iPad Mini Confirmed to Run 32-Nanometer A5 Chip from Samsung

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Apr 12, 2001
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While iFixit was busy tearing down the iPad mini earlier today, Chipworks was taking a closer look at the chips included in the device. The item of most interest is of course the A5 system-on-a-chip, and Chipworks has unsurprisingly confirmed that the iPad mini uses a chip manufactured by Samsung on a 32-nanometer process.

The A5 originally appeared based on a 45-nanometer process, but Apple quietly shifted to a smaller and more efficient 32-nanometer process earlier this year with the launch of the revised iPad 2 and the third-generation Apple TV back in April. The same chip made its way into the fifth-generation iPod touch last month, so it should not be a surprise that the A5 used in the iPad mini is the same part.
Remember the past, when Apple launched the Apple A5X to great fanfare? When the A5X launched, Apple also snuck in a change to the process generation in their A5 chip by putting a new 32 nm version inside the iPad2 and Apple TV3. Apple (likely) plays it this way because they don't want people evaluating their products based on "commodity" technical specifications, but based on the overall experience with the device.

Because of this past behavior, there has been some speculation on the web as to whether they would do the same thing with the latest generation of Apple A5 processor. A new process for a new product. Maybe even a new foundry partner?

The answer is no.
Cross-sections of the A5 chip from the iPad mini appear identical to those from other recent A5 chips, indicating that Samsung is indeed still the supplier for the main chip used in Apple's iOS devices. Apple's has been rumored to be trying to move chip production to TSMC, but the process has been a slow one as Apple seeks to strike a deal and ensure that technical considerations will not hinder the shift.

Article Link: iPad Mini Confirmed to Run 32-Nanometer A5 Chip from Samsung
 

Junipr

macrumors regular
May 4, 2011
147
574
Isn't it crazy that Apple is still working with Samsung??

The answer is yes.
 

D.T.

macrumors G4
Sep 15, 2011
10,587
10,347
Vilano Beach, FL
I would've preferred if it had an A6, and a better GPU with a retina screen. Heck, I don't even care if it was physically bigger with a larger display...

... oh wait.
 

Prallethrin

macrumors regular
Jun 8, 2011
104
0
Isn't it crazy that Apple is still working with Samsung??

The answer is yes.
Changing suppliers for complicated components takes time. They must give time to TSMC to get their affairs in order too.

Rest assured that Samsung won't manufacturing for Apple for long. They just kill any chance of future business with Apple.
 

MikeAK

macrumors regular
Oct 26, 2011
108
24
I can't believe people are buying the mini at this price point. It's already obsolete. I give it 3 months and we're going to start seeing people talk about how there mini is so sluggish.
 

iGrip

macrumors 68000
Jul 1, 2010
1,626
0
apple really needs Samsung's expertise. For all the bitching and moaning by some that they would never buy a Samsung product, because Samsung is some sort of evil incarnate of a company, and for all the prognostications that Apple will drop Samsung and somehow leave them high and dry, it seems that Apple needs Samsung. Without Samsung, Apple would be in big trouble.

Nobody has the expertise of Samsung. Nobody compares.
 

Chrjy

macrumors 6502a
May 19, 2010
794
1,147
UK
I would've preferred if it had an A6, and a better GPU with a retina screen. Heck, I don't even care if it was physically bigger with a larger display...

... oh wait.
Retina screen would have been nice but I don't understand why people get so hung up on specs! Essentially it's an iPad not a MacBook Pro, it's not like we're running CS6 on it or something. The A5 runs the iPad perfectly well...don't see the issue myself.
 

adildacoolset

macrumors 65816
I can't believe people are buying the mini at this price point. It's already obsolete. I give it 3 months and we're going to start seeing people talk about how there mini is so sluggish.
I wouldn't call it obsolete, but the nexus 7 is definitely the best buy for a 7 inch tablet right now.

The iPad mini does look really nice and has the advantage of better apps
 

pgiguere1

macrumors 68020
May 28, 2009
2,157
1,082
Montreal, Canada
Apple has switched their entire product line to 32nm.

The early iPad 4 release was probably only to abandon 45nm completely, as the iPad 3 was their last product to use a 45nm chip (A5X). The iPad 2, iPhone 5, Apple TV and iPod touch had all moved to 32nm already. Counterintuitively, the A6X is probably cheaper to produce than the A5X because of this.
 

nick_elt

macrumors 68000
Oct 28, 2011
1,578
0
Apple has switched their entire product line to 32nm.

The early iPad 4 release was probably only to abandon 45nm completely, as the iPad 3 was their last product to use a 45nm chip (A5X). Counterintuitively, the A6X is probably cheaper to produce than the A5X because of this.
Has the 4s moved to 32nm? I havent heard that.
 

adildacoolset

macrumors 65816
Apple has switched their entire product line to 32nm.

The early iPad 4 release was probably only to abandon 45nm completely, as the iPad 3 was their last product to use a 45nm chip (A5X). The iPad 2, iPhone 5, Apple TV and iPod touch had all moved to 32nm already. Counterintuitively, the A6X is probably cheaper to produce than the A5X because of this.
I still don't get what all the moaning is about. The iPad 3 is excellent, and is in no way obsolete. It can run all the apps the iPad 4 can, and has all the iOS features, with the same display. It'll only become obsolete next year, when iOS 7 is released and Apple cripple some features. IT WOULD HAVE ALSO BEEN THE CASE IF IT WAS LAUNCHED IN MARCH

People get so worked up over a speed difference
 

mac jones

macrumors 68040
Apr 6, 2006
3,257
1
apple really needs Samsung's expertise. For all the bitching and moaning by some that they would never buy a Samsung product, because Samsung is some sort of evil incarnate of a company, and for all the prognostications that Apple will drop Samsung and somehow leave them high and dry, it seems that Apple needs Samsung. Without Samsung, Apple would be in big trouble.

Nobody has the expertise of Samsung. Nobody compares.
Maybe because Samsung is so big, the divisions are treated like separate, autonmous companies, with the name just being coincidental. I've read this of course, but its a bit hard to visualize.
 

MikeAK

macrumors regular
Oct 26, 2011
108
24
I wouldn't call it obsolete, but the nexus 7 is definitely the best buy for a 7 inch tablet right now.

The iPad mini does look really nice and has the advantage of better apps
For this price and the release date it is absolutely obsolete. We can argue about whether retina shoulda/coulda. But the A5 and system memory is a disgrace. This is a cash grab for Apple plain and simple.
 

nylonsteel

macrumors 65816
Nov 5, 2010
1,083
197
re original article

ahh -
reminds me of the days I use to roam the great cathedrals of silicon fabs
Back in the day
 

Chrjy

macrumors 6502a
May 19, 2010
794
1,147
UK
For this price and the release date it is absolutely obsolete. We can argue about whether retina shoulda/coulda. But the A5 and system memory is a disgrace. This is a cash grab for Apple plain and simple.
I think people misunderstand memory. As long as the developer uses and releases memory as and when needed, 512MB is fine. Of course it's always nice to have more memory but ultimately only if you have a number of apps open which of course the iPad doesn't do the same way as a standard desktop/laptop.
 
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