The Apple A5 is a 32-bit system-on-a-chip designed by Apple Inc. and manufactured by Samsung and is the successor to the Apple A4. The A5 commercially debuted with the release of Apple's iPad 2 tablet, and also powers the iPhone 4S, iPod Touch fifth generation, Apple TV third generation, and the iPad mini first generation. This is consistent with how Apple debuted the A4 chip: first in the original iPad, followed by the iPhone 4, and then the iPod Touch (fourth generation). Apple claims that compared to its predecessor, the A4, the A5 CPU "can do twice the work" and the GPU has "up to nine times the graphics performance". Software updates for devices using this chip ceased in 2016, with the release of iOS 10.
The A5 processor
|Produced||From March 11, 2011 to October 4, 2016|
|Designed by||Apple Inc.|
|Max. CPU clock rate||0.8 GHz to 1 GHz|
|Min. feature size||45 nm to 32 nm|
|Instruction set||ARM, Thumb-2|
|Product code||S5L8940X (45 nm)|
S5L8942X (32 nm)
S5L8947X (Single core, 32 nm)
|Cores||1 (Apple TV (3rd generation Rev A))|
2 (iPhone 4S, iPad 2, iPad mini, iPod touch (5th generation), Apple TV (3rd generation) (one core disabled))
|L1 cache||32 KB instruction + 32 KB data|
|L2 cache||1 MB|
|GPU||PowerVR SGX543MP2 (dual-core)|
The A5 consists of a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU with NEON SIMD accelerator and a dual core PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU. Apple lists the A5 to be clocked at 1 GHz on the iPad 2's technical specifications page, though it can dynamically adjust its frequency to save battery life. The unit used in the iPhone 4S is clocked at approximately 800 MHz. Apple has also included an image signal processor unit (ISP) that will do advanced image post-processing such as face detection, white balance and automatic image stabilization and an "earSmart" unit from Audience for noise canceling.
When the A5 was first released, it was estimated at that time to cost 75% more than the previous generation, with the difference expected to diminish as production increased. As of August 2012[update], the A5 is manufactured at Samsung's Austin, Texas factory. Samsung invested $3.6 billion in the Austin facility to produce chips such as processors, and nearly all of that facility's output is dedicated to Apple components. Samsung has invested a further $4.2 billion at the Austin facility in order to transition to a 28 nm fabrication process by the second half of 2013.
The A5 part model numbers are: S5L8940 (45 nm version), S5L8942 (32 nm version) and S5L8947 (32 nm, single core version). A version of the A5 with a wider memory subsystem and four graphic cores is called Apple A5X and is found in the third generation iPad.
Apple A5 (S5L8940)Edit
Apple uses the first version of the A5 chip in the iPhone 4S, and iPad 2. The A5's manufacturing process is 45 nm and it has 122.2 mm2 of die area. It is manufactured in a package on package (PoP) together with 512 MB of dual-channel LP-DDR2 DRAM.
Apple A5r2 (S5L8942)Edit
Apple used a second version of the A5 chip in the third generation Apple TV, announced on March 7, 2012, as well as the iPod Touch fifth generation, the iPad mini, and the 32 nm revision of the iPad 2. This chip is manufactured with a 32 nm fabrication process, with ID code S5L8942 and it has one core disabled in the Apple TV. The new A5 measures nearly 41% smaller than first-generation A5, coming in at 69.6 mm2 and manufactured in a package on package (PoP) together with 512 MB LPDDR2 DRAM.
Apple A5r3 (S5L8947)Edit
In March 2013, Apple released an updated version of the third generation Apple TV (AppleTV3,2) containing a smaller, single CPU core and single GPU core version of the A5 processor. Unlike the other A5 variants, this version of the A5 is not a package-on-package (PoP), having no stacked RAM. The chip is very small, just 37.8 mm2, but as the decrease in size is not due to a decrease in feature size (it is still on a 32 nm fabrication process), this indicates that this A5 revision is of a new design. Markings tell that it's named APL7498, and in software, the chip is called S5L8947.
Products that include the Apple A5Edit
- iPad 2 (A5 dual-core 45 nm) – March 2011; (A5 dual-core 32 nm) – March 2012
- iPhone 4S (A5 dual-core 45 nm) – October 2011
- Apple TV 3rd generation (A5 single-core, 32 nm) – March 2012
- iPod Touch (5th generation) (A5 dual-core 32 nm) – October 2012
- iPad Mini (1st generation) (A5 dual-core 32 nm) – November 2012
- Apple mobile application processors, the range of ARM-based mobile processors designed by Apple for their consumer electronic devices.
- Apple A5X
- PowerVR SGX GPUs were also used in the iPhone 3GS and the iPod Touch (3rd generation).
- PWRficient, a processor designed by P.A. Semi, a company Apple acquired to form an in-house custom chip design department.
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