Apple’s latest and largest iPad model, better known as iPad Pro, comes with an all new Apple A9X chip that powers the device. Now we have the very first look at the insides of the A9X chip, thanks to the Chipworks – an electronic devices’ teardown firm. The inside shots of the die, which have been posted below, are obtained by Motley Fool.
The inside photo of the die reveals a dua-core processor and a custom 12-cluster GPU that handles the graphics on the massive iPad Pro. This also reveals that Apple’s A9X chip contains the same number of CPU cores as found inside the A9 chip of iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, however, the GPU of A9X is made up of 12-clusters as compared to the 6-cluster GPU built in the A9 chip and there is no level-three cache memory found inside the A9X chip. Other than the number of GPU clusters and the L3 cache, the A9X die has the same built as that of the A9 chip.
Chipworks’ Dick James tells me that he sees a 12-cluster GPU, two CPU cores, and an absence of the level-three cache memory found inside the A9 chip […]
I agree with his assessment. The two CPU cores can be seen in the green box, and I believe that inside of each blue box are two GPU clusters, for a total of 12 clusters.
Chipwork confirms that the A9X chip reveals int he photo is fabricated by TSMC and does share many similarities to the A9 chip found inside the latest iPhone models.
The Moley Feel explains that the A9X chip on the iPad Pro has a memory interface twice the width of an A9 die which gives it increased memory width. This increased memory width is the reason behind the absence of 8MB 3rd level cache memory on the A9X chip, suggests The Motley Fool.
I believe that the A9X is easily the most advanced mobile system-on-a-chip available today. It has best-in-class CPU/graphics performance and it is an extremely large chip built on a bleeding-edge foundry manufacturing process.
The blue areas in the photo indicate the 12-cluster GPU (two in each rectangle), while the green area, represents the dual core CPU indie the A9X chip.