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Handhelds Power Upgrades Apple Hardware

Apple Quietly Updates iPad 2's Processor 127

bonch writes "Apple has quietly replaced the iPad 2's A5 with a smaller 32nm die that increases battery life by 15 to 30%. It's theorized that Apple is using the iPad 2 as a test bed for the new hardware platform, which shrinks the surface area of the A5 to 57% of the previous size."
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Apple Quietly Updates iPad 2's Processor

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  • by Henriok ( 6762 ) on Friday May 04, 2012 @07:29PM (#39897515)
    This only applies to the WiFi version, called iPad2,4. The CDMA and 3G versions are still using the older 45 nm version of the A5 processor.
  • Re:Or (Score:5, Informative)

    by CharlyFoxtrot ( 1607527 ) on Friday May 04, 2012 @07:30PM (#39897521)

    No mystery; From the article :

    "the learnings (sic) Apple gains from building the 32nm A5 will pay off later this year as Apple ramps up production of a 32nm SoC for use in the next iPhone."

    They're further developing their A5 and ramping up production by introducing it first in an existing product. Smart.

  • Re:30%? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04, 2012 @07:30PM (#39897523)

    I find it very difficult to believe that a die shrink would improve battery life by that much. Given the amount of energy used by the screen and the radios, you could probably remove the CPU entirely and not see a 30% power reduction.

    Either they fixed some other issues, or else the power savings are being exaggerated. Did the old processor have an extremely high sleep current, perhaps?

    Read the article. Its not just a die shrink, but also a change in manufacturing (high-k + metal gate).

  • by MtHuurne ( 602934 ) on Friday May 04, 2012 @07:41PM (#39897599) Homepage

    Page 4 of TFA states that the 30% was measured while gaming. Games typically put a high load on both the CPU and GPU; these are scenarios where the total power usage is high and therefore the screen and radios make up a smaller fraction of the power footprint.

  • Re:Or (Score:5, Informative)

    by MBCook ( 132727 ) <> on Friday May 04, 2012 @07:42PM (#39897615) Homepage

    Plus, since this chip is smaller, they can get more on a wafer. As long as the yields are good, they're already saving money on each chip.

    If they changed the battery, I'd imagine that would require case changes as well as designing and ordering new batteries. All the tooling is already done for the current size battery, why change it?

    People who buy the iPad 2 now just have a chance at getting better-than-advertised battery life.

  • Re:30%? (Score:5, Informative)

    by MBCook ( 132727 ) <> on Friday May 04, 2012 @07:44PM (#39897629) Homepage

    The other reply to you pointed out that they changed the process a bit too.

    But if you look at the benchmarks that were done, the biggest difference was running Infinity Blade II, which means heavy CPU and GPU usage. In that case, the CPU/CPU probably take up a sizable chunk of the system's power.

    If you did a "sit on the home screen until the iPad shuts it's self off" test, I'd imagine you'd be right and the battery life wouldn't be that different.

  • Re:Samsung processor (Score:5, Informative)

    by allanw ( 842185 ) on Friday May 04, 2012 @09:42PM (#39898325)
    Same process, not same processor. And besides, Samsung's foundry is completely separate from their mobile business.

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