Apple A9 – the deceiver, the scoundrel and chipset

Phil Schiller said only 64-bit processor third generation, saying even less detail than before. Other traditions a new system-on-chip from Apple, despite the modest (seemingly) technical data, has not violated, being one of the most productive in the world. In the first few months are generally the most productive.

Phil told me about the processor of the third generation twice, starting with a system-on-chip for the iPad Pro. With the sales of “Apple” tablets fared even worse than the average in the industry. Apple backgrounds all was well, and their new model was even better. And for the first time, announcing both the system-on-chip, 2015, started with a version for the iPad.

Perhaps they angered an ancient Indian deity, one which was soon punishing Apple, the wrath of the gods will tell in one of the following series. Perhaps the anger was caused by something else: except A9 introduced after the A9X, the system-on-chip, there have been many other changes.

Not to gavati Indian gods, I start with the Apple A9.

According to official figures, compared to the A8 in A9 CPU performance has increased by 70%, GPU performance is 90%, the CPU had transistors new architecture, and it was all optimized for real-world problems and real life. All true.

The name of the CPU in the system-on-chip figured out before she fell into the hands of people without a subscription about nondisclosure. It was mentioned in the same plist file as before, and it was Twister. A tornado, a hurricane, a tornado, a deceiver. “The owner of factories-Palace-steamers,” which I read as a child, named Mr. Twister.

And as the ship call, so it will float.

This continuation of the series Pro processors from Apple. Previous parts:

The first part: In the shadow of the Apple A4;
Second part: the birth of the “Apple” of the processor;
Part three: Returning to the beginning of beginnings: Apple A6/A6X (Swift);
The fourth part: the Cyclone comes to replace the Swift (in the Apple A7);
Fifth part: one “NeXT” or coprocessor for fitness (Apple M7);
Sixth part: turns into Typhoon Cyclone (Apple A8);
Seventh part: the Apple S1: riddle enclosed in a mystery;
Eighth part: Apple A8X: the Graphics in the zone of special attention.

The autopsy and… deception

Twister, of course, and a hurricane, tornado, and tornado – but when a brand new iPhone 6s, mercilessly open the case SoC and cutting layer by layer from the surface of the chip, in search of the optimal angle for the spy photos with a powerful electron microscope, the researchers were misled by the geometric dimensions of the region L3.

If you read somewhere that the size of the cache in the third level in the Apple A9 8 GB, do not believe. But don’t judge authors too harshly: it was a common misconception in those days. Actually 4 GB. Moreover, now it didn’t matter, the cache played in the system-on-chip less important role, without it it could do.

Chip investigated as an artifact from a distant star, experts Chipworks have done it during working hours, for more than a good salary. If necessary, invited independent experts: the search for truth is fascinating, but difficult.

The verdict of the experts 88 level was sensational: architectural, Twister and system-on-chip from Apple was superior to Intel processors. As well as shoes or a suit tailor-made surpass analogues of mass production. Actually, for this in the Apple and created their own CPU, and meticulously customized them for yourself.

Performance Twister was a tornado-hurricane-tornado. 2-core processor tore apart the 4 – and 8-core rivals. In the first few months after the release of kicking ass. Then the arrogant upstart responded, drove to first place by a wide margin – but the rest of his active life to oust him from the first three failed.

But cheating experts, Twister forced to look at ourselves from the other side. This word has several meanings, including “deceiver.” In the Apple A9 cache size the third level of 4 Gigabytes. Guess what was the cache size in the “cargo” Apple A9X. If you know, Shhh!

Not a single autopsy

How process what technology and what company produced Apple A9 I’ll discuss in the section “Chipset: Chip and Dale rescue Rangers”. The results of a comprehensive study of the artifact, confirmed and proven, both predictable and impressive.

If Apple itself had published all of this, the results would be less white spots (not all amenable to study), but they are read by fewer people, and it would be much more boring. And some brilliant engineers group microelectronics Apple could easily be the fruits of someone else’s mistake.

Photo Apple A9:

This is one of the first photos is exactly the size of the cache level 3 was defined as 8 Gigabytes. As it turned out, the items in the cache were allocated more living space than the rest of the inhabitants of the chip. In 2015 to have been the hypothesis that if the cache was originally planned as 8 GB, but in the process of optimizing it has reduced by half.

In color and more clearly:

2 cores, very similar to core Cyclone or Typhoon. The first-level cache (each core) – size of 128K. 64K for instructions and 64K for data. The second level cache (shared for all cores) 3 MB. Three times more than the Apple A8.

Data bus width – 64 bits, bandwidth – 25.6 GB/s LPDDR4 RAM (3, 200 MHz). In A9 it 2 Gigabytes.

Interface flash memory – typical for mobile devices, PCIe and NVMe. The same as the expensive personal computers.

The clock frequency of 1.85 GHz. A lot more than the A8 (1.1 to 1.4 GHz in different devices).

Graphics processor – PowerVR GT7600 from Imagination Technologies, the seventh series of the Rogue architecture (translated as rascal, rogue, scoundrel). In the Apple A8 was used by the villain of the sixth series. In PowerVR GT7600 6 cores (in Imagination they were called clusters).

And a few words about the new architecture of transistors. If you thought that creating this new architecture, Apple had something to do, you are not right. With the technology of 20 nm and below, traditional transistors with each nanometer-down was reduced due to leaks. Someone (I think Intel, but I could be wrong) found a solution to the problem transistors new architecture called Tri-Gate (3-gate).

It was like this:

Became this:

Pictures of the Intel report, dated 2013, if not sooner. But we assume that this architecture is new. What are we, sorry?

Chipset: Chip and Dale rescue Rangers

Start at the end of the story. Apple is ignoring any questions about its system-on-chips… suddenly spoke. Answered. Imagine: you ask Apple, they say “light of my bull’s-eye, say…” – as a joke. And it is, well-modulated voice, very serious, detailed and thorough, answering.

The rest of what I will tell, compared with this event stuff.

Apple A9 was produced by two companies:

Samsung on FinFET technology to 14 nm, marking APL0898, chip area is 96 sq mm;
— TSMC, in the FinFET technology 16 nm, marking APL1022, the chip area of 104.5 sq. mm.

Of course, as is customary in fruit-producing mobile device on which these chips within purchased iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus, no one reported. Even that two of them, and they are slightly different from one another, people learned from other sources.

At Apple, ran rough, and even presenting evidence. Tests, the results of which are one-to-one reproduced many times. That is, one hundred percent true?

In multiple tests chip from Samsung (APL0898) emptied the battery on 2 (two!) hours faster than the chip from TSMC (APL1022). Brand new 6s or 6s Plus, at no fault of your reasons, instead of the promised 10 hours between charges will be “live” 8 or 10 hours?

Using the program CPU Identifier Japanese iOS developer to Hiraku, checked 250 thousand 6s/6s Plus and found that 63% of them were chip from Samsung (APL0898).

During the first week of sales 6s/6s Plus sold over 13 million units, that is, the result is likely inaccurate. Apple quickly removed the program from the App Store.

That is crooks and liars? Afraid of the truth – but we derive them for clean water!

This was all discussed, dubbed “Chipata”, collected signatures for a petition, the media enthusiastically published horror. For many it was just a celebration of some kind – but then a miracle happened as described in the beginning of this topic: Apple has spoken.

Apple what the problem is, but to exaggerate its seriousness is not necessary.

Chip from Samsung consumes battery power faster. In real life 2 or 3 percent. In some tests more, some less. Independent verification confirmed: no Sipgate no.

The test was biased, the reviewer believed in Chipset, and they liked to believe it. But alas, the incident was over.

To be continued

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