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  • Teardowns Show Samsung Built the A5


    The iPad's A5 chip was manufactured by Samsung, according to two independent teardowns and analyses of the latest generation system-on-a-chip. Despite rumors that Apple was going with Taiwan Semiconductor to fab the A5, decapsulations of the SoC by UBM TechInsights and Chipworks clearly show telltales of a Samsung fab process.

    The process analysis and lab techs at UBM TechInsights dissected the A5 using optical die and scanning electron microscope cross-section images to look at the edge seal of the silicon die and the pitch of the first metal interconnect, as well as taking logic and SRAM transistor gate measurements. They then compared what they found to other manufacturers, including other chips fabbed by Samsung using its 45nm process, such as the A4 SoC found in the iPhone and the original iPad. The indicators all lined up clearly, showing that Samsung must have been responsible for the chip's fabrication.

    Chipworks this week also did a decap of the A5 and their chipheads experts also concluded, by comparing the shape of the transistor gates and dielectric layers in the A5 to last year's A4 CPU, that Samsung is the manufacturer. Both analyses found 512 MB of Low Power DDR2 DRAM, but UBM, which decapped two different A5s from two separate iPad 2s found different DRAM chips in each: one from Samsung and one from Elpida. This indicates that Apple is being flexible in its component sourcing, which may prove vital as Japan struggles to restart its manufacturing industry after the devastating Sendai earthquake.

    The rumors about Apple going to a new chip foundry aren't put to rest by these revelations, however. These reports, which go back to the early part of this year, rely both on industry gossip and raw business pragmatics to assert that Apple will get future chips from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world's largest independent foundry. TSMC has the most capacity for 40-nm molds, which will be key for the A5's future development as the current 45-nm chip is almost twice the size of the A4. Additionally, as Samsung is pitting its Galaxy smartphones and Galaxy Tabs against the iPhone and iPad, Apple is at the mercy of a major competitor for an essential component of its products. With that competition heating up, it's reasonable to expect that relationship may be on its way out sooner rather than later.

    Source: AppleInsider
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Teardowns Show Samsung Built the A5 started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 28 Comments
    1. feidhlim1986's Avatar
      feidhlim1986 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ddaniel87 View Post
      First of all let's compare a phone vs a phone, your comparison doesn't make any sense, it's like comparing a full size car vs a small car, they are completely two categories
      Umm first of all the Samsung Galaxy S 2 is a phone (or I should say will be a phone as it's not out yet) The specs I listed weren't for the Galaxy Tab(let) tho they are very similar.

      Quote Originally Posted by AkkeDaBest View Post
      Oh wow a future device beats the last years' iPhone in hardware
      The software still is better in the iPhone
      Jailbroken iOS FTW!
      Yeah I know it's not out yet But it's the first Android based phone that has made me second guess an iPhone 5. My biggest gripe with it though is that it's taller and wider than an iPhone 4 by nearly a full centimeter both directions (cos it has a 4.3" screen), but it is thinner.
      So hopefully the iPhone 5 matches or beats it's specs cos iOS is still the winner
    1. saunupe1911's Avatar
      saunupe1911 -
      Even the iPhone 2g's processor was shared with the Samsung Blackjack. I guess Samsung is tired of Apple getting rich off their R&D.
    1. tremerone's Avatar
      tremerone -
      Quote Originally Posted by AkkeDaBest View Post
      Oh wow a future device beats the last years' iPhone in hardware

      The software still is better in the iPhone

      Jailbroken iOS FTW!



      If you bought an Apple device and all you got was iOS.
      Would you feel the same if you couldn't jailbreak?
      Because you can buy an Android device with goodies...and no need to jailbreak. You get them straight out the box. In reality when I got my first Android device I noticed how many of the jailbroken goodies were stock on Android devices.

      Not to mention there is a small figure of people who actually jailbreak their devices (or even know what it is). So all of those people are getting vanilla iOS. They have no idea what is out there. So if they could pick up a Droid device and see the goodies without the leg work...that is what I would say is it's selling point.

      I had my 3gs and it needed repair....I used it until it was pretty much useless. I took it to be replaced (around 4.1, I believe). And they gave me a new phone....at that time there was no jailbreak and no unlock for iOS. And that is when I said f*ck it. I didn't want to wait 1 week, 2 weeks, whatever...for a jailbroken phone...so that I could in turn get my unlock. That to me was the real kicker. I made the choice between having a non-working phone and keeping my jailbreak....I figured for the money I spent and the extra warranty I bought replacing it was the way to go. I took a chance and came up short. So in closing..I can have my droid device...come repair, come restore, I still can have all the goodies that I love.
    1. santacruzlocal's Avatar
      santacruzlocal -
      Glad it wasn't sony !!!
    1. AkkeDaBest's Avatar
      AkkeDaBest -
      Quote Originally Posted by tremerone View Post
      If you bought an Apple device and all you got was iOS.
      Would you feel the same if you couldn't jailbreak?
      Because you can buy an Android device with goodies...and no need to jailbreak. You get them straight out the box. In reality when I got my first Android device I noticed how many of the jailbroken goodies were stock on Android devices.

      Not to mention there is a small figure of people who actually jailbreak their devices (or even know what it is). So all of those people are getting vanilla iOS. They have no idea what is out there. So if they could pick up a Droid device and see the goodies without the leg work...that is what I would say is it's selling point.

      I had my 3gs and it needed repair....I used it until it was pretty much useless. I took it to be replaced (around 4.1, I believe). And they gave me a new phone....at that time there was no jailbreak and no unlock for iOS. And that is when I said f*ck it. I didn't want to wait 1 week, 2 weeks, whatever...for a jailbroken phone...so that I could in turn get my unlock. That to me was the real kicker. I made the choice between having a non-working phone and keeping my jailbreak....I figured for the money I spent and the extra warranty I bought replacing it was the way to go. I took a chance and came up short. So in closing..I can have my droid device...come repair, come restore, I still can have all the goodies that I love.
      4.1 is jailbroken, dont you whine.

      Android sucks overall, and iOS has everything that android has and more.

      And the ppl who dont know about jailbreaks, they just dont care that something isnt in the vanilla iOS.
    1. EskimoRuler's Avatar
      EskimoRuler -
      Quote Originally Posted by santacruzlocal View Post
      Glad it wasn't sony !!!
      I hear that!!
    1. jsweeney800's Avatar
      jsweeney800 -
      Apple said they build the A5. Those liars.
    1. Snozberries's Avatar
      Snozberries -
      Quote Originally Posted by Paul Daniel Ash View Post

      Additionally, as Samsung is pitting its Galaxy smartphones and Galaxy Tabs against the iPhone and iPad, Apple is at the mercy of a major competitor for an essential component of its products. With that competition heating up, it's reasonable to expect that relationship may be on its way out sooner rather than later.
      Apple should just buy samsung or the tiawanese semiconductor!

      +100