Samsung-Built Chip Powers iPad 2
Despite the fact that Apple and Samsung are now big rivals in the tablet space, the Cupertino, Calif.-based vendor has once again turned to the South Korean conglomerate to fabricate its new dual-core chip, UBM TechInsights finds. The analysts at our sister United Business Media Ltd. (UBM) (London: UBM.L) unit note that there had been rumors that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) (NYSE: TSM) might have built the new processor.
Instead, like the earlier A4, the ARM Ltd. -derived A5 is once again being built by Samsung using a 45-nanometer process, which helps manufacturers cram more components on the silicon while generally lessening overall power requirements.
The TechInsights team says that the first indication the A5 could be a Samsung-manufactured processor was the similarity in word mark between this font on the new chip and the font in the Apple A4:
TechInsights credits IOSnoops with the discovery that the two cores run a bit slower than the constant 1GHz of the A4 and can adjust clock speeds within a 40MHz range depending on the application being used. In plain English, the twin cores still ramp up performance -- up to 65 percent better than the original iPad -- while the speed adjustments help prolong battery life.
The TechInsights team confirmed that -- as rumored -- the new processor uses low-power DDR2 DRAM (LPDDR2). This memory is specifically designed for improving battery life and performance in smartphones and other devices.
Here's a comparison of the all the Apple processors so far from TechInsights:
David Carey, VP of technical intelligence at UBM TechInsights, is making an initial estimate that the new iPad costs $270 in build materials -- compared to $245 for the older version -- a total that will likely come down over time. See Information Week for more on the iPad 2 teardown.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile