Here's why the iPad Pro's processor is so fast

A deep dive into Apple's A9X chip explains why its performance rivals that of a laptop.

Sponsored Links

Here's why the iPad Pro's processor is so fast

Whatever you think of Apple's products, there's little doubt that the A9X processor in the iPad Pro is quick -- in a few cases, it rivals the performance you'd get from a laptop. But why is it so quick, especially when Apple tends to shy away from high clock speeds, many-core processors and other conventional performance tricks? Thanks to AnandTech and Chipworks, we now have a good idea. They've torn down the A9X to reveal that the chip is a series of calculated tradeoffs. It only has two CPU cores and doesn't even have Level 3 memory cache to keep the processor humming, but it has a monstrous amount of bandwidth (51GB per second) and a whopping 12 graphics cores. That's twice as many as in the iPhone 6s' A9 chip, folks. To boot, the A9X is larger than Intel's latest quad-core desktop processors -- Apple has the headroom for components that you don't see in many PCs.

From these clues, it's apparent that Apple designed the A9X specifically with the iPad Pro in mind: it knew that it had the space and battery requirements to fit this beast of a processor inside. That might also explain why the iPad Air 2 is sticking around despite its year-old A8X hardware. Like it or not, Apple probably couldn't have shoved the A9X into a smaller tablet without making some sacrifices. You may have to wait a while before this kind of speed reaches something more portable.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Popular on Engadget