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iFixit Tears Down the iPad A4 Chip

by on April 6th, 2010

You saw images of the FCC iPad tear down released prior to the iPad’s launch. Comparisons were also posted against the Snapdragon from the Google Nexus One. Well, this time around the team at iFixit dissected the entire iPad themselves, with close attention to the latest Apple A4 processor.

Apple developed this processor themselves and it’s definitely a screamer. But what did the iFixit team discover, after further investigation?

  • There’s not much revolutionary here. In fact, the A4 is quite similar to the Samsung processor Apple uses in the iPhone.
  • It’s clear from both hardware and software that this is a single core processor, so it must be the ARM Cortex A8, and NOT the rumored multicore A9
  • It’s quite challenging to identify block-level logic inside a processor, so to identify the GPU we’re falling back to software: early benchmarks are showing similar 3D performance to the iPhone, so we’re guessing that the iPad uses the same PowerVR SGX 535 GPU.
  • The iPad has 256 MB RAM, same as the iPhone.
  • The A4 sips power. In fact, power consumption is probably the reason Apple hasn’t stepped up performance much from the iPhone. In order to get 10 hours of battery life, the entire iPad (including display) has to pull less than 2.5 Watts on average.

So it seems what makes the A4 so magical is how little power it consumes. This results in longer battery life (10 hours as stated by Apple) and also leaves you with a wireless device that will last all day throughout your travels.

Here are a few pictures for your viewing pleasure:

[iFixit]

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