Apple's New A6X iPad Chip Adopts PowerVR SGX 554MP4 Graphics

AnandTech reports on an examination of the A6X chip found in the fourth-generation iPad. The work, performed by Kishonti Informatics, reveals that Apple has adopted Imagination Technologies' quad-core PowerVR SGX 554MP4 graphics in the new chip.

The A6X retains the 128-bit wide memory interface of the A5X (and it keeps the memory controller interface adjacent to the GPU cores and not the CPU cores as is the case in the A5/A6). It also integrates two of Apple's new Swift cores running at up to 1.4GHz (a slight increase from the 1.3GHz cores in the iPhone 5's A6). The big news today is what happens on the GPU side. A quick look at the GLBenchmark results for the new iPad 4 tells us all we need to know. The A6X moves to a newer GPU core: the PowerVR SGX 554.

Unsurprisingly, the SGX 554MP4 represents a significant improvement over the quad-core SGX 543MP4 used in the A5X chip of the third-generation iPad and the triple-core SGX 543MP3 used in the A6 chip of the iPhone 5.

powervr gpu comparison a6x
A full suite of graphics benchmarks reveals improvements of 15-100% compared to the third-generation iPad, with frame rates in the Egypt HD benchmark jumping from 25 frames per second (fps) on the third-generation iPad to nearly 52 fps on the fourth-generation iPad.

Ultimately it looks like the A6X is the SoC that the iPad needed to really deliver good gaming performance at its native resolution. I would not be surprised to see more game developers default to 2048 x 1536 on the new iPad rather than picking a lower resolution and enabling anti-aliasing. The bar has been set for this generation and we've seen what ARM's latest GPU can do, now the question is whether or not NVIDIA will finally be able to challenge Imagination Technologies when it releases Wayne/Tegra 4 next year.

The A6X is one of several enhancements to the fourth-generation iPad, including a new FaceTime HD camera and Apple's new Lightning connector, although the device appears nearly identical to its predecessor from the outside.

Related Roundup: iPad
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Top Rated Comments

profets Avatar
152 months ago
iPad 3 owners tears coming in 3...2...

I've owned an iPad 3rd gen since launch and think this is awesome news.

I like what they've done to update the iPad, and it doesn't mean mine will suddenly stop working.
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Aluminum213 Avatar
152 months ago
iPad 3 owners tears coming in 3...2...
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NutsNGum Avatar
152 months ago
Wow, Angry Birds is going to be blinding on this model!
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iThinkIt Avatar
152 months ago
1..
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WilliamG Avatar
152 months ago
What about iPhone 5 owners?

I might hold on to my 4s a little longer.

Why would iPhone 5 users be crying? The 5 is noticeably, noticeably faster than the 4S. The iPad 3 wasn't at all noticeably faster than the iPad 2 (heck, I didn't think it was at all faster). It comes as no surprise that Apple would refresh it.

The iPhone 5's GPU doesn't need to be anywhere near the speed of iPad 4's, since it's not pushing anywhere near that number of pixels.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
shoes222 Avatar
152 months ago
Considering this is one of the fastest Apple products to be discontinued...they should offer a $100 trade-in upgrade program for the 4th gen iPad or SOMETHING. It would create goodwill among the hardcore base, and then they could take customers' iPad 3's which are in perfectly good condition and slap them on the refurb store. It would such easy money lining Apple's pockets, I don't know why they don't do this.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)