iPad A5X processor built on Samsung's 45nm technology
As part of its comprehensive component-by-component analysis of the third-generation iPad, Chipworks has discovered that Apple's new A5X processor is being manufactured using Samsung 45nm CMOS process.
Measurements of the connected gates taken during cross-section analysis of the A5X confirm that it is a 45nm chip, similar in architecture to Apple's previous generation A4 and A5 silicon.
Unlike the older A-series chips, which sport a package-on-package design with the processing unit stacked below the LP-DDR2 SDRAM, the A5X configuration moves the 1GB of physical memory to a motherboard location opposite the processor.
Apple is continuing to source its memory from different suppliers as the Chipworks A5X used Samsung LP-DDR2, while an identical unit analyzed by iFixit implemented Elpida SDRAM.
Discrete DDR2 RAM modules, in this case Samsung-sourced. | Source: Chipworks
The A5X's die measures 12.82mm-by-12.71mm, which is a 35 percent increase in area compared to the A5 chip's 10.01mm-by-11.92mm die. Contributing to the increase in size is the addition of a quad-core GPU to the existing dual-core CPU.
Apple's new A5X chip boasts a 45nm LP CMOS architecture. | Source: Chipworks
Despite sharing the same CPU clock speed with the older A5 chip, the graphics and memory boosts in the new iPad's A5X processor should allow higher performance in graphics-intensive applications.