The iPad 3's A6 Processor to be Dual-Core?

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    TheVerge's Joshua Topolsky summarizes the iPad 3 casing findings reported earlier today, but also adds his own sources regarding some details of the iPad 3.


    Image from RepairLabs

    As expected, the iPad 3 will reportedly include a 2048x1536 Retina Display, be nearly identical physically, and use the A6 processor. The A6 processor, however, is claimed to have a dual-core chip, not a quad-core one, at least according to his sources:
    Previous rumors for the iPad 3 have claimed that the A6 processor would include a Quad-Core processor. iOS 5.1 also showed some early evidence of code-support for quad-core processing.

    While a dual-core A6 is certainly possible, Topolsky's iOS device sources haven't had the greatest track record. In early 2011, his sources claimed that the iPad 2 would include a "super high resolution display" as well as an SD card slot, and a "completely redesigned" iPhone 5 to come in summer 2011. Topolsky did backtrack on those predictions, but not until the week before the iPad 2's launch.

    Topolsky was also the original source of the the tapered iPhone 5 design and elongated home button. While we do believe that design was based in reality, it's hard to ignore that it never came to be.

    Article Link: The iPad 3's A6 Processor to be Dual-Core?
  2. Kentochan macrumors 6502


    Feb 19, 2011
    Virginia, USA
  3. firestarter macrumors 603


    Dec 31, 2002
    Green and pleasant land
    I'd rather see two faster cores than four slower cores.

    On a device with a single-app-at-a-time UI, just how many cores can the OS put to work? Even OSX on the desktop has trouble finding work for a lot of cores to do most of the time (outside of very specialist tasks like video compression).

    CPU design will always be a compromise, and it may be that the compromises needed to get to four cores aren't borne out by a worthwhile increase in speed. Are that many cores used on Android, or is it mainly a marketing gimmic?
  4. Epic Xbox Revie macrumors 6502a

    Epic Xbox Revie

    Jun 15, 2010
    Washington, D.C.
    "No one will buy it if there's no quad-cores"

    But seriously. Whatever Apple has will be a huge leap forward, as is usual. :apple:
  5. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Quad cores are pretty likely on the retina versions. Got to bump the CPU power by 4x to match the resolution gain well, and you can't do that all in mhz.
  6. Los macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2010
    This definitely. The iPad has enough space to put two fast Dual Core chips. Just wonder if it's actually possible.
  7. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    I want quad-core. As a tech nerd, I care about specs and bullet lists!

    As a user, I want performance and results. I won’t care much how it’s achieved. Double the cores does NOT double performance. There are diminishing returns. Number of cores is one tiny slice of the performance equation. The design of each core, and of the OS, are far more important speed factors. They just don’t sound as nice for bragging to the other kids!

    Not that I believe any rumors at this point anyway... but if dual-core means lower battery drain or lower cost, or if the extra cores just don’t add that much real-world performance gain, and if the iPad 3 and iOS are able to deliver great performance from two cores, I will be happy. If I can have all that AND enjoy the sound of the phrase “quad core,” that will be nice too! :)
  8. GenesisST macrumors 68000


    Jan 23, 2006
    Where I live
    Meh... It's still going to be the top of the line ipad even if devs will need some time to figure out what to do with the added power (even at 2 cores, if that's the case). We will still enjoy them.

    The same can be told of XBOX/PS3 compared to recent gaming rigs. The thing is that I still enjoy the games on these "old" boxes.
  9. Macopotamus macrumors regular


    Jun 22, 2010
    SD card slots, teardrop iPhone 5, iPad 3 what now? uh huh...

  10. firestarter macrumors 603


    Dec 31, 2002
    Green and pleasant land
    Except you're completely disagreeing with me?!?
  11. phobium macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2011
    This is one of the most uninformed posts I have ever read....
  12. gorskiegangsta macrumors 65816


    Mar 13, 2011
    Brooklyn, NY
    That may actually be a good thing.

    There are only two sensible options for Apple to seriously bump the CPU processing power in the next gen chip: either the quad-core chip based on Cortex A9 or a dual-core chip based on Cortex A15. From what the makers have been promising, the dual-core Cortex A15 would actually be more powerful than the quad-core Cortex A9.
  13. mentaluproar macrumors 68000


    May 25, 2010
    Ohio, USA
  14. chrmjenkins, Feb 8, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012

    chrmjenkins macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2007
    CPU has a much, much smaller role in driving the display compared to the GPU. PC games have only recently strongly favored quad core CPUs, and iPad tasks are nowhere near that.

    Think of the CPU as the architect and the GPU as the builders. It takes a lot less time and effort to design than it does to build.

    Hyper threading is a trademarked Intel implementation of simultaneous multi-threading. They are the only ones who do it to the point where you have extra cores appearing to the OS. No one else can use intel's patented, trademarked method.

    However, multiple issue CPUs with multiple data paths are a staple of modern CPUs and a good thing.
  15. jont-fu macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2008
    If the A6 uses ARM Cortex A15 architecture, it will be significantly faster than the A5 even with the same clock speed and number of cores.

    Also, the retina display doesn't require more cpu power, maybe just more GPU cores and memory.

    The most interesting new ARM technology is combining Cortex A7 and A15 cores on the same chip and transparently switching between them. The Cortex A7 is very energy efficient and the Cortex A15 is very powerful, so that would bring both performance and better battery life. I'm just not sure if this architecture can be implemented yet.
  16. LGN macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2010
  17. nickpro macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2007
    Bay Area
    you gotta remember one of Apple's fundamental rules - it will not include a feature in a new product that will too severely compromise one of its core features in the existing product.

    if a quad-core, like 4G connectivity for the iPhone 4S, will too severely impact battery life i can definitely see them going with a beefed up dual-core setup.
  18. daneoni, Feb 8, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012

    daneoni macrumors G4


    Mar 24, 2006
    No need to rush to Quad Core yet especially if LTE will come into play. Makes sense if the A6+LTE will be going into iPhone 6 as well. Higher clocked Dual Cores now then Quads in 2013 using A15.
  19. chrmjenkins macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2007
    A15 yes (but very aggressive). A7, no. 2014 for that.
  20. Chazn, Feb 8, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012

    Chazn macrumors regular

    Mar 25, 2011
    A Dual core? Oh no!

    I am seriously worried that the dual cores won't pack enough juice to handle the retina display's higher resolution games.

    My retina displayed iPhone 4 can't handle Modern Combat 3 or even Black Ops zombies because Apple just used the same old GPU in the 3GS to power twice as many pixels!*

    Not happy.
  21. MythicFrost macrumors 68040


    Mar 11, 2009
    I find it very hard to believe this. Apple's been competing well against the competition, and I'd hate to see them pull out now.

    If this turns out to be true, I doubt we'll be seeing a Cortex A15 based processor either. That means a dual-core Cortex A9 processor just like the A5, and it won't be clocked much higher.

    That would be very disappointing to say the least, considering a quad-core is required for real next generation games. Glowball for Tegra 3 is a good example of why we need it.
    The CPU won't really be tasked by the higher resolution, it's mostly going to be the GPU.

    It's actually twice the resolution, which is four times the pixels.
  22. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    You are getting bought into the core myth much like the mhz myth of the past.
    As others point out the CPU does not play as large of a role in driving the screen as the gpu does.

    Sadly the marketers got people believing more cores is better like higher clock rate and that is not always the case.
  23. Menel macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    Apple has been competing well while ignoring LTE, 4-7" form factor, removable battery, microSD expansion, file system, and more.

    They will do what makes sense.

    I have expected for months A6 might be a dual A15 setup.
  24. daneoni macrumors G4


    Mar 24, 2006
    I think thats less the A4's fault and more the 535's. I'd wager things are much better when the 543 comes to play.
  25. pmz macrumors 68000

    Nov 18, 2009
    If the A6 is a 2 Ghz dual core processor, that would be better than a 1 Ghz quad core, for what the iPad does.. Yes it would.

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