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eewiz
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re: Apple processors: Designed differently but here to stay
eewiz   2/20/2013 1:28:45 PM
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Most new designs will have LTE modem integrated to an app processor. NVidia/Qcom/Marvel/STE/Renesas already have this. Intel/Mediatek/Samsung/BCOM will have in future. I am wondering what Apple will do since they dont have any LTE ip. Either they have to license from Qcomm/Intel and fab together with Ax CPU or buy any remaining 4G chip vendor(sequans?) and integrate with Ax chip, which I guess may not be easy. "Second, it will be interesting to see how the block count evolves going forward, with IP of the anobit or authentec acquisitions possibly showing up in future designs. " This is a real possibility. Guess they might be already on this one. "Finally, the big one: Will there be an Apple designed GPU? " Very unlikely "In fact, with the exception of Intel CPUs, it's one of the first custom laid out digital cores we’ve seen in years!" IINW QCom CPUs are partially custom designed too

eewiz
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re: Apple processors: Designed differently but here to stay
eewiz   2/20/2013 1:28:45 PM
NO RATINGS
Most new designs will have LTE modem integrated to an app processor. NVidia/Qcom/Marvel/STE/Renesas already have this. Intel/Mediatek/Samsung/BCOM will have in future. I am wondering what Apple will do since they dont have any LTE ip. Either they have to license from Qcomm/Intel and fab together with Ax CPU or buy any remaining 4G chip vendor(sequans?) and integrate with Ax chip, which I guess may not be easy. "Second, it will be interesting to see how the block count evolves going forward, with IP of the anobit or authentec acquisitions possibly showing up in future designs. " This is a real possibility. Guess they might be already on this one. "Finally, the big one: Will there be an Apple designed GPU? " Very unlikely "In fact, with the exception of Intel CPUs, it's one of the first custom laid out digital cores we’ve seen in years!" IINW QCom CPUs are partially custom designed too

Dave1010101
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re: Apple processors: Designed differently but here to stay
Dave1010101   2/20/2013 5:54:56 PM
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I imagine Apple would need to consider what Intel could offer in terms of process technology and power consumption in the lower nanometer technology.

Dave1010101
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re: Apple processors: Designed differently but here to stay
Dave1010101   2/20/2013 5:54:56 PM
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I imagine Apple would need to consider what Intel could offer in terms of process technology and power consumption in the lower nanometer technology.

asic_pal
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re: Apple processors: Designed differently but here to stay
asic_pal   2/20/2013 6:23:29 PM
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Though it may be difficult I am sure Apple will lic the LTE Ip or work on a custom design with the IP vendor (Qualcom/Intel etc). Otherwise it can not differentiate with competition if it simply buys a chip and plugs it in the device.

asic_pal
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re: Apple processors: Designed differently but here to stay
asic_pal   2/20/2013 6:23:29 PM
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Though it may be difficult I am sure Apple will lic the LTE Ip or work on a custom design with the IP vendor (Qualcom/Intel etc). Otherwise it can not differentiate with competition if it simply buys a chip and plugs it in the device.

kjdsfkjdshfkdshfvc
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re: Apple processors: Designed differently but here to stay
kjdsfkjdshfkdshfvc   2/20/2013 6:52:19 PM
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Um, who are you kidding? Apple is clearly on it's way out. They lost the "cool factor" which is all they had going for them. It's over. http://bit.ly/dI3hcF

kjdsfkjdshfkdshfvc
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re: Apple processors: Designed differently but here to stay
kjdsfkjdshfkdshfvc   2/20/2013 6:52:19 PM
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Um, who are you kidding? Apple is clearly on it's way out. They lost the "cool factor" which is all they had going for them. It's over. http://bit.ly/dI3hcF

old account Frank Eory
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re: Apple processors: Designed differently but here to stay
old account Frank Eory   2/20/2013 8:10:28 PM
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Speculation that the A-series apps processors are stopgaps until the right Intel chip arrives seems ludicrous. Why would Apple abandon it's customized ARM cores, which are already successfully integrated with the GPUs, memory controller, etc. in the A-series devices? It would require a huge savings in die size, power or both, coupled with a substantial performance boost, to justify such a radical change in AP strategy -- not to mention additional costs & risks like reoptimizing iOS for a new instruction set & new CPU architecture, and moving to an AP that Apple's competitors can also buy. It's hard to imagine the potential rewards will be so great as to justify the costs & risks. On another subject, I'm curious what exactly Chipworks means by "custom design" and "manual layout." Certainly there must've been some custom cell designs, maybe even for some logic. We can also see from the photos that some of the blocks have irregular shapes, so a lot of manual effort must've been put into floorplanning and megacell placement & boundary definition of the megacells. But I suspect that within most of the megacells, automatic P&R was used -- especially the GPUs, which are simple rectangles that look like they could have simply been synthesized from RTL and auto P&Rd by ICC or Encounter or whatever digital P&R tool Apple uses. As for routing -- whether within a megacell or at the top level -- it is doubtful a team of human beings made all or even a significant percentage of those billion+ connections manually in a layout tool. A few critical nets maybe, but not much more than that. Custom design of some cells & manually-assisted floorplanning, yes. Full custom chip design and manual chip routing, no, I don't think so.

old account Frank Eory
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Author
re: Apple processors: Designed differently but here to stay
old account Frank Eory   2/20/2013 8:10:28 PM
NO RATINGS
Speculation that the A-series apps processors are stopgaps until the right Intel chip arrives seems ludicrous. Why would Apple abandon it's customized ARM cores, which are already successfully integrated with the GPUs, memory controller, etc. in the A-series devices? It would require a huge savings in die size, power or both, coupled with a substantial performance boost, to justify such a radical change in AP strategy -- not to mention additional costs & risks like reoptimizing iOS for a new instruction set & new CPU architecture, and moving to an AP that Apple's competitors can also buy. It's hard to imagine the potential rewards will be so great as to justify the costs & risks. On another subject, I'm curious what exactly Chipworks means by "custom design" and "manual layout." Certainly there must've been some custom cell designs, maybe even for some logic. We can also see from the photos that some of the blocks have irregular shapes, so a lot of manual effort must've been put into floorplanning and megacell placement & boundary definition of the megacells. But I suspect that within most of the megacells, automatic P&R was used -- especially the GPUs, which are simple rectangles that look like they could have simply been synthesized from RTL and auto P&Rd by ICC or Encounter or whatever digital P&R tool Apple uses. As for routing -- whether within a megacell or at the top level -- it is doubtful a team of human beings made all or even a significant percentage of those billion+ connections manually in a layout tool. A few critical nets maybe, but not much more than that. Custom design of some cells & manually-assisted floorplanning, yes. Full custom chip design and manual chip routing, no, I don't think so.

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