A9X powering the iPad Pro features two CPU cores, 12-cluster GPU with no L3 cache

By Shawn Knight
Nov 30, 2015
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  1. There’s no question the A9X inside the new iPad Pro is Apple’s most powerful chip to date. The fine details of the applications processor, however, have remained a mystery until now as the silicon experts at Chipworks recently shared their A9X findings with The Motley Fool. The results are quite interesting.

    A die shot reveals two CPU cores and a 12-cluster GPU. Curiously enough, Imagination Technology – Apple’s GPU IP supplier – doesn’t list a version of its Series 7XT with 12 shading clusters, suggesting a semi-custom implementation on Apple’s part.

    Also noteworthy is the fact that the TSMC-built chip is 40 percent larger than the A9 chip found inside the latest batch of iPhones. This not only makes the chip more powerful but also more expensive and harder to manufacture. It's unclear if TSMC is manufacturing each and every A9X or if Apple is relying on a second partner to help meet demand.

    Chipworks also discovered that the 8MB of L3 cache found on the A9 isn’t present on the A9X die. As the publication explains, the memory interface on the new chip is twice as wide as the one on the A9 which allows data to pass to and from memory twice as fast. This likely negates the need for L3 cache.

    Mac Rumors also adds that despite having a higher resolution display, the iPad Pro lacks the 12-megapixel camera found on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus that would put additional demands on memory.

    Permalink to story.

  2. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,664   +1,949

    Got so much power, it's leaking acid :)

    In the words of Protos (StarCraft) - Power Overwhelming! :)

    That's why it hangs every so often and goes black-screen.

    Also, if you took the wrong turn home, and feel like about to be mugged, there is no second thought what tool to use - it is heavy and scarily large. And you can scream - nobody come close - I got a portable black hole, it will suck you in!
  3. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,572   +714

    Just bought an iPad Air 2 instead... couldn't justify the extra cost for the Pro, especially with the bugs being reported... I really only use my tablet as a toy anyways, leaving "real" work to my PC...

    I would suggest that if you really DO want the Pro, wait till next year... Or buy the Surface :)
    Reehahs likes this.
  4. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    That thing is a gimmick. For all the screen real estate it's not even a decent productivity tool, that you leave to the Windows Surface devices.
    Apple charges a fortune for it but they are too mean & cheap to throw a 9 buck stylus into the box , instead they scam iFools... er, I mean users $99 extra for it. Charging extra for a keyboard I can understand but a cheapo iPen??? C'mon man, gimme a break.

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