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iPad 3 mainboard shows with A5X chip name

updated 01:15 pm EST, Sun February 19, 2012

iPad 3's chip may be upgraded A5 instead

An apparent discovery Sunday has shown what's purported as the iPad 3's mainboard with an unexpected A5X, not A6, processor name. The WeiPhone details don't directly indicate what this would imply, but they imply more of an evolution than a major overhaul. A date code on top suggests it was made in 2011 week 46, or about November 14-20 and the timeframe when iPad 3 production may have started.

The board also shows two 16GB Hynix flash memory chips for storage, although it's unknown if 32GB will be the baseline or just a mid-tier model like in 2010 and 2011.

Two possibilities exist for what an A5X could mean depending on Apple's interpretation of what a fifth-generation part uses. It could be a quad-core version of the existing ARM Cortex-A9 architecture in the A5, making it more of a parallel to (if likely faster than) NVIDIA's Tegra 3. Alternately, though less likely, it could still be dual-core and use either a higher clock speed on a new 28-nanometer process or the new ARM Cortex-A15 architecture that Samsung is using in the Exynos 5250.

Graphics will likely get a boost regardless of the underlying processor given the likely 2048x1536 display. Most 2011-era mobile graphics couldn't handle that resolution or would be too slow. As such, it's probable that the next iPad will use either a higher-clocked version of the iPad 2's PowerVR SGX543MP2 dual-core video or its quad-core relative, the SGX543MP4 seen in the PS Vita.

Multiple tips have the new iPad being unveiled on March 7 with a presumed, though not confirmed, March 16 release. Even if conservative, the A5X would give Apple a time-to-market advantage by shipping months ahead of a future Samsung Galaxy Tab that would have to wait until late in the spring at best to use an Exynos 5250. [via MacRumors]

by MacNN Staff



  1. charlituna

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Who cares

    really in the end what do the specs matter compared to what they can do as a total unit.

  1. Arne_Saknussemm

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's the ecosystem...

    your comment

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    If the A5X chip only ends up

    as a faster dual-core model iPad 2S there going to be major, and I do mean major cries of disappointment from the tech pundits since the Transformer Prime already has a quad-core processor. Tech pundits are pure spec nuts and are only impressed if there's some cutting edge hardware on-board.

    The consumers certainly won't care and the iPad 2S will sell in record numbers but the tech-heads will be bitching about what's the point in upgrading for such a minor hardware change like they did with the 4S. Those people make me absolutely sick with their jackass stupidity when it comes to consumer needs. They think the whole consumer world is made up of people waiting for some particular hardware at a certain time. As a commenter said, as long as the total unit is an improvement why should anyone care about some some specific component. Apple never claimed anything about the next iPad having a quad-core processor. Only the bloggers or analysts speculated about it.

  1. Zanziboy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What's in a name?

    There is no telling what architecture in the CPU as Apple's nomenclature does not follow any consistent pattern with the chip architecture. However, if I know Apple, there must be one heck of an engine in there to support that screen resolution and the extra demands on memory and pipelining.

  1. jwdsail

    Joined: Dec 1969



    1. The A5X is a successful attempt to find a leak, and has nothing to do with any real products.

    2. The A5X is an improved A5 including better graphics and lower power consumption per operation.

    3. The A5X is the above, and destined for either a slightly revised 16GB iPad 2 for the low range or a 7" iPod Touch, and the full-sized iPad 3 still gets an A6.

    4. It's a photoshop hoax and everyone is wasting their time even thinking about it.

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