Apple's A6 Chip Confirmed to Carry Triple-Core Graphics

As part of its report on Apple's custom ARM chip design for the A6 found in the iPhone 5, AnandTech speculated that the improved graphics performance in the iPhone 5 was achieved through the use of a triple-core PowerVR SGX 543MP3 graphics processing unit (GPU) rather than doubling the clock speed of the dual-core SGX 543MP2 found in the A5 or using the quad-core SGX 543MP4 found in the A5X for the third-generation iPad.

The [SGX 543MP3] is sort of the best of both worlds. You don't take a huge die area penalty and at the same time don't run at a significantly higher frequency, and you can get to that same 2x value.

The [SGX 543MP3] option is the most elegant and likely what Apple chose here.

AnandTech has now followed up with a new report based on fresh images from UBM TechInsights showing the layout of the A6 with three graphics cores as had been predicted.

a6 chip layout

The image above shows two 32-bit LPDDR2 memory channels and three GPU cores. We're likely looking at a PowerVR SGX 543MP3 running at 266MHz.

UBM estimates the die size at 95.04mm2 and the manufacturer as Samsung.

More information and analysis on the A6 will undoubtedly be forthcoming as UBM TechInsights continues its work, but the first glimpse inside Apple's custom chip design for the iPhone 5 demonstrates how the company has been able to balance processing power needs with die size constraints to achieve significant performance gains for the iPhone 5 compared to its predecessors.

Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

MonstaMash Avatar
152 months ago
Samsung has Quad core #justsayin

And yet somehow has worse performance.
Score: 82 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MDomino Avatar
152 months ago
Looks like a Maps screenshot to me.
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Dangerous Theory Avatar
152 months ago
Why does it seem like every post about the iPhone 5 has a retaliation about how the Galaxy S3 is superior, and every post about the S3 has people spouting about the iFive? When I saw a poll some time ago on the MacRumours demographic, it seemed like the majority of us were aged 20-40. Why, then, are we acting like the kids that used to - and unbelievably still do - make "Xbox/PS3 IS BETTER" comments? Pick the piece of technology that works in your favour, and go your separate ways people.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
keysofanxiety Avatar
152 months ago
Are there any Mac rumors at 'MacRumors'?
Maybe it's time for a name change.

Yeah, I forgot how Apple had iPhones and iPads back in the PowerPC days, when this site was created. Thanks for your input. :rolleyes:
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FuNGi Avatar
152 months ago
Wait, let me take a closer look at that before I decide how badass it is...
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
pgiguere1 Avatar
152 months ago
GLBenchmark results show it is around 2.4x as fast as the A5's GPU.




Here are some other GLBenchmark scores for reference, higher is better.

GLBenchmark 2.5 Egypt HD offscreen 1080p (C24Z16):

iPhone 5: 3003
iPad 3: 2820
Galaxy S III: 1708
iPad 2: 1545
Nexus 7: 1331
iPhone 4S: 1252
One X: 1197
Galaxy Nexus: 603

GLBenchmark 2.5 Egypt classic offscreen 1080p (C16Z16):

iPhone 5: 10349
iPad 3: 9877
Galaxy S III: 6662
iPad 2: 5489
iPhone 4S: 4535
Nexus 7: 4301
One X: 4041
Galaxy Nexus: 1632

This thing is a beast. :eek:
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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