iPhone 5’s A6 Processor Is The First Manual Layout Chip To Hit The Market In Years

iPhone 5’s A6 Processor Is The First Manual Layout Chip To Hit The Market In Years

We already know a few details about the A6 chip thanks to iFixit’s immaculate teardown, but there’s still a lot to learn about how much hard work Apple put into custom designing their A6 chip.

iFixit teamed up with Chipworks to dive into Apple’s A6 processor to find out what makes Apple’s new chip so special. To their surprise, the team found out that Apple manually laid out each of the Dual Arm Corse, making it the first manual layout chip to hit the market in several years.

  • When compared to the rigid, efficient layout of the GPU cores directly below it, the layout of the ARM cores looks a little homespun—at first.
  • Generally, logic blocks are automagically laid out with the use of advanced computer software. However, it looks like the ARM core blocks were laid out manually—as in, by hand.
  • A manual layout will usually result in faster processing speeds, but it is much more expensive and time consuming.
  • The manual layout of the ARM processors lends much credence to the rumor that Apple designed a custom processor of the same caliber as the all-new Cortex-A15, and it just might be the only manual layout in a chip to hit the market in several years.
If you want to learn more about Apple’s incredible new chip and see some amazing pictures all the A6 guts, head over to iFixit and read the full teardown.
  • Aaron

    The DEC Alpha was the last hand-optimized CPU on the market. That’s what it was so fast. I’m glad to see Apple putting that level of optimization into their CPUs. Now, please put it in an iPad4. :)

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Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Senior News Editor and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Twitter: @bst3r.

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