“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.
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