NVIDIA has thrown down the gauntlet to Apple in the mobile chip power stakes. While the A8X chip used in the iPad Air 2 has so far blown away the competition, NVIDIA has shown off benchmarks indicating that its new mobile superchip, the Tegra X1, leaves it standing.
The benchmark data shared with SlashGear were heavier on graphics than hard data, but appear to show that the chip significantly outperforms the A8X, with NVIDIA saying that it will offer “silky-smooth 60fps 4K video.” The one number the company did share is that when throttled back to match the GPU performance of the Apple chip, power efficiency was 1.7 times better.
The same Bootcamp support page that either reveals an upcoming Mac mini refresh or a misprint also listed an iMac 27-inch mid-2014′ model before the page was updated – spotted by French site Consomac.
The model was listed above the 21.5-inch mid-2014 iMac released last month. That model was a low-end one, with a 1.4GHz dual-core i5 processor and 500GB hard drive. That might suggest a new entry-level 27-inch iMac is on the way – though Apple doesn’t generally offer a low-spec version of the larger iMac …
As noted by MacRumors, Apple has recently introduced a new model of the low-end 21.5-inch iMac to educational institutions that brings slightly downgraded specs and shaves $200 off the price of the entry-level iMac available to consumers.
Replacing the old $999 iMac for education option, the new $1,099 21.5-inch iMac (ME699LL/A) offers 4GB of RAM, Intel HD Graphics 4000, and a 500GB hard drive. That’s compared to the 8GB of RAM and 1TB hard drive Apple includes in the regular entry-level model. Apple is also including a 3.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i3 CPU in the machine instead of the usual 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i5.
The new education model offers most of the usual built-to-order options, including the ability to upgrade to a 1TB Fusion Drive and up to 16GB of RAM.
Apple just recently dropped shipping times from 1 to 3 days down to “within 24 hours” for the new iMacs in its North American online stores, but the new iMac for education is shipping in 5 to 7 business days.
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According to industry sources, Apple has not collaborated with Samsung in the process to develop its A6 microprocessor used in its latest iPhone 5. Samsung has handled the manufacturing of the processors used in previous iPhones and believed to have contributed in their design to some degree… It now appears that the structure of the deal has been dramatically adjusted…Apple is still relying on the Korean firm to manufacture its chips but has made it clear it will no longer use its rival’s technology.
We heard conflicting reports in September regarding Apple’s decision to reduce component orders from its biggest supplier, Samsung. Reuters claimed the reduction in orders was an attempt to simply “widen its supply chain,” while others reported Apple is actively reducing orders of displays, memory chips, and batteries specifically due to increasing tension between the companies. According to the report’s source, an unnamed senior Samsung official, Samsung is now only manufacturing the A6 chips on a “foundry basis”:
“There are three kinds of chip clients. Some want us to handle everything from chip design, architecture and manufacturing. Some want us to just design and manufacture. Some want us to just make the chips. Apple is now the third type,’’
Related to today’s report: Apple’s recent hiring of Samsung chip designer Jim Mergard. The report claimed the hiring of Mergard, who was working specifically on ARM chip designs at Samsung and prior, increases the “mutual tension”…
Citigroup Global Markets Inc. estimated Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) to be the only supplier of 20nm process to Apple quad-core processors over the next one to two years, citing the company’s unmatched technological advance on 20nm process and Apple’s decision to adopt 20nm quad-core processors in its new products…Apple began verifying TSMC’s 20nm process in August this year and may begin risk production in November with the process. Volume production is expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2013, raising the possibility that TSMC will hike capital expenditure to US$11-12 billion in 2013 and 2014.
According to Hsu, Apple will utilize the processors in iPad, “iTV” (Apple TV?), and MacBooks, while iPhone’s will remain with duo-core chips:
Hsu estimated Apple to design quad-core processors into iPad, iTV and even Macbook. iPhones will be still powered by duo-core processors to highlight its low power consumption merit… Apple’s contracts have been widely criticized for low margin to contract suppliers, likely the reason why TSMC has been reluctant to compete for Apple contracts. But Hsu thinks otherwise, estimating Apple’s quad-core chip, cost at around US$15, could be 10% cheaper once it is made by Taiwan’s supply chains involving TSMC, Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc. (ASE), and Kinsus Interconnect Technology Corp.,
Apple iPad 3 rumors indicate a March 7 announcement with a 2,048-by-1, 536-pixel Retina display, quad-core A6 processor, improved cameras, and now LTE chip. The over-all design of the tablet will remain the same, according to the consensus, but the big new feature will obviously be the new Retina display. Rumors also indicate LG and Samsung are manufacturing the display. ChinaTimes said in a new report this evening that Apple ordered a whopping 65 million 264PPI Retina displays from both LG and Samsung. Both have reportedly already begun production, as well. It is not clear if this number includes orders from Sharp, who is rumored to be building displays from the iPad 3.
For comparison, Apple ordered 40 million displays for the iPad 2. Today’s report indicates a substantial 60 percent to 70 percent increase over iPad 2. If these reports are true, Apple is thinking big for its new tablet.
The iPad 2 is currently the world’s hottest tablet due to selling 15.4 million during the holiday quarter. With a big feature like the Retina display, Apple could potentially blow these numbers out of the water. China, and other emerging markets, could contribute to the influx of sales.
iMore also adds its voice to the string of iPad 3 Retina Display confirmations, and also says the new iPad will have a quad-core A6 processor. This agrees with both our own code findings and Bloomberg’s report. iMore says Apple is working on LTE mobile devices, they mention the iPhone 5 specifically, but LTE is noted as a possibility for this new iPad.
The next iPad will have the name “iPad 3,” according to the consensus of rumors, and it features a faster processor/GPU while remaining the same size as the current iPad 2. Its unveiling is in a month (March 7th is the first Wednesday) and will be available (in Wi-Fi certainly) almost immediately after.
The big differentiator this year is the “Retina Display” with a staggering 2048-by-1536 pixel screen, likely made by Sharp/Samsung/LG. An Apple employee told The New York Times that the display was “truly amazing” and it must be with a pixel count that lies between the 21- and 27-inch iMacs squeezed into a 9.7-inch display. Consider: You can watch a Blu-ray movie at native resolution with over 100 pixels on the side and nearly 500 pixels below to “play with.”
Oh, by the way: How many megapixels is 2048-by-1536? Just over 3.
That screen sounds like it might take more juice to power, but Apple will add some extra battery capacity, which might make the iPad 3 slightly thicker. The battery life will likely continue with 10 hours as the baseline (why make the case slightly bigger or smaller otherwise?).
Following reports earlier this month from Bloomberg that iPad 3 production kicked off in anticipation of a March launch, BGR today claimed a source is in possession of an iPad 3 prototype that has provided more information on the device.
A source claiming to be in possession of an iPad 3 prototype provided BGR with images containing details about Apple’s highly anticipated third-generation tablet. From the data in the photos, which contain the output from an iPad 3 using a development and debug tool called iBoot, we can infer plenty of information about the upcoming iPad 3.
BGR claimed the debug reports from the iPad 3 prototype in question have model numbers J1 and J2 (iPad3,1 and iPad3,2), with one being the only Wi-Fi model and the other an LTE/CDMA/GSM combo “for all carriers.” This echoes 9to5Mac‘s findings from last year.
The reports also provided confirmation of an A6 processor (model number S5L8945X) that most have expected Apple to include in the device. We first broke news of a Quad-core chip in the iPad 3 via code snippets in iOS 5.1B software.
According to the BGR report, the processor will be a quad-core variant, “making the upcoming iPad 3 the fastest iOS device ever.”
We’ve seen previous mentions of the Samsung S5L8945X in iOS 5 dumps from the iPhone 4S:
So, while nothing in the report is new, the means by which these were found, reportedly from a prototype iPad 3, seem to confirm previous findings.
Bloomberg reported that the iPad 3 entered production and is tracking a March launch. The report also claimed the new iPad will feature a higher-resolution display, Retina probably, and a quad-core processor. It will also connect to LTE networks.
The company’s manufacturing partners in Asia started ramping up production of the iPad 3 this month and plan to reach full volumes by February, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the details aren’t public. The tablet will use a quad-core chip, an enhancement that lets users jump more quickly between applications, two of the people said.
Speed increases are an expected part of Apple’s iOS device hardware upgrades, but what Apple has up their sleeves for speed enhancements is typically up for debate. The first-generation iPad clocked around 1GHz with the single core A4 processor, and —a year later—Apple bumped the iPad’s chip to dual-core-speed with the A5 processor. While not quite confirming that a quad-core processor will power Apple’s third-generation iPad, we have obtained evidence that suggests Apple is currently working on quad-core iOS devices.
Hidden deep inside the latest iOS 5.1 beta is updated processing-core management software that not only supports the dual-core processing enabled by the A5 iPhone and iPad chip, but also quad-core processing. The references to quad-core iPhone and iPad chips come by way of a hidden panel that describes cores that are supported by iOS device hardware. The updated core management software includes an option of “/cores/core.3,” and this represents a fourth available processing core… more details after the break:
iOS release history tells us that as a product in development moves even closer to release, it is assigned a proper codename. Not only an identifier like “3,1” but a codename such as N94 (iPhone 4S) or K48 (original iPad). The next-generation Apple TV has reached that stage. Thanks to today’s beta release of iOS 5.1, we have on our hands the codename for this new Apple TV (3,1).
Anandtech has published some interesting findings based on their extensive Samsung Galaxy S II review. It’s the first smartphone to use the graphics processing unit based on the Mali-400 core from ARM Holdings, a fables chip maker from the UK. In fact, Samsung has engineered and manufactured its own system-on-a-chip solution for the handset.
They call it the Exynos 4210 and it combines a dual-core Cortex-A9 CPU core and the aforementioned Mali-400 GPU sporting four cores. The resulting performance, says Anandtech, is comparable to Texas Instruments OMAP 4 chip that incorporates Imagination Technologies’ PowerVR SGX540 GPU core. However, the quad-core 1.2GHz Exynos 4210 probably won’t hold a candle to iPhone 4S, which will likely carry the same dual-core processor-GPU combo as the iPad 2’s 1GHz A5 chip:
Samsung implemented a 4-core version of the Mali-400 in the 4210 and its resulting performance is staggering as you can see above. Although it’s still not as fast as the PowerVR SGX 543MP2 found in the iPad 2, it’s anywhere from 1.7 – 4x faster than anything that’s shipping in a smartphone today.
Interestingly, and per the GL Benchmark included below, the Exynos 4210 is more than twice as fast compared to the Galaxy Tab 10.1 that runs Nvidia’s Tegra 2 chip and nearly four times speedier than iPhone 4’s 800 MHz A4 chip that sports the PowerVT SGX535 GPU core. However, the 4210 falls short in the triangle throughput department, a big disadvantage over the iPad 2’s A5 processor that clocks nine times the graphics performance of the original iPad’s A4 chip.
Triangle throughput is important in graphics-intensive games and will become key in “future games that may scale along that vector rather than simply increasing pixel shader complexity”. The video of Anandtech’s Samsung Galaxy S II review is right after the break.
Update (Aug. 8th): Following our report, Apple has gone ahead and released it!. Interestingly, no Thunderbolt and RAM not upgradable?!
Apple is gearing up to launch a new addition to the iMac lineup later this month that appears to be geared towards education/volume customers. The new iMac has less power than the current line of all-in-one Apple desktop computers and also has less storage space. The computer packs a last generation 3.1 GHz dual-core processor (3.06 GHz rounded up), 2 GB of DDR3 RAM, 250 GB of hard drive storage space, and the AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics processor with 256 MB of dedicated memory.
This lower-end iMac obviously has much less horsepower than the current iMac line and should be priced as such. For comparison, the entry level 21.5-inch iMac features a 2.5 GHz quad-core processor, 4 GB of RAM, a 500 GB hard drive, and the same AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics processor but with double the dedicated memory at 512 MB. This entry level 21.5-inch iMac is priced at $1,199, so don’t be surprised to see this less-powerful machine with a sub-$1000 price tag. For reference, Apple’s last education-geared iMac was priced at $899. A similar (more RAM, worse graphics) refurbished model is currently priced at $929 (pictured below).
Apple is expected to silently release this new machine later this month. As always, thanks Mr. X.
We’re not sure if this has already happened, but EETimes reports on the rumors that Apple has shifted its A5 production from Samsung to TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company). Since no one has seen a real A5 processor yet, we don’t know if Apple has already switched.
Perhaps most damning, the art that Apple has put out on its A5 Chips is actually just an A4 Chip with ‘A5’ superimposed over top(!) See same part numbers around the edges above. Does this mean that Apple has something to hide? (They always do)
The move would make logistical sense as Apple’s current (former?) partner in processor manufacturing, Samsung, is increasingly becoming a competitor in both iOS devices and in PCs. Apple was supposed to take $7.8Billion in parts from Samsung this year. Might be time to adjust that estimate.
With little or no fanfare, Apple and TSMC have recently entered into a foundry relationship, sources said. As reported, TSMC will make the A5 dual-core processor on a foundry basis for Apple’s iPad 2. That can be read here and here.