Tweaked Apple TV Offers 'Significant' but Nearly Invisible Power Savings With More Efficient Chip Designs
Following Chipworks' examination of the new A5 chip found in Apple's tweaked Apple TV, AnandTech has performed its own analysis of the device. While many of the A5 chip details have already been covered, AnandTech focuses more on the device as a whole, and interestingly finds that the internal changes have yielded a significant decrease in power consumption compared to its predecessor.
The power savings are nothing short of significant. The previous generation Apple TV wasn’t really a power hog, with platform power maxing out at around 1.6W, but the new model tops out at just a watt. Overall the power savings seem to be around 800mW across the board.
With no change to process technology, I can only assume that the reduction in power consumption came from other architectural or silicon optimizations.
Of course, AnandTech also notes that the power savings are essentially invisible to users given how little power the set-top box used to begin with.
Assuming you’re using the Apple TV for watching video 8 hours a day, every day of the year, you’d save about $0.26 per year on your power bill (assuming $0.11/kWh). You’d break even on the $99 cost of a new Apple TV in about 385 years. Maybe by then we’ll actually have a true replacement to cable TV.
AnandTech also measured Wi-Fi performance on the tweaked Apple TV given that Apple has moved to a new Broadcom Wi-Fi chip and gone back to a one-antenna layout from the two-antenna configuration used in the previous model. Testing revealed that Wi-Fi range and performance is essentially identical between the old and new hardware.
Apple's reasons for introducing a brand-new chip design for the relatively low-volume Apple TV remain unclear, with AnandTech summarizing some of the recent speculation that Apple may be trying to shave costs by stripping out unnecessary components of the A5 or testing the new chip ahead of a broader rollout in other products.