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Old Mar 15, 2013, 12:13 PM   #1
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Tweaked Apple TV Offers 'Significant' but Nearly Invisible Power Savings With More Efficient Chip Designs




Following Chipworks' examination of the new A5 chip found in Apple's tweaked Apple TV, AnandTech has performed its own analysis of the device. While many of the A5 chip details have already been covered, AnandTech focuses more on the device as a whole, and interestingly finds that the internal changes have yielded a significant decrease in power consumption compared to its predecessor.
Quote:
The power savings are nothing short of significant. The previous generation Apple TV wasn't really a power hog, with platform power maxing out at around 1.6W, but the new model tops out at just a watt. Overall the power savings seem to be around 800mW across the board.

With no change to process technology, I can only assume that the reduction in power consumption came from other architectural or silicon optimizations.
Of course, AnandTech also notes that the power savings are essentially invisible to users given how little power the set-top box used to begin with.
Quote:
Assuming you're using the Apple TV for watching video 8 hours a day, every day of the year, you'd save about $0.26 per year on your power bill (assuming $0.11/kWh). You'd break even on the $99 cost of a new Apple TV in about 385 years. Maybe by then we'll actually have a true replacement to cable TV.
AnandTech also measured Wi-Fi performance on the tweaked Apple TV given that Apple has moved to a new Broadcom Wi-Fi chip and gone back to a one-antenna layout from the two-antenna configuration used in the previous model. Testing revealed that Wi-Fi range and performance is essentially identical between the old and new hardware.

Apple's reasons for introducing a brand-new chip design for the relatively low-volume Apple TV remain unclear, with AnandTech summarizing some of the recent speculation that Apple may be trying to shave costs by stripping out unnecessary components of the A5 or testing the new chip ahead of a broader rollout in other products.

Article Link: Tweaked Apple TV Offers 'Significant' but Nearly Invisible Power Savings With More Efficient Chip Designs
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Old Mar 15, 2013, 12:16 PM   #2
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Clearly just a testbed for something else. Exciting!
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Old Mar 15, 2013, 12:16 PM   #3
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Old Mar 15, 2013, 12:16 PM   #4
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Not bad... that smaller chip packs a punch affordably.
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Old Mar 15, 2013, 12:19 PM   #5
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...iWatch...
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Old Mar 15, 2013, 12:20 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by MacRumors View Post
Of course, AnandTech also notes that the power savings are essentially invisible to users given how little power the set-top box used to begin with.
AnandTech and MacRumors if they are quoting this just don't get it. These power savings are significant. Every little bit helps and it all ads up in the end. The smart people out there will notice this and be thankful for it.
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Old Mar 15, 2013, 12:20 PM   #7
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What does this suggest for battery life when used

in a phone? Isn't the screen still driving battery consumption?
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Old Mar 15, 2013, 12:21 PM   #8
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An iphone with a longer battery...... ?
I can dream
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Old Mar 15, 2013, 12:22 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by the8thark View Post
AnandTech and MacRumors if they are quoting this just don't get it. These power savings are significant. Every little bit helps and it all ads up in the end. The smart people out there will notice this and be thankful for it.
It's pennies a year. Not even worth considering.

You'd save more money by spending a couple extra seconds thinking about what you want to eat before opening the refrigerator door.
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Old Mar 15, 2013, 12:25 PM   #10
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Apple is most likely reducing power consumption for THERMAL benefits, not to save electricity. A cooler A5 means a smaller Apple TV.
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Old Mar 15, 2013, 12:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
The power savings are nothing short of significant. The previous generation Apple TV wasn’t really a power hog, with platform power maxing out at around 1.6W, but the new model tops out at just a watt.
That IS significant!

If you leave your iTV on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, when you are away for vacation, and all night long, you could save over 5 kiloWatt hours per year with the new model.

At today's prices, that's at LEAST 35 cents per year!

But all the Fandroids are going to flock here to say that the savings are WELL short of significant. Hey - haters gonna hate.
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Old Mar 15, 2013, 12:26 PM   #12
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...iWatch...
At under a watt of power consumption, I'd have to agree. There's no reason to worry about power consumption on an AppleTV. It isn't a mobile device and it probably was already the least power-hungry device in most people's households.
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Old Mar 15, 2013, 12:29 PM   #13
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Interesting ... at those power consumption levels, it only really makes sense for use in something portable and with a small screen or no screen at all, although maybe it might be destined for the low-cost iPhone. Smaller silicon dies are cheaper to produce, and the lower power drain might allow a smaller battery as well.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by the8thark View Post
AnandTech and MacRumors if they are quoting this just don't get it. These power savings are significant. Every little bit helps and it all ads up in the end. The smart people out there will notice this and be thankful for it.
The power savings are insignificant for a device that plugs into the wall. For a portable device, however, it is a much bigger deal. AnandTech's point is that the redesign doesn't make sense unless it the chip is destined for either a very high volume device (saving Apple money from the smaller silicon die) and / or a portable device where every milli-watt matters.
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Old Mar 15, 2013, 12:29 PM   #14
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I think its clear that this is just ramping up production of the chip for something that does need low power usage, the iWatch. That's also way they recently hired an OLED expert, because standerd LEDs consumer too much power and aren't flexible. Clear signs pointing towards imminent release. (By the holidays hopefully)
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Old Mar 15, 2013, 12:34 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by ollyb View Post
Clearly just a testbed for something else. Exciting!
My thought as well. Running iOS with Wi-Fi enabled at less than 1W is a big feat, pair that with Bluetooth 4.0 and it could be useful for the rumored iWatch.

Last edited by pgiguere1; Mar 15, 2013 at 01:26 PM. Reason: "Less than" sign broke formatting on the front page
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Old Mar 15, 2013, 12:38 PM   #16
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Short of some other device we don't know about yet this has got to be for the iWatch what else would require such a low power draw, small physical footprint, and low end CPU requirements.
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Old Mar 15, 2013, 12:43 PM   #17
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You’d break even on the $99 cost of a new Apple TV in about 385 years. Maybe by then we’ll actually have a true replacement to cable TV.
Awesome.

But seriously, it matters in a larger scale than one individual consumer. It matters over the scale of all consumers. Plus, if everything in my house were made with power efficiency in mind, my electric bill would be greatly reduced. Most electronics are more wasteful than they could be, because wasteful is immediately cheap, and immediate is all people pay attention to.

So small savings DO MATTER. Don't discount them as insignificant. Look at the bigger picture than your own personal space.
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Old Mar 15, 2013, 12:49 PM   #18
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There's no doubt they're testing chips for mobile devices... of some sort.
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Old Mar 15, 2013, 12:51 PM   #19
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Why would they strip out features to save money, it required the chip be redesigned which costs money and likely the chips in the old one were binned outcasts from the ipad where one core didnt function anyway so instead of canning them they disabled a core and put it in the apple tv
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Old Mar 15, 2013, 12:55 PM   #20
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On a person by person basis, no the power savings are not that much. BUT, spread over several million devices, it does add up to a greater good. Kudos Apple.


Also I agree this is probably a testbed for something Apple has in the pipeline.

Last edited by CIA; Mar 15, 2013 at 01:01 PM. Reason: clarity, grammar
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Old Mar 15, 2013, 12:59 PM   #21
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it all adds up
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Old Mar 15, 2013, 01:01 PM   #22
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We have 3 ATV's at home. The two co-owners at my job combined have 7.

Problem is, how much energy did it take to R&D, manufacture, transport, stock, and sell these units. If the world swapped to all new ATVs and saved energy, would it make up for all the energy used during the making of this product? Probably not. So while we may think we are being 'greener', have we really?
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Old Mar 15, 2013, 01:02 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by unplugme71 View Post
We have 3 ATV's at home. The two co-owners at my job combined have 7.

Problem is, how much energy did it take to R&D, manufacture, transport, stock, and sell these units. If the world swapped to all new ATVs and saved energy, would it make up for all the energy used during the making of this product? Probably not. So while we may think we are being 'greener', have we really?
If you go by this logic there's no reason to make anything more efficient.
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Old Mar 15, 2013, 01:02 PM   #24
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I think I heard on a tech podcast last week (maybe one of Rene Ritchie's) that standard HDMI under 1 watt can power a device. Not sure if they were getting that intertwined with MHL compliant HDMI. But it would be nice to only have the one wire between an AppleTV and the actual TV, so I could tuck it out of sight and control via bluetooth.
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Old Mar 15, 2013, 01:03 PM   #25
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Maybe they are trying to lower the consimption enough for getting power over WiFi ... Seriously though, I'd like to know if this could be powered over ethernet... Would be nice to skipe one extra cable from the wall socket.
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