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Apple processors: Designed differently but here to stay

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2/20/2013 06:33 AM EST
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Don Scansen
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re: Apple processors: Designed differently but here to stay
Don Scansen   2/20/2013 9:29:57 PM
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Frank, Thanks for you comments. As always, you provide your own insightful analysis. We agree wholeheartedly about a sudden and unlikely switch to new CPU architecture and instruction set. But there are analysts out there who are selling that as a real possibility. It's all business, of course, but investment analysts would be wise to consider more of the technology side and how it works before giving an opinion on corporate strategies. But we're techies, so what else would we say? Thanks again, Don

Don Scansen
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re: Apple processors: Designed differently but here to stay
Don Scansen   2/20/2013 9:29:57 PM
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Frank, Thanks for you comments. As always, you provide your own insightful analysis. We agree wholeheartedly about a sudden and unlikely switch to new CPU architecture and instruction set. But there are analysts out there who are selling that as a real possibility. It's all business, of course, but investment analysts would be wise to consider more of the technology side and how it works before giving an opinion on corporate strategies. But we're techies, so what else would we say? Thanks again, Don

the_floating_ gate
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re: Apple processors: Designed differently but here to stay
the_floating_ gate   2/20/2013 9:59:19 PM
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On another subject, I'm curious what exactly Chipworks means by "custom design" and "manual layout." Actually Otellini was referring to "manual" layout (don't recall at what occasion) but the way I recall he said Intel and Apple are two companies that still use significant "manual" layout. BTW Dick James (chipworks) has a great blog and you can ask him directly http://www.electroiq.com/blogs/chipworks_real_chips_blog/2013/01/intel-foundries-mems-for-fuel-cell-start-up-nectar.html DICK JAMES is a 40-year veteran of the semiconductor industry and the senior technology analyst for Chipworks, an Ottawa, Canada-based specialty reverse engineering company. Chipworks analyses a broad range of devices, giving Dick a unique overview of what technologies make it into the real world of semiconductor production.

the_floating_ gate
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re: Apple processors: Designed differently but here to stay
the_floating_ gate   2/20/2013 9:59:19 PM
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On another subject, I'm curious what exactly Chipworks means by "custom design" and "manual layout." Actually Otellini was referring to "manual" layout (don't recall at what occasion) but the way I recall he said Intel and Apple are two companies that still use significant "manual" layout. BTW Dick James (chipworks) has a great blog and you can ask him directly http://www.electroiq.com/blogs/chipworks_real_chips_blog/2013/01/intel-foundries-mems-for-fuel-cell-start-up-nectar.html DICK JAMES is a 40-year veteran of the semiconductor industry and the senior technology analyst for Chipworks, an Ottawa, Canada-based specialty reverse engineering company. Chipworks analyses a broad range of devices, giving Dick a unique overview of what technologies make it into the real world of semiconductor production.

the_floating_ gate
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re: Apple processors: Designed differently but here to stay
the_floating_ gate   2/20/2013 10:49:31 PM
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Actually all you have to do is to click on the link provided in the article.... http://www.chipworks.com/blog/recentteardowns/2012/09/21/apple-iphone-5-the-a6-application-processor/

the_floating_ gate
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re: Apple processors: Designed differently but here to stay
the_floating_ gate   2/20/2013 10:49:31 PM
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Actually all you have to do is to click on the link provided in the article.... http://www.chipworks.com/blog/recentteardowns/2012/09/21/apple-iphone-5-the-a6-application-processor/

old account Frank Eory
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re: Apple processors: Designed differently but here to stay
old account Frank Eory   2/21/2013 2:22:37 AM
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Thanks floating_gate, I see that Chipworks believes the ARM CPU was laid out by hand, and I would at least agree that there was a lot of manual intervention there. As for the other blocks, who knows? The GPUs still look to me like netlists were dumped into ICC and autorouted until timing converged.

old account Frank Eory
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re: Apple processors: Designed differently but here to stay
old account Frank Eory   2/21/2013 2:22:37 AM
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Thanks floating_gate, I see that Chipworks believes the ARM CPU was laid out by hand, and I would at least agree that there was a lot of manual intervention there. As for the other blocks, who knows? The GPUs still look to me like netlists were dumped into ICC and autorouted until timing converged.

old account Frank Eory
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re: Apple processors: Designed differently but here to stay
old account Frank Eory   2/21/2013 2:32:18 AM
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Lest I sound like a newbie, I fully appreciate that P&R tools do a lot of great incremental synthesis, so I probably should've said "physically optimized until timing converged" rather than "autorouted." The back end is way more than just P&R these days, and has been for some years.

old account Frank Eory
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re: Apple processors: Designed differently but here to stay
old account Frank Eory   2/21/2013 2:32:18 AM
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Lest I sound like a newbie, I fully appreciate that P&R tools do a lot of great incremental synthesis, so I probably should've said "physically optimized until timing converged" rather than "autorouted." The back end is way more than just P&R these days, and has been for some years.

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