Chipworks and iFixit Tearsdown Apple’s A6 Chip for a Closer Look

Apple A6 Chip for iPhone 5

Source: Apple A6 Chip for iPhone 5 | Wikipedia

After tearing down Apple’s latest A6 chip, it was revealed that the mobile processor features two CPU cores, three graphics processing units, and 1 GB RAM.

Chipworks and iFixit worked together to teardown the system-on-a-chip processor found on iPhone 5. The repair websites used an iron blaster to remove the layers of silicon on the chip, and they found what’s inside the company’s custom-made mobile processor.

A Closer Look at Apple’s A6 Processor

Under the microscope, it was revealed that Apple’s A6 processor has 1 GB of Elpida LP DDR2 SDRAM. This is the same RAM that is used on Motorola Droid RAZR Maxx.

In addition, the 9.70 x 9.97-millimeter chip was fabricated by Samsung using its 32 nanometer CMOS process. Although manufactured by Samsung, it is the first chip that was custom designed by the iPhone maker. The design is based on ARMv7s instruction set, while the Apple’s complete control of it allowed the company to customize the processor’s performance as it chose.

At a closer look, the most prominent features of the A6 processor are its dual ARM cores and three PowerVR graphics chips. Chipworks also revealed that that processor were laid out manually that can result to faster processing speeds. However, this is time consuming and expensive to develop. Repair site iFixit added:

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.

A6 Chip Geekbench Result

Prior to this, it was reported that Apple’s iPhone 5 garnered a Geekbench score of 1,601 points. It is way better than the iPhone 4S and iPad’s results that got 629 and 766 points respectively. The score was based on the model with the device iPhone 5,2 ID. This makes the latest smartphone 2.5 times faster than the iPhone 4S and twice as fast as the iPad 3.

In relation to this, AnandTech speculated that the device used for Geekbench features a processor manufactured by Samsung. Its unobscured parts number, K3PE7E700F-XGC2, indicates a Samsung DRAM, which is said to feature 1 GB or an addressable RAM.

Aside from the A6 chip, Chipworks’ Microsoft showed that iPhone 5’s rear 8-megapixel camera is manufactured by Sony. Its front-facing FaceTime camera, on the other hand, is built by Omnivision.

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