Apple A10

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Apple A10 Fusion
Apple A10 Fusion APL1W24.jpg
Produced From September 7, 2016 to Present
Designed by Apple Inc.
Common manufacturer(s)
Max. CPU clock rate to 2.34 GHz[2]
Min. feature size 16 nm
Instruction set A64, A32, T32
Microarchitecture Hurricane and Zephyr both ARMv8‑A-Compatible
Product code APL1W24
Cores Quad-core (2× Hurricane + 2× Zephyr)
L1 cache Per core: 64 KB instruction + 64 KB data
L2 cache 3 MB shared
L3 cache 4 MB shared
Predecessor Apple A9
Successor Apple A11 Bionic
GPU PowerVR Series 7XT GT7600 Plus (hexa-core) [3][4]
Application Mobile
Variant Apple A10X Fusion

The Apple A10 Fusion is a 64-bit ARM-based system on a chip (SoC), designed by Apple Inc. and manufactured by TSMC. It first appeared in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus which were introduced on September 7, 2016.[5][6] In addition, the A10 chip is the processor in the iPad (2018). The A10 is the first Apple-designed quad-core SoC, with two high-performance cores and two energy-efficient cores. Apple states that it has 40% greater CPU performance and 50% greater graphics performance compared to its predecessor, the Apple A9.

Design[edit]

The A10 is built on TSMC's 16 nm FinFET process[1][7] and contains 3.3 billion transistors (including the GPU and caches) on a die size of 125 mm2[8]. It features two Apple-designed 64-bit 2.34 GHz ARMv8-A cores called Hurricane, each with a die size of 4.18 mm2. As the first Apple-produced quad-core SoC, it has two high-performance cores designed for demanding tasks like gaming, while also featuring two energy-efficient Apple-designed 64-bit cores codenamed Zephyr at 0.78 mm2[8][9] for normal tasks in a configuration similar to the ARM big.LITTLE technology.[10][11]

However, unlike most implementations of big.LITTLE, such as the Snapdragon 820 or Exynos 8890, only one core type can be active at a time, either the high-performance or low-power cores, but not both.[2][10] Thus, the A10 Fusion appears to software and benchmarks as a dual core chip. Apple claims that the high-performance cores are 40% faster than Apple's previous A9 processor and that the two high-efficiency cores consume 20% of the power of the high performance Hurricane cores;[12] they are used when performing simple tasks, such as checking email. A new performance controller decides in realtime which pair of cores should run for a given task in order to optimize for performance or battery life. The A10 has an L1 cache of 64 KB for data and 64 KB for instructions, an L2 cache of 3 MB[13] shared by both cores, and a 4 MB[13] L3 cache that services the entire SoC.

The new 6-core GPU built into the A10 chip is 50% faster while consuming 66% of the power of its A9 predecessor. Further analysis has suggested that Apple has kept the GT7600 used in Apple A9, but replaced portions of the PowerVR based GPU with its own proprietary designs.[3][14] These changes appear to be using lower half-precision floating-point numbers, allowing for higher-performance and lower power consumption.

Embedded in the A10 is the M10 motion coprocessor.[15] The A10 also includes a new image processor which Apple says has twice the throughput of the prior image processor.[16]

The A10 is packaged in a new InFO packaging from TSMC which reduces the height of the package. In the same package there are also four LPDDR4 RAM chips integrating 2 GB of RAM in the iPhone 7, or 3 GB in the iPhone 7 Plus.

Products that include the Apple A10 Fusion[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Apple iPhone 7 Teardown". techinsights.com. 
  2. ^ a b Cunningham, Andrew (September 13, 2016). "iPhone 7 and 7 Plus review: Great annual upgrades with one major catch". Ars Technica. Retrieved September 14, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "iPhone 7 GPU breakdown". Wccftech. December 2016. 
  4. ^ "Mysteries of Apple A10 GPU". PC World. December 2016. 
  5. ^ "Apple Debuts Three Custom Chips - EE Times". EETimes. 
  6. ^ Smith, Ryan. "Apple Announces iPhone 7 & iPhone 7 Plus: A10 Fusion SoC, New Camera, Wide Color Gamut, Preorders Start Sept. 9th". Anandtech. 
  7. ^ Smith, Ryan (September 16, 2016). "Early iPhone 7 Teardowns: Intel and Qualcom Modems, TSMC SoC, and 2 to 3 GB of RAM". Anandtech. Retrieved September 16, 2016. 
  8. ^ a b "Apple A10 Fusion Are Bigger Than the Competition – Apple Designing Bigger Cores for Better Performance?". Oct 22, 2016. 
  9. ^ Ray, Tiernan (October 21, 2016). "Apple's 'A10′ iPhone Chip Smokes the Competition, Says Linley Group". Tech Trader Daily. The Linley Group notes Apple’s “A10″ CPU cores, Hurricane and Zephyr, are quite a bit bigger than those of competing mobile chips. 
  10. ^ a b "The Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus Review". AnandTech. Retrieved October 11, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Apple A10 Fusion". TechCrunch. Retrieved September 7, 2016. 
  12. ^ Kingsley-Hughes, Adrian (September 8, 2016). "A10 Fusion: The silicon powering Apple's new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus: The A10 Fusion doesn't offer as big a jump in performance as last year's A9, but it's still an impressive piece of silicon". 
  13. ^ a b Sims, Gary (2 October 2017). "Why are Apple's chips faster than Qualcomm's? - Gary explains". Android Authority. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  14. ^ Manion, Wayne (31 October 2016). "Real World Technologies dissects Apple's A10 GPU". TechReport.com. Retrieved 23 November 2016. 
  15. ^ "iPhone 7 - Technical Specifications". Apple. September 7, 2016. Retrieved October 25, 2017. 
  16. ^ Merritt, Rick (September 7, 2016). "Apple Debuts Three Custom Chips". EE Times. Retrieved October 25, 2017.