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Teardown of new 1080p Apple TV finds cooler single-core A5 CPU

The new single-core A5 processor in the new Apple TV does not have a thermal pad, suggesting it runs even cooler than its predecessor despite offering high-definition 1080p video.

Though the previous, second-generation Apple TV featured a thermal pad with its A4 processor, the new 1080p-capable Apple TV does not have a thermal pad, marking one of the few major differences in the design of the new set-top box. The lack of a thermal pad was discovered in a teardown of the new Apple TV conducted by iFixit on Monday.

The design of the components in the new Apple TV suggests the custom single-core processor found in the set-top box puts off less heat than its predecessor. The device still has the same power supply, though, providing 3.4V at 1.57A.

Even though it apparently runs cooler, the new CPU is more capable and allows users to output 1080p high-definition video content.

And though it doesn't have a thermal pad, it does feature a metal heat sink that rests atop a small thermal plate, a design identical to the previous Apple TV.

Previous uses of the A5 chip in the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S featured a dual-core CPU design. The A5X chip in the new iPad also features a dual-core CPU, accompanied by a quad-core graphics processor.

An earlier disassembly of the new Apple TV discovered that the updated set-top box features the same 8 gigabytes of storage as its predecessor, but the system RAM has been doubled to 512 megabytes.

Apple TV 2

And supporting what was previously discovered, Monday's latest peek inside the Apple TV also found two antennae inside the device. The addition is presumed to boost signal strength in the latest Apple TV.

"We're suspecting that this Apple TV is preserving the 2.4GHz shared antenna, but has also added a second antenna for 5 GHz connectivity," the solutions provider wrote.

iFixit's teardown of the Apple TV declared the device "significantly easier to crack open" than the iPad 3. The diminutive size of the device aids in its repairability, as it has few components within its case.

Apple TV 3

Chips featured on the bottom side of the logic board are:

  • Apple A5 single-core processor
  • Toshiba THGVX1G6D2HLA01 8GB NAND Flash
  • Broadcomm BCM4330 (appears to be the same chip in the iPad 3rd Generation)
  • Apple 343S0479
  • Apple 338S1040
Apple TV 4

And on the back of the logic board, the following chips can also be found:

  • SMSC LAN9730 standalone USB to ethernet controller
  • V301
  • DELTA 8456E-R
  • 54418
  • TXC Mn40 25.000