@notnotme: Apple did buy PA Semi apparently to gain microprocessor design expertise, but analysts have concluded Apple did NOT use its PowerPC based design. Instead they concluded Apple used a a Samsung Hummingbird core based on an ARM Cortex A8 core. See http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4200451/Apple-s-A4-dissected-discussed--and-tantalizing
Chipworks has posted a floorplan of the A5 showing the main IP blocks.
Thanks for posting this link. If I'm not mistaken, the upgrade from one Cortex A8 to two A9 cores was pretty much expected, as was the Imagination Technologies GPU.
As the chipworks blog writer said, "quite a lot of horsepower!"
@DestroCom and @Frank Eory
IOSnoops claims that the A5 is using two A9 cores thru software reverse-engineering. TechInsights has done the same floorplan analysis on the A5 but further research is required before we can definitively say that the cores are indeed ARM Cortex A9. It proves a little more difficult in the flexibility of design that comes from selecting these cores.
We do know it's not the ARM A8 though in dual use. We would be able to see that quickly considering it is the same 45nm process from Samsung that was applied to A5 that was on the A4.
That core was also seen in the Hummingbird:
The differentiation in this business (xPad) will come from Software , Display Quality and overall power consumption .SoCs from different vendors all using similar ARM core will be only relevant from power consumption point of view as all of them will have more processing power than what any xPad will need.
@RickMerritt: would it be possible to do a similar teardown on Samsung's galaxy tabs?
Also, the package-on-package (PoP) in A4 was functionally mapped into a lateral design in A5 with much more functionality. It would nice to explore if some functions can be moved to a vertical substrate via 3D TSV's in A5 and further shrink the floor space? My hunch is some one at Apple is working along that line of thought...
@RickMerritt: I found the link to a Samsung Galaxy teardown at the portal of EDN (a sister publication of EE Times):
Samsung Galaxy Tab tablet teardown:
Unfortunately it is a collection of videos and leaves a lot to be desired. So it is still worthwhile to get snapshots of the the teardown along with technical descriptions. Thanx.
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