The new iPad Pro, launched at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2017, came with little appearance; but inside…
The chip A10X Fusion, which equips the new tablets, was announced as having a 30% higher performance in CPU compared to the A9X; in graphic performance, the superiority is 40%. We hardly see information from Apple about the manufacturing process for this type of component, but the website TechInsights revealed that this chip was specifically created using a 10 nanometer FinFET process.
By comparison, previous generations of Apple chips, such as the A9 and A10, use the 16-nanometer process; the A8, a 20 nanometer process; and, the A7, a 28 nanometer. With each new generation, the process advances at a rapid pace. For the end user, this reduction in the physical size of the processors (more transistors in an increasingly smaller space) means an even better performance with an ever lower consumption of energy – which has a direct impact on battery autonomy.
The website AnandTech recalled that, normally, the launch of new chips with a new manufacturing process reaches the new iPhones first. This time, however, Apple decided to launch the novelty in a series of “X” chips, which equip iPads – another novelty that joins our list. This would therefore be the first commercial chip from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) using the 10nm process.
Another aspect pointed out by TechInsights was the physical size of the chips. The A10X Fusion is 96.4mm², which is 22.88% smaller than the A10 Fusion (125mm²) and 7.75% smaller than the A9 (104.5mm²). Regarding the “X” series processors, the new chip is 34% smaller than the A9X and 20% smaller than the A6X.
The new chip has a design very similar to the A9X. The CPU cores were 2 to 3 and the L2 cache was 8MB; moreover, there do not seem to be many structural differences between the two generations. The GPU cores also resemble those of the A9X and A10 – which shows that the company has not yet completely got rid of Imagination Technologies.
There are already rumors that the “iPhone 8”, which has everything to be revealed in about two months, will come with the next generation of chips, the A11, which will also be manufactured in a 10nm process – and some bet that Imagination, then, it will no longer be in the play.