iPad Air 2's A8X Chip Includes Semi-Custom Series6XT Graphics With Eight Cores

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Nov 12, 2014.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    New details have come to light regarding the iPad Air 2's graphics processing power since its launch last month, with a new report from AnandTech revealing the new tablet's graphics are even more powerful than previously thought.

    Benchmarks and teardowns on the tablet revealed details on the inner workings of the iPad Air 2 in the days following its launch, but a new image of the A8X die provided to AnandTech reveals the layout of the Apple-designed chip. The die photo shows the A8X includes eight-core graphics, even larger than the 6-core GX6650 graphics from Imagination Technologies previously assumed to be in the chip.
    AnandTech was unable to share the source's actual image of the die, but Chipworks has just provided MacRumors with a similar image showing the eight graphics cores taking up a substantial portion of the A8X's die. The photo also shows the new triple-core CPU and a number of other features included on the chip.

    A8X die photo from Chipworks

    Uncertainty over the A8X graphics stems from Imagination's public list of Series6XT graphics offerings, which tops out with the 6-core GX6650, but the new die photo reveals that Apple has employed a semi-custom design essentially pairing two quad-core packages on the chip to yield eight-core graphics.

    Thanks to its licensing agreements with Imagination, Apple is free to modify the GPU designs developed by the graphics company, and Apple's position as a key investor in Imagination almost certainly gives it advance access to Imagination's pipeline, allowing such custom designs to be launched just nine months after Series6XT was announced.

    Other gathered information includes details about the A8X's size and design. The die shot places the A8X at roughly 128mm2, only a bit larger than the 123 mm2 A6X used the last time Apple developed a custom "X" chip for the iPad. Compared to other models on the market, the A8X is a bit larger than NVIDIA's 118mm2 GK107 GPU but also smaller than Intel's 130mm2 2C+GT2 Haswell CPU. Design-wise, the A8X otherwise appears to have not drastically changed much from the A8, besides slight tweaks to make the eight-cluster design functional and the addition of a third CPU core.

    Just yesterday, Imagination announced its next-generation Series7XT designs, and given the timing of this year's announcements and releases, the new graphics are likely to make their way into Apple's A9-series chips for inclusion in its 2015 iOS devices.

    Article Link: iPad Air 2's A8X Chip Includes Semi-Custom Series6XT Graphics With Eight Cores
  2. dannys1 macrumors 68020


    Sep 19, 2007
    Can't innovate my ass (or do tech specs not count when Apple does them?)
  3. dannyyankou macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2012
    Scarsdale, NY
    I'm calling it now, iOS 9 will bring split screen multitasking to the iPad Air 2.
  4. DJJAZZYJET macrumors 6502

    Jun 4, 2011
    And people say Apples device hardware is outdated... :rolleyes:
  5. Kobayagi macrumors 6502a


    Dec 18, 2012
    Fine, as long as my Angry Birds look better than before.
  6. nunes013 macrumors 65816


    May 24, 2010
    Apple is not playing around when it comes to these chips. That A9X will be a monster if they stay on current trends.
  7. centauratlas macrumors 65816


    Jan 29, 2003
    On my iPad Air 2, both Monopoly and Battleship have their graphics messed up. While the power and speed are great, it would be nice if EA and Hasbro fixed them.
  8. chrmjenkins macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2007
    This die shot shows how hard it would be to do a 128-bit memory interface on a smaller die. It takes up so much of the edge of the chip. That is until they start doing 3D IC stuff.
  9. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020


    Sep 27, 2013
    Why did Apple ever make the quote "most forward thinking Iphone" for the iPhone 5s but no mention anything for this? 2GB of RAM, a tri core CPU pretty much on par with the MacBook air, 8 cluster graphics... The iPad Air 2 is Apples most forward thinking iOS device and it will have the largest longevity of any iOS device created to date.
  10. unplugme71 macrumors 68030

    May 20, 2011
    how does this increase performance with my Notes app? Wish Apple would innovate again :rolleyes:


    until iOS 10 when its no longer supported
  11. WardC, Nov 12, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2014

    WardC macrumors 68030


    Oct 17, 2007
    Fort Worth, TX
    Oh, down with this boring stuff....show us the chip layout for the new Xeons for the second generation Mac Pros...already!

    8-Core graphics is great, but can you edit a few 4K videos simultaneously on an iPad? I don't think so...
  12. Reason077 macrumors 68020


    Aug 14, 2007
    I'd settle for multi-user support on the iPad. It'd be so simple and elegant to do this with Touch ID ...
  13. PhamQu macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2013
    FL, USA
    iPad 2 on iOS 6 here. This iPad Air is looking pretty damn powerful, but I think I will hold out even longer for the next iPad coming next year
  14. acastic macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2004
    EA... that's your problem right there.
  15. mabaker macrumors 65816


    Jan 19, 2008
    Submit your voice kindly to feedback@intel.com
  16. Jamalien macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2014
    They really seemed to have nailed this iPad iteration. And don't know why they didn't make such a big deal out of this performance. BIG selling point
  17. dannyyankou macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2012
    Scarsdale, NY
    That too, but I said multitasking mainly referring to the extra graphics performance. If you're going to run 2 apps at once, you need double the graphics performance.
  18. Reason077 macrumors 68020


    Aug 14, 2007
    My vote goes to the original iPad 2.

    I bought mine the day they were released, more than 3 1/2 years ago. Still runs the latest iOS and most software brilliantly, and with great battery life.

    In fact, Apple were still selling the iPad 2 up until earlier this year.
  19. brianvictor7 macrumors 65816


    Oct 24, 2013
    United States
    Apple's processor chips have excelled in their mobile devices. Wish they would give us more on their Macs without having to spring for a Mac Pro or iMac Retina.
  20. Thunderhawks Suspended

    Feb 17, 2009
    Just put a hotel on Boardwalk. Maybe it will fix the problems
  21. gotluck macrumors 603


    Dec 8, 2011
    East Central Florida
    Looks great! Now we just need the OS to utilize it fully!

    Personally, keeping my Air gen1
  22. proline macrumors 6502a

    Nov 18, 2012
    Correct. When Apple does bigger/faster/thinner it's just bigger/faster/thinner. When Samsung does it it's the greatest innovation since the transistor.
  23. macduke macrumors G3


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    Many of us have been calling it for a while now. I have this thing and its a beast!
  24. proline macrumors 6502a

    Nov 18, 2012
    If you have a problem with the lack of innovation in desktop CPUs you need to whine about Intel, not Apple. Apple is stuck with what they get and other features, such as retina screen on the MBA, depend on Intel's offerings.
  25. dannyyankou macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2012
    Scarsdale, NY
    I haven't picked up my laptop in 4 days.

    True story.

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