A8 processor headed for iPhone 6, 6 Plus handsets said to incorporate six-core design, other features

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Date: Monday, September 15th, 2014, 11:57
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News, Processors

Apple’s come a long way with its iPhone processors.

And, according to reports, the new A8 processor is more than 84 times faster than the processor found in the first-yen iPhone back in 2007.

Per a hearty investigation by AnandTech and AppleInsider, the A8 processor that will be found in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus handsets is likely equipped with Imagination’s six-core PowerVR Series6XT GX6650. The GX6650 is the only PowerVR part that could both match Apple’s claimed performance improvements and supports ARM’s Adaptive Scalable Texture Compression, which Apple developer documents say is available with its next-generation graphics processors.

Apple-A8

ASTC is a relatively new standard for texture compression that allows GPU vendors to make their chips more power efficient, while still maintaining high levels of performance. The codec can compress nearly any texture, no matter the format, and output in a wide variety of bitrates that can be varied based on performance requirements.

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Rumor: TSMC begins producing A-series processors for Apple’s iOS devices

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Date: Thursday, July 10th, 2014, 10:44
Category: Hardware, News, Processors

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company has finally begun producing Apple’s A-series processors.

Per the Wall Street Journal and AppleInsider, TSMC started production on its 20-nanometer fabrication lines in the first quarter of 2014, with shipments commencing in the second quarter. While Samsung will reportedly remain one of Apple’s top suppliers for now, the company will split orders with TSMC for the near future.

“Apple’s order is a big deal to the company. TSMC has assigned a large team to support Apple as you know this client is very picky,” a source familiar with the Apple deal told the publication.

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The current rumors have stated that TSMC had begun manufacturing so-called “A8″ chips for Apple’s next-generation iPhones and iPads surfaced in March. Those processors are though to be quad-core models, doubling the dual-core setup of the current-generation A7.

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iMac speed-bumps next week?

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Date: Friday, June 13th, 2014, 08:32
Category: Apple, Hardware, iMac, Mac, Processors, Rumor

elthinimacAccording to C|NET, a report sent out on Tuesday from French blog site MacGeneration (use Google Translate) says that the iMac lineup is getting some speed upgrades to be announced as early as next week. Expectations for the base versions of all four of the iMac models are as follows;

  • The $1,499 21.5-inch 2.9 GHz version would see its CPU speed inch up to a full 3 GHz, while its Turbo Boost feature, which automatically manages individual cores of the processor for better performance and power efficiency, would rise from 3.6 GHz to 3.7 GHz.
  • The $1,299 21.5-inch 2.7 GHz would undergo no changes, according to MacGeneration.
  • The $1,799 27-inch 3.2 GHz variant would increase its processor speed to 3.3 GHz accompanied by a Turbo Speed bump from 3.6 GHz to 3.7 GHz.
  • The $1,999 27-inch 3.4GHz model would rise in CPU speed to 3.5 GHz, while the Turbo Speed’s performance would grow from 3.8 GHz to 3.9 GHz.

While the information provided showed no evidence of these iMacs sporting Retina Displays, some recent rumors say that code within the early betas of OS X 10.10 Yosemite hints that a Retina Display may find its way into an iMac in the near future.

 

 

OS X 10.10 Yosemite beta hardware requirements released, remain unchanged since OS X 10.9 Mavericks

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Date: Friday, June 6th, 2014, 11:02
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News, Processors, Software

os-x-yosemite-logo

If you’re running OS X 10.9 Mavericks, it looks like you’re going to be able to run OS X 10.10 Yosemite.

Per AppleInsider, the following system requirements have been released for the first OS X 10.10 Yosemite beta:

- MacBook Pro: mid-2007 or newer

- MacBook Air: late 2008 or newer

- iMac: mid-2007 or newer

- Mac mini: early 2009 or newer

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Intel announces Core M “Broadwell” processors, could pave way to thinner MacBook Air notebooks

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Date: Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014, 10:24
Category: Hardware, MacBook Air, News, Processors

IntelLogo

Your MacBook Air could get even thinner.

Which is impressive, as the current models are seriously thin already.

Per iMore and Engadget, Intel on Monday announced a new family of Core M “Broadwell” processors, which could possibly cut down even further on power consumption via improved cooling solutions.

Presenting the new chips at Computex, Intel president Renee James showed off a 2-in-1 PC powered by the company’s new 14nm Intel Core M chip, making way into the fifth generation (Broadwell) of Intel processors. The new processors utilize less energy and improve battery life, while providing enough power for consumers to enjoy a smooth experience on supported devices. The 2-in-1 PC shown off at Computex was just 7.2mm thick (see below photo) with no fans to hear or external exhausts to see. Those kind of features would be incredibly nice to see on a MacBook Air.

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New MacBook Airs sport new processors and cheaper

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Date: Tuesday, April 29th, 2014, 09:05
Category: Apple, Hardware, Intel, MacBook Air, News, Processors

macbook-air-13-inchApple’s MacBook Air models were quietly updated on Monday, with the only major changes being a slight speed-bump and a lower price. Anyone hoping for Airs with Retina Displays will have to wait a bit longer. At $100 less than the previous models, the starting price for an 11″ Macbook Air is $899 which now uses a 1.4 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz) with 3MB shared L3 cache, and 128 GB of flash storage. Both the 11″ and 13″ models can be configured with the faster 1.7 GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz) with 4MB shared L3 cache.

 

Screenshot 2014-04-29 03.21.17

 

If you’re pinching pennies, now might be a great time to grab a discount on the old models.

 

 

Recent security updates make Macs more secure, unless you’re a Snow Leopard user

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Date: Monday, March 3rd, 2014, 08:47
Category: Apple, Lion, Mac, privacy, Processors, security, Software

snowleopardEverybody was concerned last week when it was announced that a nasty bug in OS X was leaving Macs vulnerable to attacks that could grab information traveling across shared networks. While it has been confirmed that the bug only affected Mavericks, Apple simultaneously posted security updates for Mountain Lion (10.8) and Lion (10.7), but there was no sign of any security love for Snow Leopard (10.6). This really shouldn’t be a surprise to most people since 10.6 was also skipped when a previous security update was released as well as an update to the Safari browser. The omission of 10.6 from the current update simply confirms that Snow Leopard is no longer on Apple’s radar.

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New Mac Pro has socketed Intel CPU

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Date: Monday, December 30th, 2013, 09:57
Category: Features, Intel, Mac Pro, Processors, Take Apart, Thunderbolt

mac_pro_2013_internals-250x340Now that people have started to get their hands on the new Mac Pro, naturally the first thing they do is to tear it apart to see what makes it tick. Since the announcement of the Mac Pros specs and hardware, potential buyers have been lamenting the lack of user-upgradeable components in the sleek, black cylinder. It may be one of the reasons Apple was able to make it so small, but that is little consolation to pro users who are used to having more flexibility with their hardware. So far it was believed that the only internal part that could be upgraded was the memory. Apple expects all other expansion to be done through the Mac Pro’s six, high-speed Thunderbolt 2 ports.

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Intel, partners looking to manufacture 64-bit mobile processors

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Date: Thursday, October 31st, 2013, 10:30
Category: Hardware, News, Processors

Never doubt the power of the mobile processor business.Intel-logo

According to Forbes, at the ARM developers conference today, Intel partner Altera announced that the world’s largest semiconductor company will fabricate its ARM 64-bit chips starting next year. The announcement sent shockwaves through the technology industry as Intel is desperately trying to break ARM’s supremacy in the mobile market. Unlike Intel, ARM Holdings of the U.K. doesn’t manufacture chips but its designs are licensed and used worldwide in the mobile industry.

“It’s huge. Imagine ARM’s most powerful and technologically advanced 64-bit processor built on Intel’s leading-edge fabs. A duo that will be hard to beat,” explains Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64.

But this is just the beginning of a much larger endeavor for the chip giant as Intel is even willing to compete with semiconductor foundry leader TSMC for the business of its fiercest rivals, like Nvidia or Qualcomm.

“Intel will build Apple’s, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon or the Nvidia Tegra for the right price. Now, the question is, are they ready to pay that premium [to ARM] and feed their direct competitor? But that would actually make business sense for everyone,” adds Brookwood.

With Intel ready to open up its leading-edge factories to whomever is willing to pay a premium, chip prices could actually come down, with the other foundries (TSMC, UMC, GlobalFoundries, Samsung, IBM or SMIC) feeling the pressure to compete.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Chipworks continues examination of A7 processor, finds new architecture, quad-core GPU

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Date: Monday, September 30th, 2013, 07:57
Category: Hardware, News, Processors

a7processor

There’s some cool stuff going on with the iPhone 5s’ new A7 processor.

Per an analysis published by Chipworks, the A7 contains assorted changes from the previous A6 processor, including the addition of a mysterious SRAM cell never seen in A-series silicon.

Continuing its comprehensive investigation of the new A7 SoC, which on Tuesday confirmed a 28nm manufacturing process, silicon experts at Chipworks are digging deeper into the processor’s major structures and overall design.

The firm notes in the report that the latest findings are currently just “best guesses,” as circuit extraction testing has not yet been performed to yield conclusive data.

Taking the caveat into consideration, one of the more interesting findings would be the “secure enclave” used for Touch ID fingerprint data storage that Apple discussed during the iPhone 5s reveal earlier this month.

Chipworks was unable to identify a given area it had noted, but guesses that a new SRAM cell located above the GPUs is a prime suspect as the rather large storage space is a new addition to the A-series lineup. Extrapolating the size of the memory block and comparing it with metrics of known technology, the firm estimates the SRAM module to have a density of about 3MB.

Moving to the CPU, the A7′s dual-core unit and accompanying memory, estimated at 1MB for L2 cache and 256KB for L1, takes up about 17 percent of the die area. Located across from the CPU setup is a quad-core GPU with shared logic, which accounts for 22 percent of on-die space.

A side-by-side comparison of the A7 and last year’s A6 show the chips’ CPUs do not share the same layout. The new A7 appears to be closer to a conventional automated design, which would be a departure from Apple’s most recent custom-architected A-series SoCs.

Aside from the above discoveries, the rest of the A7′s design appears to be carried over from the A6. Of note, the USB, LCD and camera interfaces are identical to those found in Apple’s A5, A6 and A6X chips.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.