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We are used to the usual teardowns, that usually involve ripping a physical device apart, but iFixit has torn down the actual A7 silicon that we find in the Apple iPhone 5S. iFixit used an Ion Beam Etcher, which takes layers off of a semiconductor, analyzing just how it is made. iFixit worked with Chipworks on the A7 teardown, discovering quite a bit:
- First, a biggy: "We have confirmed through early analysis that the device is fabricated at Samsung's Foundry. We suspect we will see Samsung's 28 nm Hi K metal Gate (HKMG) being used."
- The distance between each of the chip's transistors is 114 nm, compared to the A6's 123 nm.
- That 9 nm difference - from a 28 nm process to a 32 nm process - means the same computational power can be squeezed into just 77 per cent of the original area. But given the A7 is larger than the A6, it's clear where all that poke came from.
- In total, the A7 packs one billion plus transistors onto a 102 square millimetre field.
- Chipworks claims that the M7 section of the silicon is an NXP LPC18A1 - part of the LPC1800 series of high-performing ARM Cortex-M3 based microcontrollers.
- In fact, the M7 packs accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer, and does some fancy maths before neatly passing orientation data to the main chip.
- The Wi-Fi module is exactly the same as that in the iPhone 5.
- The 4G LTE modem uses two chips: a Samsung-fabricated LTE baseband processor and a Samsung DRAM module to retain carrier specific information.
Today we got a glimpse of AMD's new 45W TDP Richland APUs thanks to a Connecticut retailer accidentally listing SKUs, specifications, and prices for two of the upcoming low-power devices. The listing detailed the new A8-6500T and A10-6700T APUs, which are both FM2 socket APUs that are clocked at 3.1GHz and 3.5GHz, respectively.
Both the A8-6500T and the A10-7600T feature a 4MB cache and a TDP of just 45 Watts. Pricing for the new chips appears to be set at $108.59 for the retail boxed version of the A8-6500T, while a systems builder tray would run customers $114.58 per APU. The A10-6700T is a bit more expensive with the tray version running $166.97, while the retail version would run $155.91. With all of the information released last week on Ivy Bridge-E from Intel, does AMD still stand a chance, or will AMD return to the throne once again with these new APUs? Let us know in the comments.
IDF 2013 - Shortly after his first stop at Intel's integrated graphics booth, Trace Hagan was able to stop by another Intel IGP demo where we were shown a Haswell processor transcoding 4K video faster than real-time speeds. The encoding process used less than 5-percent of the CPU and attributed this massive performance increase to Intel's Hardware Encode and Decode engine.
IDF 2013 - As usual, Intel gave us a glimpse at its upcoming Broadwell and 14nm process. Specifically, the chip making giant pitted Haswell versus Broadwell in Cinebench and showed that the Broadwell system consumed less power. While they didn't specifically call attention to it, you can clearly see that the Broadwell system is completing the benchmark quicker than the Haswell system, though it's not too much faster.
For the leader in desktop processors, Intel has been lagging behind the likes of ARM when it comes to mobile processors. This is all set to change with its Bay Trail range of processors, which are multi-core, low-power chips built on Intel's 22nm Tri-Gate technology and new "Silvermont" micro-architecture.
Intel is pushing its Z3000 Bay Trail-based processor, which will arrive in both a dual- and quad-core configuration and will see Intel pushing double the CPU performance, and a reported tripling in GPU performance when compared to the previous generation Intel Atom-based processors. Where Intel's new Z3000 processor will shine is in its ability to run both Windows 8.1 and Android on devices between 7 and 11.6 inches in size.
Intel will be delivering performance increases, a smaller footprint and considerably lower power consumption, but the chipmaker claimed that its Z3000 "delivers leading performance with all-day battery life." Intel also claims that it will be delivering 64-bit compatibility to the Z3000 early next year, which will give Apple's A7 processor found in the iPhone 5S a run for its money.
IDF 2013 - Intel has just pulled the veil off of its new Quark X1000 SoC. This new chip is quite a bit smaller and more power efficient than Intel's existing Atom processor. Intel has already built reference designs that are ready to be put to work in the field. The new Quark X1000 SoC is fully synthesizable, meaning other companies can put their own intellectual property onto the die.
Intel's Principal Engineer Francois Piednoël has teased some of the first kinda-official performance numbers of its upcoming Atom Z3770 processor, which is a Silvermont-based Bay Trail implementation running at 1.47GHz.
Francois showed AnandTech some of the numbers running the processor through Cinebench 11.5, providing a score of 1.47. Considering AMD's A4-5000 Kabini-based SoC running at 1.5GHz pumps out a score of 1.5, this isn't too bad at all. The Bay Trail SKU that was tested provides performance close to a 2GHz (or so) mobile Penryn-based Core 2 Duo processor.
This means that this tablet SoC provides performance in a multi-threaded environment that compares with a full-fledged 2010 Apple MacBook Air.
IFA 2013 - TweakTown's Johannes Knapp was on hand earlier today for a live demonstration of NVIDIA's upcoming Project Logan. Project Logan is of course NVIDIA's next-generation System on a Chip (SoC) Tegra Processor that is based off of the Kepler architecture.
In the video, we can see that the renderings on the tablet are very close to the same quality you would see on a high-end GPU inside of a PC. Of course, however, when the number of polygons being rendered is increased, the frame rate takes a hit, but as the demo shows, this can be compensated for using tessellation. Check out the video above for more information on NVIDIA's Project Logan.
Details on Intel's upcoming kinda flagship processor, the Core i7-4930K has popped up on e-tailer website BottomLine Telecommunications. Intel's Core i7-4930K is based on Intel's Ivy Bridge-E platform, so it's kinda late.
We already have the Haswell-based Core range of processors, but Intel has no competition in the super high-end range, so there's no push and shove from behind them to release a new processor. Now, let's talk specs! We can see that the Core i7-4930K is a six-core part, so we have 12 threads in total at 3.4GHz each.
There's 12MB of L3 cache, which should impress most, and it arrives in the now older LGA 2011 socket which will enjoy those high-end X79-based motherboards. These CPUs will have a place for some, but not for most.
Another big rumor for this morning, is that Apple's upcoming iPhone 5S smartphone would run the next-generation A7 processor from Apple. The A7 processor is said to be roughly 31% faster than its predecessor, the A6.
This is according to a tweet by Fox News' Clayton Morris, who says his sources have also mentioned a "separate chip devoted to motion tracking." At the moment, we don't know what this motion tracking chip on the iPhone 5S would be capable of, but it could bring something to the iPhone 5S that matches some of the motion features of Samsung's Galaxy S range of smartphones.
This would make sense, since a profile of Apple's Jony Ive by Bloomberg earlier this year hints at this possibility: "Longer term, Ive also has shown interest in altering how people control their computers. He has met with makers of gesture technology that lets people navigate their gadgets by moving their hands -- without touching the screen, said a personal familiar with those interactions."