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Chipworks tears down Apple's A5 chip

Chris Ward

Your inner (and outer) geek will thank you for checking out Chipworks' teardown of the A5 processor inside the iPad 2.

Chipworks confirms that it is, in fact, made by Samsung and not by TSMC despite Apple's new deal with the latter. This may change in the future, however, especially if the A5 features in the next-generation iPhone.

The 120 square millimeter processor is more than twice the size of the original iPad's A4 processor (53 square millimeters). While it's still a fairly uncustomized, off-the-shelf version of the A5, its contributions to the impressive performance gains of the new iPad 2 are not to be sneered at.

Chipworks says "we have to de-layer the chip down to a level where we can see the block layout of the chip; not an easy thing when there's nine layers of metal!" Sounds like fun. "In fact, these days it's easier to go in from the back and remove the substrate silicon, and look at the gate level from below. Then we can identify the circuit blocks that make up the full device."

Don't try this at home, children.

[via CrunchGear]

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