has an older processor because it's inherently a much more low margin device. Also why it has a worse camera and a worse screen.

28nm on TSMC is an interesting choice. Samsung's 28nm process is supposed to be a very easy shrink from their existing 32nm process since it uses the same design rules. That Apple is going to the effort of using TSMC's 28nm process really shows how much they want to move away from Samsung. I don't believe TSMC's 28nm and 20nm processes are technically similar enough that doing a 28nm TSMC SoC is a significant technical benefit although I suppose it'll be helpful from the perspective of general process and collaboration familiarization.

TSMC doesn't have a 32nm node. They skipped it. But yes, generally "half-nodes" do retain rules and a simple optical shrink is usually doable.

pgiguere1
Dec 10, 2012, 11:04 AM
Samsungs new exynos 5250 absolutely rapes the a6 and a6x. Apple should have let Samsung design the a6 and stick with them for fabbing as well. Its also a much smaller die size which improves power draw.

Image (http://imageshack.us/a/img690/2080/1355155044680.png)

2888 vs 1767 on the a5x and 1569 for the a5. And this is only the dual core exynos. The quad core version is expected to be released soon.

I doubt the Cortex A15 was ready in time to be introduced in the iPhone 5, at least not in the kind of volume Apple sells iPhones.

The Nexus 10 was released months later at a fraction of the volume of iPhones and iPads. I think Apple did the right choice by not going with a Cortex A9-based design again, which was probably the only option they had if they followed vanilla ARM designs.

There's also no point in "raping" a synthetic benchmark if you don't take into account the benefits it has in the OS. iOS is way more GPU-dependent than Android, that's why iOS devices always have beefier GPUs than Android devices, so it's not fair to compare CPU performance alone.

There's also the software that factors in. Otherwise how would you explain this? :

http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph6425/51291.png

In other words, there's no proof that putting an Exynos 5250 and the Nexus 10's GPU (Mali-T604) at the kind of clock speed iPhones usually run at would improve anything. It would probably make it worse overall.

dugbug
Dec 10, 2012, 11:07 AM
wonder if we will see a small test run by way of updated apple tv gen 4 or airport express/extreme.

skellener
Dec 10, 2012, 11:27 AM
This post reminds of all the "Bye-Bye, Google :D" posts when iOS went to Apple Maps.

How'd that work out? That's services. Apple has never done services well at all. Apple has in fact shifted hardware and chips before without a hitch. It'll probably be just fine.

chrmjenkins
Dec 10, 2012, 11:27 AM
I doubt the Cortex A15 was ready in time to be introduced in the iPhone 5, at least not in the kind of volume Apple sells iPhones.

The Nexus 10 was released months later at a fraction of the volume of iPhones and iPads. I think Apple did the right choice by not going with a Cortex A9-based design again, which was probably the only option they had if they followed vanilla ARM designs.

There's also no point in "raping" a synthetic benchmark if you don't take into account the benefits it has in the OS. iOS is way more GPU-dependent than Android, that's why iOS devices always have beefier GPUs than Android devices, so it's not fair to compare CPU performance alone.

There's also the software that factors in. Otherwise how would you explain this? :

Image (http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph6425/51291.png)

In other words, there's no proof that putting an Exynos 5250 and the Nexus 10's GPU (Mali-T604) at the kind of clock speed iPhones usually run at would improve anything. It would probably make it worse overall.

And concerning that chart, the nexus 4 is a quad core s4, which is more similar to Swift as a core than either is to the A15. The phone ahead of the nexus 4 on that chart is also a dual core version of the quad core chip in the nexus 4.

sportsfan
Dec 10, 2012, 11:30 AM
The A6 & A6x are already out, though I don't know how well they compare to the Exnos.

I really wish Apple would standardize on one A# processor. The iPad's on an A6x, the iPhone 5's on the A6 and the 5th Gen iPod Touch is on an A5. I can understand if the processor in them was the latest at the time the device was launched, but that's not the case. Wasn't the current iPod Touch released after or about the same time as the iPhone 5, but has an older proc? Why the fragmentation? Just so Apple could sell more iPhones than iPod Touches?

I think we all should leave behind the MHz myth by now. All that really matters is how the device performs. Who cares if some other device has twice the specs...if it still performs as well or worse? Apple has proven they write great code that needs less MHz to perform well.

HobeSoundDarryl
Dec 10, 2012, 12:00 PM
How long until TSMC decides to do a Samsung on Apple? In other words, after making these for Apple for a while, how long until TSMC starts thinking: why don't we make our own phones, tablets, pods, etc? It worked so well for Samsung; it could work for us too (Apple has shown us the way).

I see many of us are celebrating Apple's "victory" in further moving away from Samsung. Why we can't look forward and see that Apple is probably just creating another Samsung (or three) is beyond me.

Certainly we can trust TSMC not to mirror the very profitable moves by Samsung? And LG? And Sharp? Etc. :rolleyes:

----------

I think we all should leave behind the MHz myth by now. All that really matters is how the device performs. Who cares if some other device has twice the specs...if it still performs as well or worse? Apple has proven they write great code that needs less MHz to perform well.

Funny how we can feel this way when Apple is on the losing end of that variable but then tout it when Apple is on the winning end. It reminds me of the old days pre-Intel when we made similar arguments to rally/rationalize PowerPC over Intel. Then, Apple switched to Intel and we celebrated the big upgrade in variables like this one. Suddenly PPC was "old", "outdated" tech when- before Apple told us to now like Intel- it was "far superior", "more reliable", etc. Or when LTE was a "battery hog", etc before Apple rolled it out and then it was "must have", "best iPhone ever". Or when 720p HD was "good enough", etc until Apple (finally) rolled out 1080p and then all that "good enough" crowd seems to have vanished. Or when a front-facing camera in iPad1 was "stupid" until Apple rolled out facetime in iPad 2 and then it was "I'm already in line", "can't wait to video chat", etc. Or when the 3.5" iPhone screen was the "perfect size" and "Apple won't fragment like Android" until Apple changed to the taller screen and then it was the perfect size. And so on.

We seem to always have a chorus to spin the positive no matter what the negatives. It sometimes feels like about half the people here must work for Apple PR/Marketing. Nothing wrong with competitors building better tech. It will put the heat on Apple to try to outdo them. Dismissing all competitor advances in every way through spin yields complacency if Apple believed it's own (or our) spin.

And no arguing that Apple can write some good code... but that shouldn't automatically mean that someone like Samsung/Android can't. I'm pretty happy with Apple hardware (too) but not blindly happy with them. I think this "reject Samsung" thing is net bad for us consumers. TSMC may prove to be a great partner but Samsung sure does make some excellent (and reliable) tech.

rmwebs
Dec 10, 2012, 12:03 PM
Worked out great for me—although some will pretend Google Maps were error free. (And some even believe it: confirmation bias lives!)

Here's the difference tho:

Report an error in Google maps - fixed 24-48 hours later.
Report an error in Apple Maps - error still exists 2 months later.

Doing maps was a dick move on Apple's part. They spread themselves too thin, and it turns out that they are still absolutely crap at services.

I'm as much of an Apple fan as the next guy, but people need to recognise that whilst Apple is fantastic at creating great hardware and operating systems, they really have no clue when it comes to web-based services.

They have gotten away with it in the past as they had a fairly minimal customer base with the likes of eWorld and iTools. But from MobileMe onwards they were working with a much larger customerbase due to the success of the iPhone. Now they can no longer get away with saying things like "A small number of customers may be experiencing a problem", or completely ignoring problems at all - because they have so many customers now, they have to get it right, and they sadly still cant do that.

Maps will never be anywhere near as good as what Google does with their Maps service, and for a lot of blatantly obvious reasons:

- Google has a HUGE team that works on maps. The last report was 7,100 people. Apple has around 100.
- Google dont rely as much on 3rd party sources anymore, they have their own Satellite systems specifically for mapping. Apple rely on TomTom and a few other providers in areas that TomTom doesnt serve.
- Google also has the advantage of owning a fleet of UAV style airplanes to take bird-eye photos, and then dont forget about the fleet of streetview cars too.
- Google obviously has a huge headstart, so that advantage is obvious.
- Google has the ability to pore cash into their Maps - Whilst Apple has the funds, they wont ever be prepared to spend huge amounts on maps as its not a money making application.
- Google make a profit from their maps with licensing - Apple dont make a penny, if anything they lost sales because of maps.

I dont see it ever being anywhere near as good as Google Maps, and I'm taking in terms of accuracy here, not features. Google have a hell of a lot more tools at their disposal than Apple, and obviously Apple isnt going to shell out millions to get their own cars, satellites, UAV's, etc - they would have already been well into the process of capturing if they even had the slightest intention of ever doing this.

chrmjenkins
Dec 10, 2012, 12:06 PM
How long until TSMC decides to do a Samsung on Apple? In other words, after making these for Apple for a while, how long until TSMC starts thinking: why don't we make our own phones, tablets, pods, etc? It worked so well for Samsung; it could work for us too (Apple has shown us the way).

Not comparable at all. Samsung was making phones before Apple was buying chips from them. Samsung started as a device company and added fab capability. TSMC has always been a fab company. There's no reason to think 1 new customer would suddenly make them change their minds and want to start designing consumer electronics.

HobeSoundDarryl
Dec 10, 2012, 12:13 PM
Stand by. That "no reason" is gaining an understanding of how to build these for Apple and watching Apple's revenues grow and grow. If I baked cakes for your bakery and watched you grow richer and richer on my baking, it's not long before I start thinking about selling my own cakes direct.

Having watched this play out over and over in my life, I would bet heavily that it's only going to be a matter of time before TSMC begins to expand into businesses beyond just fabbing.

blackhand1001
Dec 10, 2012, 12:16 PM
I doubt the Cortex A15 was ready in time to be introduced in the iPhone 5, at least not in the kind of volume Apple sells iPhones.

The Nexus 10 was released months later at a fraction of the volume of iPhones and iPads. I think Apple did the right choice by not going with a Cortex A9-based design again, which was probably the only option they had if they followed vanilla ARM designs.

There's also no point in "raping" a synthetic benchmark if you don't take into account the benefits it has in the OS. iOS is way more GPU-dependent than Android, that's why iOS devices always have beefier GPUs than Android devices, so it's not fair to compare CPU performance alone.

There's also the software that factors in. Otherwise how would you explain this? :

Image (http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph6425/51291.png)

In other words, there's no proof that putting an Exynos 5250 and the Nexus 10's GPU (Mali-T604) at the kind of clock speed iPhones usually run at would improve anything. It would probably make it worse overall.

http://img5.imageshack.us/img5/576/screenshot2012120920084.th.png (http://imageshack.us/a/img5/576/screenshot2012120920084.png)

Nexus 10 using stock android browser instead of chrome. It kills it in this test as well.

sportsfan
Dec 10, 2012, 12:19 PM
How long until TSMC decides to do a Samsung on Apple? In other words, after making these for Apple for a while, how long until TSMC starts thinking: why don't we make our own phones, tablets, pods, etc? It worked so well for Samsung; it could work for us too (Apple has shown us the way).

I see many of us are celebrating Apple's "victory" in further moving away from Samsung. Why we can't look forward and see that Apple is probably just creating another Samsung (or three) is beyond me.

Certainly we can trust TSMC not to mirror the very profitable moves by Samsung? And LG? And Sharp? Etc. :rolleyes:

----------



Funny how we can feel this way when Apple is on the losing end of that variable but then tout it when Apple is on the winning end. It reminds me of the old days pre-Intel when we made similar arguments to rally/rationalize PowerPC over Intel. Then, Apple switched to Intel and we celebrated the big upgrade in variables like this one. Suddenly PPC was "old", "outdated" tech when- before Apple told us to now like Intel- it was "far superior", "more reliable", etc. Or when LTE was a "battery hog", etc before Apple rolled it out and then it was "must have", "best iPhone ever". Or when 720p HD was "good enough", etc until Apple (finally) rolled out 1080p and then all that "good enough" crowd seems to have vanished. Or when a front-facing camera in iPad1 was "stupid" until Apple rolled out facetime in iPad 2 and then it was "I'm already in line", "can't wait to video chat", etc. Or when the 3.5" iPhone screen was the "perfect size" and "Apple won't fragment like Android" until Apple changed to the taller screen and then it was the perfect size. And so on.

We seem to always have a chorus to spin the positive no matter what the negatives. It sometimes feels like about half the people here must work for Apple PR/Marketing. Nothing wrong with competitors building better tech. It will put the heat on Apple to try to outdo them. Dismissing all competitor advances in every way through spin yields complacency if Apple believed it's own (or our) spin.

And no arguing that Apple can write some good code... but that shouldn't automatically mean that someone like Samsung/Android can't. I'm pretty happy with Apple hardware (too) but not blindly happy with them. I think this "reject Samsung" thing is net bad for us consumers. TSMC may prove to be a great partner but Samsung sure does make some excellent (and reliable) tech.

Because at the time, PPC was better than Intel. Things changed.
The same could be said for LTR, HD video, and the like. All that does take extra power to run...and if you want your device to have good battery life...some things need to be sacrificed until battery tech improves.

M-O
Dec 10, 2012, 12:24 PM
This post reminds of all the "Bye-Bye, Google :D" posts when iOS went to Apple Maps.

How'd that work out?

well, seeing as how iOS 6 users still have no native google maps app, it's working pretty well.

blackhand1001
Dec 10, 2012, 12:34 PM
The exynos is largely a stock A15 implementation. There is much more design in the Swift A6 core than there is the exynos 5 core. Most of Samsung's work went into the memory hierarchy.

That being said, there's nothing spectacular about Samsung's designs. In fact, most of the design wins go to Nvidia, who can leverage their own graphics IP and have been forward thinking with their shadow core, or Qualcoomm, who has been doing custom ARM architecture implementations long before apple did swift.

Samsung has also yet to fit Exynos 5 in a phone or even a phablet. Thus, it's clear it wouldn't have been ready for the iphone 5 and it hasn't proven itself as a phone processor yet at all.


Although I can find no literature on the die size, you're looking at the issue wrong. Power is a combination of process, transistors, transistor type, operating frequency, dynamic operating frequency, core voltage and power saving implementations that can be transistor level logic implementations or endemic like power gating and declocking. It also depends heavily on what fills the area such as cache, core logic, memory bus, etc. Different areas see different toggle rates, and hence, more power draw.



A15 is no doubt more powerful than the A9 and recent custom implementations of the ARMv7s ISA, but they're starting to add a lot of fluff phone processors don't need. ARM is looking to take on Intel in the ultrabook/notebook and eventually even server space with their recent 64-bit processor announcements. Not really what Apple needs in a phone processor. ARM's introduction of the light A7 core is in fact a reflection of the fact that can't do a one size fits all approach with the A15.

It's also important to remember, as was noted, that their clocks are 25% higher.



The iPad needs an X processor because it has more pixels to drive. The touch has an older processor because it's inherently a much more low margin device. Also why it has a worse camera and a worse screen.



TSMC doesn't have a 32nm node. They skipped it. But yes, generally "half-nodes" do retain rules and a simple optical shrink is usually doable.

The exynos 5250 is only clocked 20% higher than the a6x yet performs 70% better. That also means that it does much better on instructions per clock. The a6 architecture is somewhere between a9 and a15 much like Qualcomm krait is. Both are vastly inferior to the a15 core. The exynos 5250 also has excellent power management. The a6x needs a gigantic battery in the iPad. The nexus 10 has a smaller battery yet gets about the same battery even when pushing more pixels.

KdParker
Dec 10, 2012, 12:35 PM
This post reminds of all the "Bye-Bye, Google :D" posts when iOS went to Apple Maps.

How'd that work out?

Pretty good for most of us in the US.

But having a new chip is easy enough to test vs the A series to make sure that there is not any drop off.

SockRolid
Dec 10, 2012, 12:41 PM
... although it has indicated that it is open to dedicating a factory or two to a single customer.

Tim Cook: "Hello TSMC. This is Tim."

TSMC: "Hello, Mr. Cook. We've been looking forward to talking with you."

Tim Cook: "I'm going to wire you 2 billion dollars. Build us a factory or two for A7 chip production."

TSMC: "Yes sir. When would you like full-scale production to begin?"

Tim Cook: "How 'bout 28 nano production in late 2013, 20 nano production in early 2014?"

TSMC: "That should be as easy as cake."

Tim Cook: "Pie. As easy as pie."

TSMC: "Yes sir. Easy as pie, sir."

Tim Cook: "And you can just call me Tim."

TSMC: "Yes sir, Mr. Tim."

chrmjenkins
Dec 10, 2012, 12:43 PM
The exynos 5250 is only clocked 20% higher than the a6x yet performs 70% better. That also means that it does much better on instructions per clock. The a6 architecture is somewhere between a9 and a15 much like Qualcomm krait is.

Krait is around 3.2 DMIPS. A15 is 3.5. I assume Swift is near what Krait is. The true metric for a mobile device is performance per watt, where Krait and Swift do just fine.

Both are vastly inferior to the a15 core. The exynos 5250 also has excellent power management. The a6x needs a gigantic battery in the iPad. The nexus 10 has a smaller battery yet gets about the same battery even when pushing more pixels.

Ehhh, yes they have a lower IPC, but that doesn't really tell the story. If qualcomm and apple had thought a vanilla core would have been better than what they could design, they would have gone with it. For instance, I can tell you that Swift and Krait inherently handle pipeline flushes better by virtue of having 11 and 10 stages respectively versus 15 on the A15. I'm sure there are plenty of more optimizations and deviations from standard library cells to squeeze every last performance per watt out of it.

The Nexus 10 drives marginally more pixels. The A6X has a much higher capability GPU, which is what truly drives its battery size.

KdParker
Dec 10, 2012, 12:49 PM
Stand by. That "no reason" is gaining an understanding of how to build these for Apple and watching Apple's revenues grow and grow. If I baked cakes for your bakery and watched you grow richer and richer on my baking, it's not long before I start thinking about selling my own cakes direct.

Having watched this play out over and over in my life, I would bet heavily that it's only going to be a matter of time before TSMC begins to expand into businesses beyond just fabbing.

And even if TSMC expands thier business, It doesn't mean it will be another Andriod phone. Who know how this could play out....

IOS/Windows phones with different form factors??? Who knows what will be next.

blackhand1001
Dec 10, 2012, 01:10 PM
Krait is around 3.2 DMIPS. A15 is 3.5. I assume Swift is near what Krait is. The true metric for a mobile device is performance per watt, where Krait and Swift do just fine.



Ehhh, yes they have a lower IPC, but that doesn't really tell the story. If qualcomm and apple had thought a vanilla core would have been better than what they could design, they would have gone with it. For instance, I can tell you that Swift and Krait inherently handle pipeline flushes better by virtue of having 11 and 10 stages respectively versus 15 on the A15. I'm sure there are plenty of more optimizations and deviations from standard library cells to squeeze every last performance per watt out of it.

The Nexus 10 drives marginally more pixels. The A6X has a much higher capability GPU, which is what truly drives its battery size.

Hardly marginally more pixels, the nexus has 4,096,000 while the ipad has 3,145,728. Thats nearly a million pixel difference. The exynos cpus have always had great power management. The fact is the exynos cortex a15 outperforms the a6 by a very large margin, and it also clocks much higher with similar power usage. The quad core 5450 version with the Mali-658 is imminent which ups the game even more so. It will be clocked at 2ghz.

tbrinkma
Dec 10, 2012, 01:20 PM
The iPad needs an X processor because it has more pixels to drive. The touch has an older processor because it's inherently a much more low margin device. Also why it has a worse camera and a worse screen.

The iPod Touch can also use an older processor because it doesn't have to run all of the phone-related background processes that the iPhone needs.

chrmjenkins
Dec 10, 2012, 01:27 PM
Hardly marginally more pixels, the nexus has 4,096,000 while the ipad has 3,145,728. Thats nearly a million pixel difference. The exynos cpus have always had great power management. The fact is the exynos cortex a15 outperforms the a6 by a very large margin, and it also clocks much higher with similar power usage. The quad core 5450 version with the Mali-658 is imminent which ups the game even more so. It will be clocked at 2ghz.

There's nothing wrong with either of their power management performance. That's not really in question here. Performance per watt matters and that's why the iphone 5 with a 50% or more smaller battery still has comparable battery life to android counterparts.

And I've told you clocks don't matter. Intel spent the good part of the early 2000's chasing MHz with NetBurst and AMD handed their ass to them when they went 64-bit and dual core first. It matters how efficient and smart your architecture is, not how high you can clock it. The clock speeds on Krait and Swift are going to be inherently lower because they have fewer pipeline stages. That means you have more functional logic in each stage and can't push through an individual stage as fast.

firewood
Dec 10, 2012, 01:35 PM
"I'm going to wire you 2 billion dollars. Build us a factory or two for A7 chip production."

Sounds like you haven't kept up with the costs of building a new semiconductor/ASIC fab line of recent.

See the wikipedia entry on Rock's law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock's_law) and note that the 2003 price given is almost a decade obsolete (e.g. tiny by todays standards).

Lesser Evets
Dec 10, 2012, 01:39 PM
Seems to fit into the existing rumors.

iPhone 5s in late Spring 2013 or even early summer.

iPhone 6 in the end of 2013.

With these releases, Apple spanks the competition out of the field in all ways except one: price. The rumored slide of Apple in the iDevices market would reverse completely and they could trounce everyone within the decade.

SockRolid
Dec 10, 2012, 01:42 PM
Sounds like you haven't kept up with the costs of building a new semiconductor/ASIC fab line of recent.

See the wikipedia entry on Rock's law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock's_law) and note that the 2003 price given is almost a decade obsolete (e.g. tiny by todays standards).

Tim Cook: "Here's $2 billion up front. Build us a factory or two for A7 chip production. Let me know what the total cost will be."

blackhand1001
Dec 10, 2012, 01:50 PM
There's nothing wrong with either of their power management performance. That's not really in question here. Performance per watt matters and that's why the iphone 5 with a 50% or more smaller battery still has comparable battery life to android counterparts.

And I've told you clocks don't matter. Intel spent the good part of the early 2000's chasing MHz with NetBurst and AMD handed their ass to them when they went 64-bit and dual core first. It matters how efficient and smart your architecture is, not how high you can clock it. The clock speeds on Krait and Swift are going to be inherently lower because they have fewer pipeline stages. That means you have more functional logic in each stage and can't push through an individual stage as fast.

Comparing it to netburst is a bad comparison as cortex a15 not only clocks higher, it has a better instructions per clock as well. Thats much different than the athlon x64 vs pentium 4 where the pentium 4 clocked higher but the athlon 64 had much better ipc.

chrmjenkins
Dec 10, 2012, 01:54 PM
Comparing it to netburst is a bad comparison as cortex a15 not only clocks higher, it has a better instructions per clock as well. Thats much different than the athlon x64 vs pentium 4 where the pentium 4 clocked higher but the athlon 64 had much better ipc.

That's why my point was focusing on MHz is not a good idea, and nothing more.

The athlon had better IPC because they made architecture optimizations and advancements. That's why Apple and Qualcomm pursue custom architectures. Lower IPC withstanding, it still must have yielded a net benefit for their typical workloads else they wouldn't have invested millions and millions in a custom design when vanilla would have done.

firewood
Dec 10, 2012, 02:03 PM
A newer processor is faster than an older one?

Exactly. Look at the date each processor was available on a pocketable cell phone that you could actually order, and compare those dates of availability with what should be expected according to Moore's law. Nothing of significant interest here.

In addition, according to ARM's own architecture papers, the A15 is optimized for a very different instruction mix and application load. Until lots of apps needing that type of instruction mix are available, an A15 implementation will likely be non-optimal for mobile use.

blackhand1001
Dec 10, 2012, 02:09 PM
That's why my point was focusing on MHz is not a good idea, and nothing more.

The athlon had better IPC because they made architecture optimizations and advancements. That's why Apple and Qualcomm pursue custom architectures. Lower IPC withstanding, it still must have yielded a net benefit for their typical workloads else they wouldn't have invested millions and millions in a custom design when vanilla would have done.

Except the fact that the exynos not only can run at a higher clockrate but even at the same clock speed as the a6 it outperforms it.

thekev
Dec 10, 2012, 02:12 PM
Good to see Apple trying to move away from Samsung components. Reduces leverage/control over Apple products. Of course Samsung is such an honorable company and would NEVER claim "part shortage" to hurt Apple..:rolleyes:

You guys make too much stuff up. What makes you think these companies would ignore their contracts?

How long until TSMC decides to do a Samsung on Apple? In other words, after making these for Apple for a while, how long until TSMC starts thinking: why don't we make our own phones, tablets, pods, etc? It worked so well for Samsung; it could work for us too (Apple has shown us the way).

I see many of us are celebrating Apple's "victory" in further moving away from Samsung. Why we can't look forward and see that Apple is probably just creating another Samsung (or three) is beyond me.



This is too ignorant for words. Go look up the history of both Samsung and LG. They were both making phones long before Apple. You may not like their phones, but that is really irrelevant.

blackhand1001
Dec 10, 2012, 02:14 PM
Exactly. Look at the date each processor was available on a pocketable cell phone that you could actually order, and compare those dates of availability with what should be expected according to Moore's law. Nothing of significant interest here.

In addition, according to ARM's own architecture papers, the A15 is optimized for a very different instruction mix and application load. Until lots of apps needing that type of instruction mix are available, an A15 implementation will likely be non-optimal for mobile use.

the exynos 5250 shipped in a device a month after the a6 shipped and before the ipad 4 was even announced let alone shipped. Its barely any newer.

Glideslope
Dec 10, 2012, 02:23 PM
Yea Baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

----------

This post reminds of all the "Bye-Bye, Google :D" posts when iOS went to Apple Maps.

How'd that work out?

Uh, Bob Mansfield is not Scotty Boy. TSC is basically Apple's own Fab unit. By the time Samsung's Contract is up in 6-14, Apple will be well positioned. They have invested over 3 Billion in the Fab. Soon N & S Korea will reunite. Probably best to not be Korean Heavy at that point. Expect LG displays to go after Samsung. :apple:

chrmjenkins
Dec 10, 2012, 02:23 PM
Except the fact that the exynos not only can run at a higher clockrate but even at the same clock speed as the a6 it outperforms it.

Apparently you haven't been reading. Not only have I acknowledged a higher IPC, I said the actual rates:

Krait is around 3.2 DMIPS. A15 is 3.5. I assume Swift is near what Krait is. The true metric for a mobile device is performance per watt, where Krait and Swift do just fine.

the exynos 5250 shipped in a device a month after the a6 shipped and before the ipad 4 was even announced let alone shipped. Its barely any newer.

In a much lower volume device. They have to make chips months in advance to meet launch demand. They would need less lead time for a smaller quantity.

samcraig
Dec 10, 2012, 03:06 PM
Poor poor early adopters/beta testers...

paulrbeers
Dec 10, 2012, 03:09 PM
Apparently you haven't been reading. Not only have I acknowledged a higher IPC, I said the actual rates:





In a much lower volume device. They have to make chips months in advance to meet launch demand. They would need less lead time for a smaller quantity.

Don't feed the android trolls! They don't bother to read/comprehend valid arguments.

Fact of the matter is, at some point our phones have enough power to do what is needed of them and whether you run a cortex A9, Swift, Krait, or A15, it really doesn't matter. Especially since iOS is more GPU heavy, it matters even less. Frankly why would Apple have spent a fortune on ARM design firms and NOT build their own ARM processors? It just doesn't make sense. Swift processors are really impressive for what they are and the amount of power they use. It is more than enough to stay competitive with the A15 crowd for this generation. Most likely the A7's will be A15 derivatives.

blackhand1001
Dec 10, 2012, 04:05 PM
Yea Baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

----------



Uh, Bob Mansfield is not Scotty Boy. TSC is basically Apple's own Fab unit. By the time Samsung's Contract is up in 6-14, Apple will be well positioned. They have invested over 3 Billion in the Fab. Soon N & S Korea will reunite. Probably best to not be Korean Heavy at that point. Expect LG displays to go after Samsung. :apple:

You really think apple really could actually meet demand while not using Samsung or lg displays. They are the two largest producers.

Verbatim Cookie
Dec 10, 2012, 07:54 PM
Soon N & S Korea will reunite.
WAT Just some phantom text so that capital letters appear above.

fpsBeaTt
Dec 10, 2012, 08:00 PM
This post reminds of all the "Bye-Bye, Google :D" posts when iOS went to Apple Maps.

How'd that work out?

I honestly never saw any quote remotely like that, at least none implying that Apple's switch would signify 'the end of Google'.

WatchTheThrone
Dec 10, 2012, 09:21 PM
Except the fact that the exynos not only can run at a higher clockrate but even at the same clock speed as the a6 it outperforms it.

You missed the android forum by about 10 exits!!!!

selva
Dec 10, 2012, 10:53 PM
And concerning that chart, the nexus 4 is a quad core s4, which is more similar to Swift as a core than either is to the A15. The phone ahead of the nexus 4 on that chart is also a dual core version of the quad core chip in the nexus 4.

Every Nexus sold will mean about $8 - $10 for Apple any way in patent revs. So Apple wins both ways.

gmanist1000
Dec 11, 2012, 12:19 AM
This post reminds of all the "Bye-Bye, Google :D" posts when iOS went to Apple Maps.

How'd that work out?

It works well for me and others. It also works like crap for others.

inscrewtable
Dec 11, 2012, 04:14 AM
...but the foundry opted not to tie its future so closely to any one company, although it has indicated that it is open to dedicating a factory or two to a single customer.


You've gotta be cool when dealing with the big boys. "Yeah, I'm sure we have a few spare factories around here somewhere, if only we can remember where we put the damn things. They're definitely in Taiwan we're pretty sure of that."

blackhand1001
Dec 11, 2012, 09:12 AM
You missed the android forum by about 10 exits!!!!

This is a mac/apple forum. Not an iOS forum. And we are allowed own devices from other manufacturers. The simple fact of the matter is that the cortex a15 is faster than the a6 swift architecture. And its pretty significantly faster. The a6 is roughly equal in performance the snapdragon s4 at the same clock speed.

firewood
Dec 11, 2012, 02:13 PM
The simple fact of the matter is that the cortex a15 is faster than the a6 swift architecture.

There are tons of processors that are a lot faster than the a6 and the a15. The question here is how that performance relates to power consumption on a pocket-sized device in a given technology node and with a reasonable time-to-market.

Where can a consumer buy a pocketable cell phone with an a15 today?

And how fast will the A7 prototypes run in Apple's R&D labs tomorrow.

Leapfrog. Nothing unusual here.

blackhand1001
Dec 11, 2012, 04:25 PM
There are tons of processors that are a lot faster than the a6 and the a15. The question here is how that performance relates to power consumption on a pocket-sized device in a given technology node and with a reasonable time-to-market.

Where can a consumer buy a pocketable cell phone with an a15 today?

And how fast will the A7 prototypes run in Apple's R&D labs tomorrow.

Leapfrog. Nothing unusual here.

They will be out shortly. The powers levels of the a15 are actually lower than an a9. As it stands right now the exynos 5250 draws less power than the a6x. The galaxy s4 is pretty much confirmed to be using the exynos 5450 which is a big step up from the 5250.

chrmjenkins
Dec 11, 2012, 06:13 PM
There are tons of processors that are a lot faster than the a6 and the a15. The question here is how that performance relates to power consumption on a pocket-sized device in a given technology node and with a reasonable time-to-market.

Where can a consumer buy a pocketable cell phone with an a15 today?

And how fast will the A7 prototypes run in Apple's R&D labs tomorrow.

Leapfrog. Nothing unusual here.

Exactly.

They will be out shortly. The powers levels of the a15 are actually lower than an a9. As it stands right now the exynos 5250 draws less power than the a6x.

Because the A6X has vastly more GPU power than the exynos 5.

The galaxy s4 is pretty much confirmed to be using the exynos 5450 which is a big step up from the 5250.

By which time Apple could have the A7 in the iPhone 5S on a TSMC 28nm process. Samsung 28nm won't be ready until H2 2013.

Glideslope
Dec 11, 2012, 07:44 PM
You really think apple really could actually meet demand while not using Samsung or lg displays. They are the two largest producers.

In 2013 without Samsung, yes. By 2015 without LG, yes. Apple want's off the Korean Peninsula. Frankly, I don't blame them. :apple:

blackhand1001
Dec 11, 2012, 08:48 PM
In 2013 without Samsung, yes. By 2015 without LG, yes. Apple want's off the Korean Peninsula. Frankly, I don't blame them. :apple:

Exactly why do they want off. The whole samsung lawsuit thing is a complete joke. Apple knows in the long run there case is going to get overturned. Right now no ones even comes close to the capacity of Samsung or LG. Thats unlikely to change in the short time of 2-3 years.

Glideslope
Dec 12, 2012, 01:31 PM
Exactly why do they want off. The whole samsung lawsuit thing is a complete joke. Apple knows in the long run there case is going to get overturned. Right now no ones even comes close to the capacity of Samsung or LG. Thats unlikely to change in the short time of 2-3 years.

2-3 years is a Malena in the Tech Arena. :apple:

blackhand1001
Dec 12, 2012, 02:55 PM
2-3 years is a Malena in the Tech Arena. :apple:

not for manufacturing and yields. That takes decades to build up to the level that Samsung and LG have.

iHailCarlo
Dec 16, 2012, 05:54 PM
There is a lot of ownage in this thread. Good for Apple though.

firewood
Dec 16, 2012, 10:00 PM
Turn out the exynos chip comes with a memory controller bug that makes root exploits easy. It a fast chip. Get your identity stolen much faster with an exynos than with an A6! Go Samsung!

louis.b
Dec 16, 2012, 10:08 PM
This post reminds of all the "Bye-Bye, Google :D" posts when iOS went to Apple Maps.

How'd that work out?

Worked out great for me. Your point?

----------

I wonder why the people who admire Samsung "technology" are still on a forum called "Macrumors".

thekev
Dec 16, 2012, 10:26 PM
Every Nexus sold will mean about $8 - $10 for Apple any way in patent revs. So Apple wins both ways.

Where did you get that figure?

gto55
Jan 2, 2013, 03:07 AM
http://appadvice.com/appnn/2013/01/so-long-samsung-apple-switches-to-tsmc-for-a6x-processor-production

So Long, Samsung: Apple Switches To TSMC For A6X Processor Production

Apple has already requested Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) (http://appadvice.com/appnn/2012/08/apple-attempts-to-purchase-exclusive-access-to-tsmc-chip-production-for-idevices) to produce its next-generation A6X processors, reports the Taiwanese financial newspaper Commercial Times (http://ctee.com.tw).

Source: Commercial Times (http://ctee.com.tw)
Via: Yonhap News (http://www.yonhapnews.co.kr/bulletin/2013/01/02/0200000000AKR20130102082600103.HTML?&)


Will TSMC have the capacity to produce smaller processors (22nm A7 ?) :confused: