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  • Manual Layout of Custom Dual-Core CPU Discovered in Teardown of Apple's A6 Chip


    The collaboration between iFixit and Chipworks led the two to conduct a teardown of the A6 chip. An ion blaster was used to remove layers of silicon to find out exactly what’s inside Apple’s custom-made chip. Under a microscope, they found that the device has a gigabyte of Elpida LP DDR2 SDRAM, the same RAM also used in the recently released Motorola Droid Razr Maxx.

    The A6 chip itself was fabricated by Samsung via their 32-nanometer CMOS process and it measures 9.70 by 9.97 millimeters. Although it was manufactured by Samsung, it is the first chip custom designed by Apple, based on the ARMv7s instruction set. This is Apple’s first-ever complete control of the design which allowed the company to customize the performance as they chose.

    The more prominent features inside the A7 include the dual ARM cores and the three PowerVR graphics chips. Chipworks found that the ARM processors are laid out manually, which results in faster processing speeds but is also more expensive and time consuming to develop. According to iFixit:

    The manual layout of the ARM processor lends much credence to the rumor that Apple designed a custom processor of the same caliber as the all-new Cortex-A15, and it just might be the only manual layout in a chip to hit the market in several years.
    The two companies also took a look at who manufactures the cameras featured on the iPhone 5 and found that the rear 8-megapixel camera is manufactured by Sony while the forward-facing FaceTime camera is built by Omnivision.

    Source: iFixit
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Manual Layout of Custom Dual-Core CPU Discovered in Teardown of Apple's A6 Chip started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 9 Comments
    1. rukavuda's Avatar
      rukavuda -
      Mind blown.... Amazing what we can so now! Let alone make this chip,
    1. Gaijinboy's Avatar
      Gaijinboy -
      Ion blaster... Where do I get one?
    1. Luismiguellopezx's Avatar
      Luismiguellopezx -
      Quote Originally Posted by rukavuda View Post
      Mind blown.... Amazing what we can so now! Let alone make this chip,
      Thats crazy!! To make such small things !! Only computer can do that
    1. Scotty Manley Silberhorn's Avatar
      Scotty Manley Silberhorn -
      The more prominent features inside the A7 include the dual ARM cores and the three PowerVR graphics chips.
      Do you guys not proof read your articles?
    1. Silverado1987's Avatar
      Silverado1987 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Scotty Manley Silberhorn View Post
      Do you guys not proof read your articles?
      Stop being such a grammar nazi. We all know what he means.
    1. lkailburn's Avatar
      lkailburn -
      I'm not sure what is meant by "manual layout". As opposed to what?

      -Luke
    1. Silverado1987's Avatar
      Silverado1987 -
      Quote Originally Posted by lkailburn View Post
      I'm not sure what is meant by "manual layout". As opposed to what?

      -Luke
      Means apple did it themselves to there liking I'm guessing
    1. spyder2005's Avatar
      spyder2005 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Scotty Manley Silberhorn View Post
      Do you guys not proof read your articles?
      Who cares? Is this middle school English class? Read the Wall Street Journal if things like this bother you. People read these tech news, because of their content, not for their grammatical correctness.
    1. tequilaguru's Avatar
      tequilaguru -
      Quote Originally Posted by lkailburn View Post
      I'm not sure what is meant by "manual layout". As opposed to what?

      -Luke
      Modern Electronic design tools have tons of automated routing and layout algorithms, but the often return a sub-optimal solution, Manual layout means they took the time to get it right =D