Tweaked Apple TV Offers 'Significant' but Nearly Invisible Power Savings With More Efficient Chip Designs

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Following Chipworks' examination of the new A5 chip found in Apple's tweaked Apple TV, AnandTech has performed its own analysis of the device. While many of the A5 chip details have already been covered, AnandTech focuses more on the device as a whole, and interestingly finds that the internal changes have yielded a significant decrease in power consumption compared to its predecessor.
    Of course, AnandTech also notes that the power savings are essentially invisible to users given how little power the set-top box used to begin with.
    AnandTech also measured Wi-Fi performance on the tweaked Apple TV given that Apple has moved to a new Broadcom Wi-Fi chip and gone back to a one-antenna layout from the two-antenna configuration used in the previous model. Testing revealed that Wi-Fi range and performance is essentially identical between the old and new hardware.

    Apple's reasons for introducing a brand-new chip design for the relatively low-volume Apple TV remain unclear, with AnandTech summarizing some of the recent speculation that Apple may be trying to shave costs by stripping out unnecessary components of the A5 or testing the new chip ahead of a broader rollout in other products.

    Article Link: Tweaked Apple TV Offers 'Significant' but Nearly Invisible Power Savings With More Efficient Chip Designs
  2. ollyb macrumors member

    Jun 15, 2011
    Clearly just a testbed for something else. Exciting!
  3. Thunderhawks Suspended

    Feb 17, 2009
  4. Squilly macrumors 68020


    Nov 17, 2012
    Not bad... that smaller chip packs a punch affordably.
  5. marvz macrumors 6502a


    Aug 27, 2012
  6. the8thark macrumors 68040


    Apr 18, 2011
    AnandTech and MacRumors if they are quoting this just don't get it. These power savings are significant. Every little bit helps and it all ads up in the end. The smart people out there will notice this and be thankful for it.
  7. jeffreyropp macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2009
    What does this suggest for battery life when used

    in a phone? Isn't the screen still driving battery consumption?
  8. onirocdarb macrumors regular

    Feb 5, 2013
    An iphone with a longer battery...... ?
    I can dream
  9. WestonHarvey1 macrumors 68020

    Jan 9, 2007
    It's pennies a year. Not even worth considering.

    You'd save more money by spending a couple extra seconds thinking about what you want to eat before opening the refrigerator door.
  10. BadBadPhillyBro macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2012
    Apple is most likely reducing power consumption for THERMAL benefits, not to save electricity. A cooler A5 means a smaller Apple TV.
  11. iGrip macrumors 68000


    Jul 1, 2010
    That IS significant!

    If you leave your iTV on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, when you are away for vacation, and all night long, you could save over 5 kiloWatt hours per year with the new model.

    At today's prices, that's at LEAST 35 cents per year!

    But all the Fandroids are going to flock here to say that the savings are WELL short of significant. Hey - haters gonna hate.
  12. ConCat macrumors 6502a


    Jul 27, 2012
    In an ethereal plane of existence.
    At under a watt of power consumption, I'd have to agree. There's no reason to worry about power consumption on an AppleTV. It isn't a mobile device and it probably was already the least power-hungry device in most people's households.
  13. ronm99 macrumors 6502

    Jan 13, 2012
    Interesting ... at those power consumption levels, it only really makes sense for use in something portable and with a small screen or no screen at all, although maybe it might be destined for the low-cost iPhone. Smaller silicon dies are cheaper to produce, and the lower power drain might allow a smaller battery as well.


    The power savings are insignificant for a device that plugs into the wall. For a portable device, however, it is a much bigger deal. AnandTech's point is that the redesign doesn't make sense unless it the chip is destined for either a very high volume device (saving Apple money from the smaller silicon die) and / or a portable device where every milli-watt matters.
  14. roow110 macrumors regular

    Jul 1, 2011
    I think its clear that this is just ramping up production of the chip for something that does need low power usage, the iWatch. That's also way they recently hired an OLED expert, because standerd LEDs consumer too much power and aren't flexible. Clear signs pointing towards imminent release. (By the holidays hopefully)
  15. pgiguere1, Mar 15, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013

    pgiguere1 macrumors 68020


    May 28, 2009
    Montreal, Canada
    My thought as well. Running iOS with Wi-Fi enabled at less than 1W is a big feat, pair that with Bluetooth 4.0 and it could be useful for the rumored iWatch.
  16. Grahamwho macrumors member

    Aug 22, 2011
    Short of some other device we don't know about yet this has got to be for the iWatch what else would require such a low power draw, small physical footprint, and low end CPU requirements.
  17. dysamoria macrumors 6502a


    Dec 8, 2011

    But seriously, it matters in a larger scale than one individual consumer. It matters over the scale of all consumers. Plus, if everything in my house were made with power efficiency in mind, my electric bill would be greatly reduced. Most electronics are more wasteful than they could be, because wasteful is immediately cheap, and immediate is all people pay attention to.

    So small savings DO MATTER. Don't discount them as insignificant. Look at the bigger picture than your own personal space.
  18. lunarworks macrumors 65816

    Jun 17, 2003
    Toronto, Canada
    There's no doubt they're testing chips for mobile devices... of some sort.
  19. newdeal macrumors 68020

    Oct 21, 2009
    Why would they strip out features to save money, it required the chip be redesigned which costs money and likely the chips in the old one were binned outcasts from the ipad where one core didnt function anyway so instead of canning them they disabled a core and put it in the apple tv
  20. CIA, Mar 15, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013

    CIA macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2003
    On a person by person basis, no the power savings are not that much. BUT, spread over several million devices, it does add up to a greater good. Kudos Apple.

    Also I agree this is probably a testbed for something Apple has in the pipeline.
  21. turtlez macrumors 6502a


    Jun 17, 2012
  22. unplugme71 macrumors 68030

    May 20, 2011
    We have 3 ATV's at home. The two co-owners at my job combined have 7.

    Problem is, how much energy did it take to R&D, manufacture, transport, stock, and sell these units. If the world swapped to all new ATVs and saved energy, would it make up for all the energy used during the making of this product? Probably not. So while we may think we are being 'greener', have we really?
  23. CIA macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2003
    If you go by this logic there's no reason to make anything more efficient.
  24. tasset macrumors 6502a

    May 22, 2007
    I think I heard on a tech podcast last week (maybe one of Rene Ritchie's) that standard HDMI under 1 watt can power a device. Not sure if they were getting that intertwined with MHL compliant HDMI. But it would be nice to only have the one wire between an AppleTV and the actual TV, so I could tuck it out of sight and control via bluetooth.
  25. najkee macrumors newbie

    Jan 14, 2013
    Maybe they are trying to lower the consimption enough for getting power over WiFi :D... Seriously though, I'd like to know if this could be powered over ethernet... Would be nice to skipe one extra cable from the wall socket.

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