|Launched||March 11, 2011|
|Discontinued||October 4, 2016|
|Designed by||Apple Inc.|
|Product code||S5L8940X (A5)|
|Max. CPU clock rate||800 MHz to 1 GHz|
|L1 cache||32 KB instruction + 32 KB data|
|L2 cache||1 MB|
|Architecture and classification|
|Min. feature size||45 nm to 32 nm|
|Instruction set||ARM, Thumb-2|
|GPU(s)||PowerVR SGX543MP2 (dual-core)|
|Products, models, variants|
The Apple A5 is a 32-bit system on a chip (SoC) designed by Apple Inc. and manufactured by Samsung. The first product Apple featured an A5 in was the iPad 2. Apple claimed during their media event on March 2, 2011 that the ARM Cortex-A9 central processing unit (CPU) in the A5 is up to two times faster than the CPU in the Apple A4, and the PowerVR SGX543MP2 graphics processing unit (GPU) in the A5 is up to nine times faster than the GPU in the A4. Apple also claimed that the A5 uses the same amount of power as the A4.
The last operating system update Apple provided for a mobile device containing an A5 (iPad 2 CDMA, iPhone 4S, and first-generation iPad Mini cellular models) was iOS 9.3.6, which was released on July 22, 2019. The latest operating system update Apple has provided for an Apple TV containing an A5 (third-generation Apple TV and third-generation Rev A Apple TV) was Apple TV Software 7.6.2, which was released on December 14, 2020.
The A5 integrates an image signal processor unit (ISP) that can perform advanced image post-processing, such as face detection, white balance, and automatic image stabilization. The A5 also directly integrates Audience earSmart technology for removing surrounding background noise and secondary voices during phone calls.
The clock rate of the Cortex-A9 in the A5 used inside the iPad 2 and first-generation iPad Mini is 1 GHz. Both of these devices, unlike devices containing the A4 with a clock rate of 1 GHz, can automatically underclock their A5 chip to save battery life. The clock rate of the Cortex-A9 in the A5 used inside the iPhone 4S and fifth-generation iPod Touch is 800 MHz (underclocked from 1 GHz). It is unknown what the clock rate of the Cortex-A9 in the A5 used inside the third-generation Apple TV and third-generation Rev A Apple TV is.
When the A5 was first released, the production cost of the chip was estimated to be 75% more than the A4, with the difference expected to diminish when production would later increase. As of August 2012[update], the A5 was manufactured at Samsung's Austin, Texas factory. Samsung invested $3.6 billion in the Austin facility to produce various chips, and nearly all of the facility's output was dedicated to producing Apple chips. Samsung later invested a further $4.2 billion in the Austin facility in order to transition to a 28 nm fabrication process by the second half of 2013.
Apple A5 versions
Three versions of the A5 chip exist: S5L8940 (containing a 45 nm CPU), S5L8942 (containing a 32 nm CPU), and S5L8947 (containing a single-core 32 nm CPU). Apple also designed a separate high-performance variant of the A5 called the Apple A5X, which features a wider memory subsystem and two additional GPU cores. The A5X was used only in the third-generation iPad.
Apple A5 (S5L8940)
The S5L8940 version of the A5 was used in the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4S. The CPU was manufactured on a 45 nm fabrication process. The die of this version takes up 122.2 mm2 of area. It uses the PoP method of installation to support RAM. The top package contains two 256 MB LPDDR2 chips, providing a total of 512 MB of RAM.
Apple A5R2 (S5L8942)
The S5L8942 version of the A5 was used in the third-generation Apple TV (one CPU core is disabled), the iPad 2 (iPad2,4 revision), the fifth-generation iPod Touch, and the first-generation iPad Mini. The CPU was manufactured on a 32 nm fabrication process. The die of this version takes up 69.6 mm2 of area—nearly 41% smaller than the die of the S5L8940 version. Like the S5L8940 version, it uses the PoP method of installation to support RAM. The top package contains two 256 MB LPDDR2 chips, providing a total of 512 MB of RAM.
Apple A5R3 (S5L8947)
The S5L8947 version of the A5 was used only in the third-generation Rev A Apple TV. Unlike the previous two A5 versions, this version contains only one CPU core. Also unlike the previous two A5 versions, this version does not use the PoP method of installation to support RAM—RAM is found externally from the A5 chip. The die of this version takes up 37.8mm2 of area, using a new design made specifically for the third-generation Rev A Apple TV.
Products featuring the Apple A5
- iPad 2
- iPhone 4S
- Apple TV (3rd generation)
- iPod Touch (5th generation)
- iPad Mini (1st generation)
- Apple TV (3rd generation Rev A)
These images are illustrations and approximate to scale.
- Apple A5X
- Apple silicon, the range of ARM-based SoCs designed by Apple.
- PWRficient, a series of microprocessors designed by P.A. Semi. Apple acquired P.A. Semi to form an in-house custom chip design department.
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