Apple TV 3, New iPad 2 Powered By Smaller A5 Chip Manufactured Using 32-nm Process

Chipworks’ teardown of the new Apple TV and the new iPad 2 (that’s now available for $399) revealed that both these devices now have a tweaked A5 chip, which is manufactured using 32-nm process as compared to the older A5 chip’s 45 nm process.

In addition to the reduced die size, the teardown also reveals that the A5 chip that powers Apple TV 3, although advertised as single core, is in fact a dual core chip with one core disabled:

The new A5 processor die is not a single core processor, but contains a dual core processor.  Either Apple is only utilizing one core or they are binning parts. Parts binning is a common process in semiconductors where devices are segregated (binned) based on meeting a subset of the overall requirements,  in this case they could disable the “bad” core, this increases the usable die per wafer, lowering the cost.

Apple reflects this change in its internal naming as well. The $399 iPad 2 is internally referred to as the iPad2,4 and not the iPad2,1.

This suggests that Apple is using the Apple TV and the $399 iPad 2 as a testing ground for the newer 32nm process. Since both these devices are not expected to sell as much as the iPhone 4S or the new iPad, there’s not a lot of pressure on the manufacturing process to churn out a huge number of chips. Moreover, chips with a faulty core could be used in Apple TV 3 as it anyways ships with one core disabled.

It also indicates that Apple’s planning to bring these smaller chips based on the 32nm process to their high selling products like the iPhone and the iPad very soon.

The shrink shown

The dual cores in the iPhone 4S A5 and on the Apple TV A5

The smaller chips helps Apple reduce manufacturing costs and improve performance and battery life. While the former won’t mean much to the consumer, improvement in battery life and performance would surely be appreciated.

[via MacRumors, TNW, AnandTech]

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  • Aaron

    It’s iPad 2 at the beginning of the article not “the New iPad 2” since the 3rd Gen iPad is The New iPad

    • Though it may seem confusing, due to the change in chip as described in the article, it is the new iPad 2 that is available for $399.

      • Aaron

        It’s like saying the new iPhone 3GS or the new iPhone 4 because of the price drop, they’re not new it’s just the price. Just say the iPad 2 to make it less confusing for other people

        • Gooner

          But it is a new iPad 2 dumb ass as it has a different 32 nm a5 chip compared to the older iPad 2 with a larger CPU

          • Aaron

            It’s not a the new iPad 2 dumbass!

  • mkimid

    I know as the A5X (which used in iPad 3gen,) made wwith 45nm process,
    Why APPLE do not apply 32nm ? curious…
    32nm process can have big advantage when running high graphic intensive software such as games.

  • mkimid

    It is a problem of Apple’s new naming for iPad.
    The new iPad and The New iPad 2 (8gb).
    I have iPad 3Gen, how I can call it ?
    The new iPad or The Used iPad or The Used New iPad ??? I have iPad 1st gen also, it is the Used iPad , hmm ..
    Actually, Car industry use Year model, not just name. iPod, we use Generation..
    So stupid Apple ~
    I miss Steve

  • Ok, so they have quietly updated the iPad 2 as well?

  • Coolwave

    The question that we are all wondering is, the new apple tv 3 jailbreakable? Wondering if there is any progress on this?

    • Skippy

      I’d like to know that as well.
      Wonder if they could do a different sort of jailbreak. Like a tiff exploit like the psp. I don’t know. But no matter what they say. I believe it will be jailbroken. Just like everything else.

  • mike

    any news on the jailbreak for the apple tv 3?