“To put this in perspective, AMD and Nvidia were already shipping
high-end 28-nm GPUs fabbed by TSMC as early as January 2012, although
not in particularly high volumes,” Kanter said.
32-nm high-K metal gate process became available, Apple was able to rev
up production of the A6X chip with superior graphics to drive the iPad 4
launched in September.
“Not only did the A6X offer substantially
better graphics performance than the previous generation, but the die
size is also considerably smaller, at around 123 mm2,” Kanter wrote.
used a ratio of FLOPs/pixel to measure Apple’s tablet graphics
performance, noting the iPad 3 delivered 198 FLOPs/pixel, far less than
the 381 FLOPs/pixel of the iPad 2. “Practically speaking, this means
that any 3D applications which were moderately taxing on the iPad 2
could not take advantage of the Retina display."
By adopting the
Retina display before competing tablets such as the Google Nexus 10,
Apple retained a leadership advantage at the risk of disappointing some
users with an under-power GPU in an unbalanced system, Kanter said.
Nice to see that all of these analysts are coming out NOW and admitting iPad 3 was underpowered, when it was something obvious from the beginning, but I didn't see any of them saying anything then. Were they too afraid to ruin Apple's momentum? Why did they just mention it now when Apple already "fixed" the problem? And by fixed, I mean they've barely made it have the same performance as an iPad 2, at its native resolution.
Good point. I think Apple feeds the analysts a fair amount of Kool-Aid so it's hard for them to be soberly critical.
Kanter is not one of the usual Apple hangers on because he has more of a focus on semiconductors, something Apple rarely says anything about in public except to say it has a new chip the name is AXX and it is better than the last chip.
"The Apple iPad 3 is an unbalanced design with an underpowered graphics processor for its high-end display"
Such a ridiculous statement. These analysts will cook up any silly comments for a few more clicks. Have he done any technical analysis before commenting that the graphics was underpowered? There could be many other reasons for a quick update other than this. And it was the CPU performance than the GPU performance that improved drastically between A5x and A6x.
I have used an iPad 3 for around 6 months before replacing it with a mini. I have extensively used it for 3D gaming and I can confirm, that the 3D graphics performance in games were very smooth.
Interesting. The brand new google nexus 10 tablet running a 32nm Soc with the latest mali graphics processor has barely 20% more performance @ native resolution than the 10 month old 45nm Soc-ed Apple ipad3 @ native resolution, under Glbenchmark 2.5.
Must be unbalanced too....no ?
From what I understood in this article,
In this article he is claiming that Apple got over this by limiting the resolution to 1024x768 even though the app "requests" retina resolution. If that is actually what is happening in ipad3, then his analysis does make sense.
The results from anandtech also shows a similar pattern. The chip is underpowered for the resolution and does not deliver comparable "fps" for the retina resolution vs standard 1024*768 resolution...
The root cause of the iPad3 being weak in graphics was that Samsung built the Apple A6 with their non HKMG 45 nm process. Even with 2 GPUs the die was huge and dissipated a lot of heat which is why Apple had to use a Heat Sink on top of the SoC. Several months after the iPad 3 Samsung brought out their own Galaxy S3 using their 32 nm HKMG process. A few months later Samsung used their new Fab process for Apple's A6 in iPad 4. This episode exposed Apple's vulnerability from depending on just one Supplier with its own ambitions.
The iPad 3 came out last Mar'12. The A5X in it had 2 CPUs and 4 GPUs. Samsung non HKMG 45 nm process was used to build it and the die was huge 165 mm sq. Just a few weeks later ( May '12 ) Samsung brought out its own Galaxy using 32 nm HKMG ! The iPad 4 was relaesed Oct '12 with the A6x in it still with 2 CPUs and 4 GPUs but built with 32 nm HKMG ( device shrink factor 2 ) and the die only 124 sq mm ( die shrink factor 1.33 ), so presumably 50 % more transistors, apart from having a more advanced design.
As an owner of an iPad 3 since it was introduced I can assure you that graphics performance is not underpowered, in fact it plays smoother and with higher frame rates than the Nexus 7 tablet recently released.
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.