Chip Teardown Firms Confirm iPad 2's A5 Chip Manufactured by Samsung

094949 a5 techinsights side 500
Side view of A5 package (UBM TechInsights)

A pair of chip teardown firms this weekend stripped down the new A5 system-on-a-chip used in the Apple's iPad 2, finding that the package is indeed being manufactured by Samsung. Several rumors in recent weeks have claimed that Apple is shifting production from Samsung to TSMC, and while that may still be the case for future production, Samsung is clearly responsible for early production runs.

094948 a5 comparison techinsights 500
Comparison of A4 and A5 packages (UBM TechInsights)

UBM Techinsights performed a complete teardown of the iPad 2, with a special focus on decapsulating the A5 package.

Based on analysis performed by UBM TechInsights Lab and Process Analysis personnel, we can say that the A5 in our possession is definitely manufactured by Samsung using their 45nm process. UBM TechInsights used optical die and SEM cross-section images to analyse important features such as die edge seal, metal 1 pitch, logic and SRAM transistor gate measurements. These features were then compared to other manufacturers in our database, including other Samsung 45nm parts. The previous generation Apple A4 processor was also fabbed on Samsung's 45nm process.

UBM TechInsights also discovered that the A5 packages from two iPad 2 units used DRAM from two different sources, Samsung and Elpida, indicating that Apple has tapped multiple suppliers even for portions of the complex A5 package in order to meet demand.

094948 a5 chipworks sem
Scanning electron microscope cross-section of A5 (Chipworks)

Chipworks has also performed a decap of the A5, similarly revealing that the package is being manufactured by Samsung.

At this scale even electron microscopes start to run out of steam, so not the clearest of images in either case, but good enough to see the similar shape of the transistor gates and the dielectric layers. So at least this sample of the A5 is fabbed by Samsung, just as all Apple's processor chips have been for the last while.

Also of interest, iOSnoops discovered that the while the A4 chip found in the original iPad clocked in at a consistent 1 GHz, each of the two cores in the new A5 seems to run at a variable speed between 861 MHz and 894 MHz depending on the app being run, suggesting that Apple has built in more advanced power management features for the A5.

Related Roundup: iPad
Buyer's Guide: iPad (Caution)
Related Forum: iPad

Popular Stories

iOS 18 Siri Integrated Feature

Report: These 10 New AI Features Are Coming in iOS 18

Sunday May 26, 2024 12:57 pm PDT by
iOS 18 and macOS 15 will offer an array of new AI features such as auto-generated emojis, suggested replies to emails and messages, and more, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reports. A significant portion of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is expected to focus on AI features. Writing his latest "Power On" newsletter, Gurman explained that Apple's AI strategy emphasizes providing...
new best buy blue

Best Buy's Memorial Day Sale Has Record Low Prices on iPads, MacBooks, and Much More

Friday May 24, 2024 7:12 am PDT by
Best Buy today kicked off its Memorial Day weekend sale, and it has some of the best prices we've tracked in weeks on iPads and MacBooks. Specifically, you'll find record low prices on the 5th generation iPad Air, iPad mini 6, M2 MacBook Air, and M3 MacBook Pro. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment,...
iOS 18 WWDC 24 Feature 2

Gurman: iOS 18 Will Allow Users to Recolor App Icons and Place Them Anywhere

Sunday May 26, 2024 12:22 pm PDT by
Apple's iOS 18 update will introduce new features for further customizing the iPhone's home screen, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. In the latest edition of his "Power On" newsletter, Gurman claimed that Apple will allow users to change the color of app icons in iOS 18. For example, "you can make all your social icons blue or finance-related ones green." This kind of home screen...
Apple iPhone 14 color lineup feature

Apple Now Selling Refurbished iPhone 14 Models

Friday May 24, 2024 11:15 am PDT by
Apple today added refurbished iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max devices to its online store for refurbished products, offering the prior-generation iPhones at a discount for the first time since their 2022 launch. The iPhone 14 is available starting at $619, the iPhone 14 Pro is available starting at $759, and the iPhone 14 Pro Max is available starting at $849. ...
top stories 25may2024

Top Stories: iOS 17.5.1 Fixes Concerning Photos Bug, All-New iPhone 17 Model Rumored, and More

Saturday May 25, 2024 6:00 am PDT by
It's been quite a week of Apple news and rumors, ranging from a concerning bug with deleted photos reappearing on users' devices to hot rumors about a new high-end iPhone model for 2025 and a MacBook with a foldable screen coming as soon as 2026. Other news and rumors this week included fresh expectations for iOS 18 features and new headphones from Sonos to compete head-to-head with AirPods...