Register FAQ / Rules Forum Spy Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read
Go Back   MacRumors Forums > News and Article Discussion > MacRumors.com News Discussion

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old Mar 10, 2013, 12:25 PM   #1
MacRumors
macrumors bot
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Tweaked Apple TV Contains Die-Shrunk A5 Chip, Not A5X




Back in late January, an update to the Apple TV software revealed a new "AppleTV3,2", with FCC documents for the device showing up the following day. By digging into the software files for this new device, it was discovered that the device appeared to be using an A5X chip rather than the single-core A5 chip found in the third-generation Apple TV.

This conclusion was based on the chip carrying an identifier of S5L8947 compared to the S5L8945 seen on the original A5X. A similar move was made when Apple rolled out a die shrink of the A5 in the third-generation Apple TV last year, shifting from the original S5L8940 to the smaller S5L8942.

According to Apple, this latest Apple TV update was designed to be invisible to users, offering no changes in features.

Apple's tweaked third-generation Apple TV, which carries a part number of A1469 compared to an A1427 part number for the original version, has now begun making its way into Apple's retail store stocks, and we have purchased one and cracked it open to examine its internals.

Most notably, the tweaked third-generation Apple TV does not contain an A5X chip. Instead, it contains an A5 chip like its predecessor, although the new chip is considerably smaller than the previous one.

The original A5 chip introduced in 2011 for the iPad 2 was built on a 45-nanometer process, measuring 10.09 mm by 12.15 mm, while the first die-shrunk A5 introduced in 2012 for the third-generation Apple TV and the tweaked iPad 2 measured 41% smaller at 8.19 mm by 8.68 mm.

This new A5 found in the tweaked third-generation Apple TV is considerably smaller still, with our measurements putting the chip at just 6 mm by 6 mm.

We do not know for sure what Apple is using to produce this even smaller A5, but it is very possible that the company is piloting a 28-nanometer process from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) for this new chip. Such a move would be a major development, making this A5 the first iOS device processor to be manufactured by a company other than Samsung. Samsung is also moving to a 28-nanometer process for its fab in Austin, Texas where it produces chips for Apple, but the facility will reportedly not be ready for mass production at that scale until late this year.

TSMC has been rumored to be coming on board for A6X chip production for the current iPad, as well as for future chips using even smaller processes.

Article Link: Tweaked Apple TV Contains Die-Shrunk A5 Chip, Not A5X
MacRumors is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 10, 2013, 12:27 PM   #2
ConCat
Banned
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: In an ethereal plane of existence.
I don't see why it would have contained an A5X chip. The A5X was the same chip as the A5, just with more GPU cores. The AppleTV does not need them.

01100110 01101001 01110010 01110011 01110100

Last edited by ConCat; Mar 11, 2013 at 06:56 PM.
ConCat is offline   17 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 10, 2013, 12:33 PM   #3
Eadfrith
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Lindisfarena
I wonder how much power it consumes being so much smaller.
Eadfrith is offline   4 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 10, 2013, 12:38 PM   #4
Moonjumper
macrumors 65816
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Lincoln, UK
This silent update could have major implications if it is a 28-nanometer die test. I'm looking forward to seeing less power and space taken up by the electronics, giving more battery space that is put under less demand. Or allows for new features.
Moonjumper is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 10, 2013, 12:41 PM   #5
TsMkLg068426
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Waiting for Amazon Prime added to Apple TV and other streaming apps until than I will wait for the next generation Apple TV, whenever that is.
__________________
21.5" iMac, 2.7GHz, Intel Core i5, 4GB Memory, 1 TB HD, Mac OS X Lion 10.7.2; 32 GB iPod Touch iOS 5.0.1
TsMkLg068426 is offline   7 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 10, 2013, 12:44 PM   #6
Orlandoech
macrumors 68030
 
Orlandoech's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Quote:
Originally Posted by TsMkLg068426 View Post
Waiting for Amazon Prime added to Apple TV and other streaming apps until than I will wait for the next generation Apple TV, whenever that is.

Same here. How disappointing.
Orlandoech is online now   5 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 10, 2013, 12:44 PM   #7
maxosx
macrumors 68020
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Southern California
While I most certainly appreciate _All_ the news MacRumors brings us, it's things like this that are so trivial, that the average buyer doesn't care about.

It's a reflection of anything bigger to report on, like something truly substantial to report about regarding the next iPhone.
maxosx is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 10, 2013, 12:48 PM   #8
daneoni
macrumors G4
 
daneoni's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Apple TV seems to now be a testbed for Apple's Tick (die shrink) cycle of A-series chip manufacturing.
__________________
15" rMBP Core i7 | 27" ACD | AEBS | 5G iPod | iPhone 5S | 3G Apple TV | rMini
daneoni is offline   4 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 10, 2013, 12:52 PM   #9
gmanist1000
macrumors 68020
 
gmanist1000's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by TsMkLg068426 View Post
Waiting for Amazon Prime added to Apple TV and other streaming apps until than I will wait for the next generation Apple TV, whenever that is.
I have an Apple TV, but I want this. And HBO Go.

Edit: And NFL Sunday Ticket

Last edited by gmanist1000; Mar 10, 2013 at 05:00 PM.
gmanist1000 is offline   9 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 10, 2013, 12:53 PM   #10
Jaro65
macrumors 68040
 
Jaro65's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
Send a message via Skype™ to Jaro65
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConCat View Post
I don't see why it would have contained an A5X chip. The A5X was the same chip as the A5, just with more GPU cores. The AppleTV does not need them.

0110011001101001011100100111001101110100
That is true. Not unless Apple wants to open Apple TV to a third party app development....
__________________
rMBP | MBP | MBA | ACD | iPad | iPhone | ATV | iPods | Senn HD 650
Jaro65 is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 10, 2013, 12:55 PM   #11
Mr Fusion
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: May 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by gmanist1000 View Post
I have an Apple TV, but I want this. And HBO Go.
... Or they could just open up the platform to developers...

... Like they should have years ago...

... So you don't have to wait for Apple to add features at a glacial pace...

...
Mr Fusion is offline   6 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 10, 2013, 12:55 PM   #12
carl0sian
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
I love my Apple TV but it is lacking serious content when compared to other devices like the roku 3.


I'll stick my with Apple TV 3 for now
carl0sian is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 10, 2013, 12:57 PM   #13
Semester
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by maxosx View Post
While I most certainly appreciate _All_ the news MacRumors brings us, it's things like this that are so trivial, that the average buyer doesn't care about.

It's a reflection of anything bigger to report on, like something truly substantial to report about regarding the next iPhone.
This is the first Apple chip with 28nm die size. Since the chips are of enormous importance to the products this is a pretty big deal. The more Apple can reduce the die size the more other stuff such as battery or other silicon can be added to the products.
Semester is offline   6 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 10, 2013, 12:59 PM   #14
audio_inside
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Boulder CO
I can think of alot of ways that an Apple TV could make use of more GPUs on-die.
audio_inside is offline   3 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 10, 2013, 01:04 PM   #15
commander.data
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
It makes sense that the A5X wasn't used because the A5X uses external DRAM on the PCB rather than the stacked DRAM of the A5. That means Apple would have had to redesign the internal layout of the Apple TV, which would be quite a bit of work for a silent update.

I wonder if there are any plans to silent refresh the iPad Mini, iPhone 4S or 5th gen Touch with this 28nm A5? The 28nm A5 on the face of it seems like a great candidate for the low-cost iPhone, but several reports seem to name some form of A6.
commander.data is offline   4 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 10, 2013, 01:04 PM   #16
Tankmaze
macrumors 65816
 
Tankmaze's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Whats the point in using shrunken chip, and not the new one.
My guess is this chip only makes it harder to jailbreak.

Still waiting jailbreak on my atv3
__________________
Check out our game Tank Maze
Tankmaze is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 10, 2013, 01:04 PM   #17
APlotdevice
macrumors 68020
 
APlotdevice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Hmm... A smaller A5 could be a useful component in both the rumored budget iPhone and iWatch. Or even just to upgrade the low-end iPod touch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ConCat View Post
I don't see why it would have contained an A5X chip. The A5X was the same chip as the A5, just with more GPU cores. The AppleTV does not need them.

0110011001101001011100100111001101110100
The prevailing theory was that Apple would use the partially defective die-shrunk A5Xs in the AppleTV as they ramp up that chip's production for the next iPad Mini. Similar to what they did with the current hardware.
__________________
Pebble SmartWatch - iPhone 5c - 11" Macbook Air '13 - TV - HTPC - Numerous Consoles
There is something deeply wrong with a society more offended by breasts than by entrails.

Last edited by APlotdevice; Mar 10, 2013 at 01:18 PM.
APlotdevice is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 10, 2013, 01:08 PM   #18
theBB
macrumors 68020
 
theBB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Quote:
We do not know for sure what Apple is using to produce this even smaller A5, but it is very possible that the company is piloting a 28-nanometer process from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) for this new chip.
Or from Intel or Global Foundries or UMC.... In any case, companies such as ChipIdea can easily strip one down and figure out the foundry. There must be a lot of investors curious about this.
theBB is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 10, 2013, 01:11 PM   #19
quagmire
macrumors 603
 
quagmire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tankmaze View Post
Whats the point in using shrunken chip, and not the new one.
My guess is this chip only makes it harder to jailbreak.

Still waiting jailbreak on my atv3
As mentioned, the Apple TV with its relatively low production has become the test bed for new CPU's on a new process. Last year it used the defective A5's with only one of the cores working on the 32 nm process which worked out the quirks for the revised A5 for the iPad 2 and A6 for iPhone 5.

Apparently the further revised A5 is testing out TSMC's 28nm process before the A7 comes out for the iPhone 5S using the same 28nm process.
__________________
Crimes against US History:
CV-6 USS Enterprise
Yankee Stadium
Penn Station-New York
quagmire is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 10, 2013, 01:14 PM   #20
AngerDanger
macrumors 65816
 
AngerDanger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: location, location!
On an all new episode of "How Insignificant Can we Make These Updates"
AngerDanger is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 10, 2013, 01:15 PM   #21
ghost187
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
I know this will improve battery life once implemented on the iPhone 5S (I highly doubt apple TV will move to 28nm and iphone get left behind) but my main gripe is the LTE and Dual Carrier 3G that eat up battery, plus the GPS, but I'm not sure if it is the GPS specifically or the network only that causes batter drains.
ghost187 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 10, 2013, 01:17 PM   #22
lolkthxbai
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: May 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tankmaze View Post
Whats the point in using shrunken chip, and not the new one.
My guess is this chip only makes it harder to jailbreak.

Still waiting jailbreak on my atv3
A die shrink typically means lower production costs and higher percent yield from the same size wafer. Considering they went from roughly 10mm X 12mm to 6mm X 6mm means they've nearly quadrupled their yield. Also, if I'm not mistaken, it uses less power and runs cooler(?)

Anyways, Apple could just be testing out TSMC's new process and might even decide to have them produce the "AX" chip for the rumored "iWatch" based on this. But that's just my guessing and speculation.
lolkthxbai is offline   4 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 10, 2013, 01:21 PM   #23
treichert
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Aachen, Germany
Send a message via ICQ to treichert Send a message via MSN to treichert
I never understood why anyone believed it would contain the A5X. What would an Apple TV catering to 1080p displays do with 4 times the GPU of an iPad 2?
treichert is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 10, 2013, 01:21 PM   #24
theBB
macrumors 68020
 
theBB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by commander.data View Post
I wonder if there are any plans to silent refresh the iPad Mini, iPhone 4S or 5th gen Touch with this 28nm A5? The 28nm A5 on the face of it seems like a great candidate for the low-cost iPhone, but several reports seem to name some form of A6.
Keeping an A5 in this low cost iPhone would help, but there has got be some other cost savings to bring its price below 4S. An iPhone with a larger screen, but the same resolution as 5 sounds more likely as a new iPhone model alongside 5S this year.
theBB is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 10, 2013, 01:24 PM   #25
commander.data
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by quagmire View Post
Apparently the further revised A5 is testing out TSMC's 28nm process before the A7 comes out for the iPhone 5S using the same 28nm process.
Has TSMC actually been confirmed? Samsung's 28nm process may not be as behind as MacRumors is saying. Samsung has already demoed their 28nm Exynos 8 and it seems likely to be introduced with the Galaxy S4 being announced this week.

Quote:
Originally Posted by theBB View Post
Keeping an A5 in this low cost iPhone would help, but there has got be some other cost savings to bring its price below 4S. An iPhone with a larger screen, but the same resolution as 5 sounds more likely as a new iPhone model alongside 5S this year.
I thought the glass/metal design of the iPhone4/4S was a major cost contributor? Going plastic should be a big help.
commander.data is offline   1 Reply With Quote

Reply
MacRumors Forums > News and Article Discussion > MacRumors.com News Discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Similar Threads
thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
iPad: Differense between the A5x and A6x chip? ms341547 iPad 1 Aug 15, 2013 10:23 AM
Tweaked Apple TV Offers 'Significant' but Nearly Invisible Power Savings With More Efficient Chip Designs MacRumors MacRumors.com News Discussion 85 Mar 18, 2013 11:36 AM
Smaller A5 Chip From Tweaked Apple TV Contains Only One CPU Core, Revamped Analog Circuitry MacRumors MacRumors.com News Discussion 72 Mar 15, 2013 04:01 AM
A5 Chip in Tweaked Apple TV Still Manufactured by Samsung at 32nm MacRumors MacRumors.com News Discussion 77 Mar 14, 2013 02:54 PM
New Apple TV Has A5X Chip and Single WLAN + Bluetooth Antenna MacRumors MacRumors.com News Discussion 226 Mar 8, 2013 05:25 PM

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:07 PM.

Mac Rumors | Mac | iPhone | iPhone Game Reviews | iPhone Apps

Mobile Version | Fixed | Fluid | Fluid HD
Copyright 2002-2013, MacRumors.com, LLC