PA Semi's 1GHz Apple A4

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by Tilpots, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    #1
    So it appears that the PA Semi guys really wee working at Apple, and they've produced the 1GHz Apple A4 custom-designed, high-performance, low-power system-on-a-chip. Anybody have a clue about it yet? iPad only? iPhone prospects? Something else???

    I'm wondering how this stacks up to the new Snapdragon chips. If it's low pwer enough to hold standby time for a month, it's gotta be ultra low power. From the reports I read, the presentation materials looked fluid as well. Would love to see what these new chips are really all about...
     
  2. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #2
    Something tells me Apple will not release many details, if any.
     
  3. SpyHunter39 macrumors newbie

    SpyHunter39

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    #3
    Which is disappointing. The fact that Apple developed their own chip is probably a bigger deal then all of the rest of the iPad
     
  4. Tilpots thread starter macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    #4
    We may not get the details from Apple, but comparison's and benchmarks with what's already out there should be pretty easy to test. Hopefully, somebody will get their hands on one to test before this 60 day waiting period.
     
  5. runplaysleeprun macrumors 6502a

    runplaysleeprun

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    #5
    I agree, I think they've released all the info on the processor that they plan on releasing, and let the devices performance speak for itself.

    Also, rdowns, is your 'tar you?!
     
  6. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    #6
    That Apple announced that the iPad is based on its own proprietary chip is significant. However, proprietary microprocessors are hardly a novel concept. To people who can't see revolutions happening in front of their own eyes, however, there were many things in today's announcement that are very significant.

    Let's take one that was not hardware. Today Apple announced a new opensource format for ebooks. This means that anyone can develop software to support the format. Any publisher can distribute books in the format. Books developed for the iPad can be read using any competing device.

    Or, you can whine.
     
  7. Stuart in Oz macrumors 6502

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    #7
    Yes, the chip is interesting. The performance seems to be exceptional in the videos and the first hands-on reports (see the current top stories on the front page) agree.

    Which rather suggests that there will possibly be significant improvements in this year's iPhone. Which I will be very keen to see.
     
  8. bmb012 macrumors 6502

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    #8
    Haven't heard anything about the graphics performance yet, though. I'd imagine it has a much beefier GPU since the resolution is so much higher, but I'm wondering how games running at full res on the pad would compare to games running on a smaller screen. Would it have enough horsepower to look even better, or does the extra resolution tax it enough that they'll have to be lower quality overall?
     
  9. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

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    #9
    Very true. What does this hold for the next iPhone?
     
  10. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #10
    You have been a member here for this long and you don't know he's a guy?
     
  11. wwooden macrumors 68000

    wwooden

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    #11
    The chip could possibly be put into the AppleTV as well since it can apparently handle HD video without an issue.
     
  12. ravenvii macrumors 604

    ravenvii

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    #12
    One does wonder what happened to the A1, A2 and the A3.
     
  13. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #13
    Once the iPad comes out, people will be able to disassemble and analyze the A4
     
  14. SpyHunter39 macrumors newbie

    SpyHunter39

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    #14
    I'm not whining (since I know the MBP will get updated sometime soon anyways), just basically saying what you said - more happened today than "iPad".
    I hadn't noticed the ebook thing (I mildly watched a live blog on the event), but you make a good point on that as well.
     
  15. belvdr macrumors 603

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    #15
    ePub is not an Apple designed format and it's a little over 2 years old now. Some of the criticisms in the Wiki article are interesting to read. Of the devices listed, iPad is the only name I recognize.
     
  16. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    #16
    Comic books? Comic books?! I'm sorry. I'm sure the comic book issue will be resolved.
     
  17. jaw04005 macrumors 601

    jaw04005

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    #17
    It should be noted that PA Semi was a secretive company even before their purchase by Apple.

    That’s probably why they picked them. They weren’t ones to share their processor designs like some of the other ARM companies.

    I would almost bet money that this new A4 chip will be at the heart of the next iPhone, iPod touch and maybe even Apple TV, clocked appropriately for each device (of course).
     
  18. Tilpots thread starter macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    #18
    Gathered a few interesting articles from around the web about this new chip and what folks have discovered so far...

    Geeky gadgets

    Engadget

    Tom's Hardware

    EDIT- Just found this one:

    Bright Side of News NOTE: Apparently this story contains innacurate info so reader beware. Arn has posted a nice summary on the homepage here at MR.

     

    Attached Files:

  19. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

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    #19
    I would like it if Apple put this into the MBP as a co-processor. I had a lot written, but then I realized, what if Apple makes the i7 a co-processor, and uses the A4 as a main CPU. It certainly has the horsepower for mundane tasks like surfing the internet and word/excel. Then, when you need the extra CPU boost, the core i7 powers on. This would also allow the MBP to sleep for great lengths of time, like the PowerBooks could.
     
  20. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

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    #20
    Interesting point. To be honest, with the far better power management in the i-series of chips, especially the later ones, an i-series mobile chip shouldn't be taking much power on standby anyway. Perhaps even almost as little as the A4.

    Issue 1. Standby power isn't just about the chip, it's also about keeping the RAM alive. Laptop DRAM is bigger and faster and takes more power than mobile device flash RAM, which is able to sleep on zero power. The laptop mobo also needs some power, as does the Wake-on-LAN feature and whatever else drains some juice.

    Issue 2. How would the A4 be integrated? The macbooks are Intel devices, with Intel chip on an Intel mobo. The two form a tightly bound whole. There's no way you'll be able to get an Intel mobo to support an A4 chip, and ditto the other way round - the A4 mobo won't support an Intel chip either. The only way I can see it being done is for each chip to have its own mini motherboard ...

    Issue 3. A large part of the power of a laptop or desktop chip comes from it being well fed with data from large and speedy DRAM. Take the DRAM away, and use flash RAM, and the fast chip is basically crippled waiting for data. So you've got to either have DRAM and keep it powered up, draining the battery, or leave it turned off, and have a pause while the DRAM is woken up and filled from the slow flash memory, or not have DRAM at all and cripple the fast chip.

    Given all these tradeoffs, it's hardly worth it.
     
  21. belvdr macrumors 603

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    #21
    Oh I'm sure it will too. But it's interesting that comic books were mentioned. I chuckled when I read that.
     
  22. Tilpots thread starter macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    #22
    Macworld's got a nice round up of what's currently known about the chip and a nice history on the PA Semi aquisition and why apple bought them in the first place.

    Macworld

     
  23. runplaysleeprun macrumors 6502a

    runplaysleeprun

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    #23
    Hey, I'm not one to judge how he chooses to dress, I was just curious! :)
     
  24. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    #24
    I do find it interesting that you fear the coming of the comics apocalypse whereas others have a diametrically opposite view.
     
  25. lord patton macrumors 65816

    lord patton

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    #25
    Definitely. If the AppleTV has a future, it's with Apple's ARM-based silicon.

    It would be nice to have an always-on media appliance that doesn't *rival a frackin' space heater* in its energy consumption.
     

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