Apple A9X: Nuclear physics?

It was hard to believe, but the tests (even those who usually don’t lie) prove that this time their 2-core processor, at least not inferior to the efficiency of 4 – and 8-core counterparts. What’s the catch? Who will reveal this, probably the most hidden, secret “fruit” giant? The answer to these questions was obvious, therefore, hundreds of inquiring minds vain bursting through the open door, not noticing it. What exactly did the group of microelectronics, who led her how many engineers and specialists earned on a piece of bread with butter to develop a shockingly efficient processors for mobile devices – all this and in fact was classified.

Even the head of this trend, with the rank of senior Vice President, has long been unknown. The results of their work investigated how strange artifacts from other worlds of unknown nature. On the basis of the earth and widely known architecture ARMv8-A GPU from Imagination Technologies is absolutely earthly, earthly technology. A parallel world?

Apple refused to discuss these topics, but not due to the unprecedented secrecy and mysteries of extraterrestrial nature – these topics were discussed many times. During the first Macs, when against the advice of well-wishers, the company has persistently developed and computers, and operating systems to them.

With a crushing score won the opposite approach, in the battle for the PC industry Apple was defeated and almost ceased to exist. But not changed his mind. And used the same vicious practices. And already a new well-wishers taught her how to live, it offers the same recipes for success. Steve objected to them. Tim did not notice them.

This approach: controlling all the critical elements of complex (computer or mobile device, or even smart watch), you can create masterpieces. Apple A9X, if he tried to use the device any other company would inevitably become a joke and disappointment of the year.

This is the main secret of his success, which for 30 years was not a secret. Not for a living one day (like insects), of course.

This continuation of the series Pro processors from Apple. Previous parts:

The first part: In the shadow of the Apple A4;
Second part: the birth of the “Apple” of the processor;
Part three: Returning to the beginning of beginnings: Apple A6/A6X (Swift);
The fourth part: the Cyclone comes to replace the Swift (in the Apple A7);
Fifth part: one “NeXT” or coprocessor for fitness (Apple M7);
Sixth part: turns into Typhoon Cyclone (Apple A8);
Seventh part: the Apple S1: riddle enclosed in a mystery;
Eighth part: Apple A8X: the Graphics in the zone of special attention;
Ninth part: Apple A9 – the deceiver, the scoundrel and chipsat.

The cheapest advertising campaign in the world

For the first time about the Apple A9X said on 9 September 2015. That said about the system-on-chip for tablet with monstrous magic “Pro” in its name, enough to the best part of the audience felt unbearable curiosity. How many cores, what clock speed, what the process is and everything.

But Phil was concise. Promising iPad Pro in November, and saying how much this product will cost, he moved on to the next topic.

On a large system-on-chip more not a word was said. How many minutes was presented to the audience her younger sister. In the composition of the iPhone 6s/6s Plus she had to be in the hands of maniacs (in the best sense of the word) in September.

September 25, two weeks later, Apple A9 pulled from the iPhone 6s, and stripped off his skin. And older sister cared for the public sharper than ever. In the period between 25 September and 11 November (when the first instance of Apple A9X fell into the hands of maniacs) media published about the A9X unprecedented number of stupid things.

The budget of this advertising campaign was the most circular of all: 0 cents. But on November 11 about the new tablet knew all that he might be interested and who could buy it.

An autopsy showed that…

Cores in the CPU (the same Twister as in Apple A9), it was not three (as in the A8X), and not four but two. Later evidence emerged from behind the fiery wall. The third core Apple A8X appeared due to errors in calculations and inflated expectations. Two cores failed, optimisation not helped and had to add one more. It wasn’t easy, but to create a new kernel it would be even harder.

The cache of the third level were absent in principle. According to experts, in the A9X he really wasn’t particularly necessary. 128-bit memory bus, with a bandwidth of 51.2 GB/s, without any problems connected to the CPU with the GPU, needs iPad Pro was abundantly provided. How would it worked in other systems – the big question.

Clock frequency (in iPad Pro 12.9) – 2.26 GHz.

The chip was produced by TSMC on FinFET technology 16 nm. The marking on the chip APL1021. If you read somewhere about Apple A9X manufactured by Samsung – do not believe. Most likely it was written in the period between 25 September and 11 November. Samsung the most important thing at that moment do not trust. Not because I do not believe in the skills this company is likely.

Chip area – 147 sq. mm. a Large area was only Apple A5X (165 sq mm).

The GPU was obviously from PowerVR, in his “clusters” find the series 7XT (like Apple A9), only the CPU 12 clusters the PowerVR directory was not.

Later it turned out that it is the PowerVR GT7850, developed in conjunction with Apple GPU, about which the world still finds in a few years, and exclusively for Apple. Level “for UltraBook”.

Here is a portrait of a system-on-chip stripped (layer by layer) of the skin, from Chipworks:

Memory placed outside of SoC. IPad Pro 2015 have 4 GB of LPDDR4 (3 200 MHz).

Interface with flash memory, as in the A9 – NVMe and PCIe.

And what could be a Apple M9, as in the A9, was placed on the chip. The functions of the M9 was added Siri support. And although the M9 was now part of the system-on-chip, a motion coprocessor, it continued to work even when everything else was deep asleep. That is, saving of energy everything was fine.

The verdict of the enlightened part of the audience was clear: it cannot be comparable in performance with personal computers. If Apple instead of our normal physics do not use any of the other world (a reasonable electrons, for example).

From heaven to earth: tests

Discussions about the A9X was very sharp and unpleasant. Whether A9X was comparable to Intel native chipsets for laptops, or Apple down to outright lies and nothing…

So here are the test results.

Tests for 1 core:

Tests for all cores:

Graphic tests are also impressive:

To be continued

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