Apple A4 = Samsung S5PC110 or S5PV210

Discussion in 'iPad' started by retroneo, Mar 1, 2010.

  1. retroneo macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2005
    I think the Apple A4 is the 1GHz 45nm Samsung/Intrinsity CortexA8 "Hummingbird" core announced in July 2009.

    Samsung started developing the iteration of the S5PC100 used in the iPhone 3GS in July - their custom S5PC100 also has 256MB of RAM in the same package and was ready in September. They announced the product in September and said it would be sampling in December. Intrinsity claims they can ship cores using this revised design in as little as four months.

    It's logical Apple will have wanted Samsung to redo the S5PC100 with the power saving tricks and 1GHz clock speed of the Samsung/Intrinsity revised design.

    The S5PV210 matches up nicely to the new memory architecture Apple talks about for the iPad (it's dual channel). If that's the case, then the S5PC110 is for the next iPhone.

    Apple uses a custom version of these processors with RAM in the same package. As before, the Apple A4 will likely be either the S5PC110 or S5PV210 combined with RAM in the same package. Samsung has always offered these "custom-designed" options to their customers.

    PS Apple has shipped iPhones before Samsung even lists the processors as available for sampling to other customers.

    These are things we know about the Apple A4:

    It's fabbed by Samsung
    Its got the PowerVR SGX
    It's a new low-power design
    Apple will be first to use it
    It's "custom designed" the broad sense of the word
    It's got a different memory architecture
    It's a 1GHz Cortex A8

    Times are right, specs are right, stories are right, no-ones lying.

  2. Barbie macrumors regular


    Jan 28, 2009
    doesn't apple own P.A. Semi, who make the chips and the new A4?

    that is what steve said in the keynote I believe...
  3. vini-vidi-vici macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2010
    Apple doesn't employ a small army of chip designers just to use some Samsung design.
  4. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Based on this article ars technica and this article engadget Apple is in fact using the Cortex A8. Engadget gives us possible reasons such as putting everything on a single piece of silicon and removing unused sections so that it consumes less power and runs cooler.
  5. t0mat0 macrumors 603


    Aug 29, 2006
    PA Semi were fabless, as are Apple. They can modify a chip design, which seems to be the case.
    Some of the rumors indicate that the iPad is a stripped down A8 (giving performance improvements through not having unnecessary clutter).

    The fact that they might have removed a part of the chip regarding a built in camera indicates that they hadn't been waivering about whether to have one or not, regardless of the SDK it seems.

    Could be that more work was needed for the iPhone's upcoming chip (which will need to deal with 1/2 CMOS sensors for back and potentially front cameras, antennae for wifi network etc).

    In July 09, the Hummingbird was the world's fastest ARM chips. Samsung having worked with Intrinsity - it'd be interesting to see if there are links between Apple and Intrinsity.

    delivers 2000DMIPS at 1GHz (iPhone 3GS pushing around 1200 with its based on the Samsung S5PC100 (The Cortex-A8, according to ARM, gets 2 DMIPS/MHz))

    Cortex A9 can reach 8,000 DMIPS

    Using roughly ARM Cortex A8: 2.0 DMIPS/MHz & ARM Cortex A9: 2.5 DMIPS/MHz
    So the Qualcom Snapdragon is A8, Nvidia Tegra 2 is Cortex A9 MPCore.

    Interesting to see what the ARM NEON multi-media extension brings.

    Will the iPhone be more powerfully specced in comparison to the iPad? It seems that OpenCL could help the iPad use a stronger GPU to help boost a similar CPU to the iPhone 4G.

  6. BruiserBear macrumors 6502a

    Jul 24, 2008
    Without even knowing the details, I laughed when I heard that 1 billion dollar figure reported regarding the "development" of the A4. Didn't believe that for one second.

    At the end of the day people have to remember that Apple are genius marketers. They know it sounds impressive when they call the A4 "custom silicon" with that famous Apple icon stamped on the chip. It gives the impression you're buying an even more special piece of hardware. It certainly looks special, but underneath the hood I suspect it's basically an amped up iPhone.
  7. t0mat0 macrumors 603


    Aug 29, 2006
    More like a slimmed down streamlined version that isn't undercloxked like the iPhone 3GS.
    They might be genius marketers but I'd the hing is Snappy (TM) then why not?
    I'd imagine they'd tested N A9 but saw a modified A8 as a potential fit?
    I'm more Curious as to what's going on eiththe iPhone, but we'll see when there are some more power and power consumption benchmarking of the A8 from Apple and A9s.
  8. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    Apple has more than 1 chip design team. They've been doing their own chip designs since the Apple IIe days.
  9. retroneo thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2005

    The Snapdragon uses a Scorpion core (Qualcomm is an architecture licensee and for the Snapdragon doesn't use an implementation from ARM). Scorpion is out-of-order like the A9, but also has a more advanced SIMD unit than NEON.

    Unlike the A8 / A9 designs, the Scorpion isn't designed by ARM at all, although it is fully compatible with ARM7.
  10. retroneo thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2005
    How could we prove this?

    It's not like there are any other customers I can think of that use the current S5PC100 in the 3GS let alone Apple's custom version complete with in-package RAM and Apple logo on the package.

    Apple could make the same claims about the iPhone 3GS using a custom designed processor. This is a cool new marketing trick. I like it, and it's working great. Everyone's a buzz :)

    Do you really think Apple would turn down a breakthrough processor that's the successor to their custom designed current processor in the iPhone - perfectly compatible with today's iPhone OS (and the OS is already optimized, with all drivers there), just to make something identical except missing Intrinsity's incredible power optimizations? Apple would be first to know since they are this design's biggest (only?) customer.
  11. t0mat0 macrumors 603


    Aug 29, 2006
    My apologies - you're correct :)
    It's in some ways similar, but not an A8. Presumably the Nexus One is the most well known example of a device with one? (With the Desire forthcoming).

    EDIT -

    Semes like there are a few patents potentially forthcoming. Whether important or not we'll see. They're all dealing with microprocessor architecture apparently. Seems there's been some work on data-level parallelism -

  12. retroneo thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2005
    Here's some background about the CPU:

    "The bad news is that Intrinsity has crafted Hummingbird for one special customer (Samsung), so the core isn’t immediately available to anyone else."

    "Intrinsity collaborated with Samsung to develop Hummingbird in less than a year. "

    " In theory, Samsung could drop Intrinsity’s 1.0GHz Hummingbird into the existing design with few or no changes, boosting throughput by 67% without busting the iPhone’s power budget."

    "Because Fast14 logic gates are 25% to 50% faster than static logic gates, the processor can do more work per clock cycle without altering the basic design of the instruction pipelines and functional blocks."

    Apple is the largest customer of the SoC that they redesigned. Interestingly the GPU in these two CPUs is a PowerVR SGX540 with 90 million triangles per second. iPad is going to be an insane gaming machine!



    (There are some errors in the article, but it's on the official Intrinsity site)
  13. retroneo thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2005
    Cool, this was right. Intrinsity is now Apple. :)
  14. tdream macrumors 65816

    Jan 15, 2009
    How much RAM is there? Hope there is at least double the 3GS.
  15. foxnews1 macrumors 6502

    Mar 16, 2010
    according to Nvidia, "A8 is dead in my eyes, Cortex A9 is what you want"

    Here is the article

    Apple system is more stable than others but is not usually the latest.
  16. myoldwatermill macrumors member

    Jan 2, 2010
    You are gonna probably get a flood people. Just want to say kudos for being a super detective!

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