Posted in: Mobile computers

So what exactly is this new Apple A5 chip all about?

One of the key improvements the Apple iPad 2 brings over its predecessor is the new Apple A5 chipset with dual-core CPU. Traditionally, the company saved us the details and didn’t say a word about what’s inside the home-brewed architecture, but here’s what we deduced it to contain.

Now as far as the CPU is concerned, dual-core Cortex-A9 is a perfectly safe bet. The ARM architecture is confirmed by the photo you see above and it would only make sense for Apple to go with the current dual-core version available. We can’t be quite sure about the clock speed, but those things usually run at 1 GHz.

There is an outside chance that Apple will underclock the two cores to 800 Mhz to improve battery life, but the smart money really is on a gigahertz.

Now, the iPad 2 GPU is a much more complicated matter. The only clue Apple gave us is the fact that it is 9 times faster than the PowerVR SGX535 of the original iPad.

Our main suspect is the multi-core PowerVR SGX543 GPU, which should deliver a performance that roughly fits the description. This was also what previous rumors suggested so we would rate its probability as pretty high.

By the way, here’s what you’ll see if you remove the display of the iPad 2. The Apple A5 chip can be seen right next to the battery, almost right in the middle. The whole place is taken by the huge Li-Polymer battery. In fact, it’s the same 25Whr battery used in the previous gen iPad. Only this time, it’s positioned to the side (as on the iPhone 4) and not in the middle (as on the original iPad).

Finally, we come to the available RAM. There is absolutely no available information on that one, but we’d be shocked to find out if the iPad 2 has anything less than 512 MB of RAM. An increase over the measly 256 MB that the first iPad offered is mandatory a doubling seems to us like the perfectly reasonable thing to do.

That move will provide all the RAM heavy multi-taskers might need without skyrocketing the production costs.


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