Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

TSMC Preparing To Manufacturer A6X Chip As Apple Looks to Ditch Samsung

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the about-that-lawsuit dept.

Iphone 172

An anonymous reader writes with reports that TSMC is preparing to do a first test run of Apple's A6X chipset currently manufactured by Samsung. The TSMC manufactured chips will feature a process shrink from 32nm to 28nm, and there's a good chance Apple will grant them the contract for the next generation A7 chip. From SlashGear: "The test will kick off in Q1 2013, The China Times reports, with TSMC producing a new, 28nm version of the existing 32nm A6X that Samsung has been producing for the full-sized iPad 4th-gen; the smaller chip, which will likely be more power efficient as well, will debut in a new iPad 5th-gen and iPad mini 2."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42450513)

Now we can wait for the hardware repetition of the Google Maps fiasco. Whose head is going to roll this time when the shit hits the fan?

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42450551)

And if that happens, there won't be an app that can fix it. At least with maps, Apple could wait for Google to bail them out with Android's superior software.

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (3, Insightful)

neokushan (932374) | about 2 years ago | (#42450581)

This is slightly different. The same chip is being produced (it's Apple's design), it's just a different manufacturer. No doubt Apple will be paying per chip and not per wafer, so if anything does fuck up it'll be on TSMC's head. Plus it's not like TSMC doesn't know a thing or two about producing chips.

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42450673)

This is slightly different. The same chip is being produced (it's Apple's design), it's just a different manufacturer. No doubt Apple will be paying per chip and not per wafer, so if anything does fuck up it'll be on TSMC's head. Plus it's not like TSMC doesn't know a thing or two about producing chips.

TSMC is the world's largest dedicated foundry but pales in comparison to the chipmaking operation at Samsung. They can produce good chips no doubt, but I would put money on higher than normal failure rates (like iPhones going bad) and lower than normal yields (like iPhone 6 or "New iPad Mini" stocking fuck-ups) for at least a generation or two until they have the details nailed down. This kind of thing doesn't get turned on overnight, or even in a year or two.

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (2, Interesting)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about 2 years ago | (#42450739)

Bigger doesn't always mean better. Given my experiences with Samsung, I'd expect lower failure rates, or parity, at worst.

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (-1, Troll)

gman003 (1693318) | about 2 years ago | (#42450755)

Which is, of course, why Apple is keeping Samsung as a manufacturer for the time being. TSMC could literally explode and Apple could still get all the chips it needs from Samsung.

As much as we may hate them, Apple isn't stupid. They've thought about this.

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42450833)

They aren't stupid but they are trapped; the "nuclear war" that their former leader decreed has burned the bridge at Samsung so they are forced to look for cheaper chips elsewhere since contracts with Samsung aren't going to be priced favorably any more (even though there is no real reason to destroy the relationship, it seems that everyone is OK with competition except Apple). Samsung will move on and continue to make the world's cellphones and Apple will have some of it's precious margin cut off because it wanted to "make a stand" against a different platform.

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (2)

gtall (79522) | about 2 years ago | (#42451219)

If Apple is smart, they'll keep Samsung as well as buy some of their chips from TSMC. Having dual suppliers is always preferable. I'd be surprised if they ditched Samsung completely.

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (5, Informative)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#42450751)

This is slightly different. The same chip is being produced (it's Apple's design), it's just a different manufacturer. No doubt Apple will be paying per chip and not per wafer, so if anything does fuck up it'll be on TSMC's head. Plus it's not like TSMC doesn't know a thing or two about producing chips.

Remember "bumpgate"?

I don't really care what TSMC's wafer yields will be; that's Apple's problem. What concerns me is that TSMC may make faulty chips that break down over time, so that iDevices start to malfunction shortly after the 1-year warranty is up.

TSMC's record is not encouraging. They totally screwed up the transition to 28nm according to both nVidia and Qualcomm. And it is that process on which Apple plans to build.

Apple needs to focus on building good products, not screwing over their competitors.

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (4, Insightful)

neokushan (932374) | about 2 years ago | (#42450857)

I don't think this move is just to screw over Samsung (although that's no doubt a happy coincidence for apple). I think someone at Apple has realised that Samsung could decide not to renew the contract and just as easily screw over Apple. As someone else has already pointed out, Apple is still keeping Samsung as a manufacturer in the meantime so even if TSMC does fuck up horribly, Apple won't be in too much trouble.

There's nothing wrong with ensuring you have more than one supplier for a critical component, especially one that only a handful of companies can produce.

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (3, Interesting)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 years ago | (#42451645)

I think someone at Apple has realised that Samsung could decide not to renew the contract and just as easily screw over Apple.

Seems to me that doing so would simply result in Samsung not getting a contract that someone else will happily fulfill. They may be competitors, but why would samsung deprive themselves of a large, lucrative contract simply to spite and inconvenience a competitor? Sounds like bad business to me.

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42451887)

Yes, serious issue indeed.

One guy reported an issue and Apple replaced the machine without hassle. Scandal!

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (1, Troll)

Slime-dogg (120473) | about 2 years ago | (#42450923)

  1. Company A supplies Company B with chips for Company B's products.
  2. Company A decides the money made off supplying parts is not enough and decides to compete with Company B directly by supplying products with very similar designs to Company B.
  3. Company B files suit against Company A for infringement.
  4. Company A insists they're fine, but doesn't realize a good chunk of business still comes from Company B
  5. Company B does the logical thing and divorces all business from Company A.

Samsung is not a victim, here. This is the logical conclusion of bad business done by Samsung. They could have done it differently, and coexisted with Apple. Now, they reap their reward. I don't really understand why this is so hard for the Android fanbois to understand.

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (0)

the_B0fh (208483) | about 2 years ago | (#42451057)

Why are you trying to talk sense on the Internet? Do I have to go over the rules with you again...?

Apple does a Walmart to every supplier. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42451069)

Apple demands "Do it for us cheaper or we go elsewhere!".

Samsung are merely stating that if they aren't going to be generating goodwill from Apple by kowtowing to that demand, why the hell give them preferential prices on their product?

Samsung may not be able to sell quite as many chips as if they had Apple on board, but they'll make more per chip because Apple isn't gouging their profit margins.

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#42451463)

They could have done it differently, and coexisted with Apple. Now, they reap their reward. I don't really understand why this is so hard for the Android fanbois to understand.

I don't think you understand Apple's business model. They've got a loooong list of bullshit patents ready to unleash on anybody who dares to compete with them. Samsung is the most successful Android phone maker, that's why they're being picked on. When Samsung defeats the 'rounded corners' lawsuit Apple will just pick another one from their list. So it goes...

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (1, Informative)

oztiks (921504) | about 2 years ago | (#42452249)

Apple vs Samsung is only an issue in the USA.

Your own logical conclusion is faded by the fact that Apple didn't invent mobile phones. Apple may of invented the market space but they don't get the right to patent a specific market space otherwise MS would of owned the IT industry years ago and none of this would be a point of contention.

Company A supplies Company B with chips for Company B's products.
Company A decides the money made off supplying parts is not enough and decides to compete with Company B directly by supplying products with very similar designs to Company B.

PSST! America stop giving your IP Asian companies. As far as Apple vs Samsung is to the rest of the world, we are simply passing around the popcorn because most of the arguments shown between the two companies in other countries are either being thrown or setted / awarded for small fractions of the $1bn Judge Lucy Koh verdict. A citation to that sentiment must be the apology letter written by Apple addressed to Samsung over in the UK. It's a joke everywhere else except the USA why can't you see that?

There are two key producers (other than big oil) that the US has to the rest of the world, Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Hollywood is not scalable because of what's been done with technology likewise with technology itself because the US chose to use Asian vendors to create the goods. Maybe you could try and bomb China to try to keep them in line but I really don't like your odds on that one but I think that's all what it boils down to here, control, nothing else. IP is just the glamoured excuse used in the press.

Trying to use the law to patch up Pandora's box is not really going to do much other than perpetuate these inherent weaknesses. Kind of like putting a band aid on a ruptured artery. Samsung may of been sneaky business people but it was Apple's visionless greed that started and it's that very same visionless greed which is also perpetuating it and will also be responsible for it falling flat on it's ass.

Change your stance and evolve / adapt around this or become one of the 1% (as they say). Eitherway, it doesn't look good for the average Apple using US citizen because they are just as much the victim as the factory workers at Foxconn. What is it now, six month product release cycles?

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42452125)

Remember "bumpgate"?

Yes, I installed one so the cows don't get out and I don't have to get out of my truck.

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42452347)

I think you need to read up on what the 'bumpgate''s (god I hate any *gate term) problem is.

Hint: It's not cause by silicon wafer defect, but the inter-connecters that connects the chip to the external wires.

Slashdoters, pretending to know what they are talking about since 1999.

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42450793)

It's not that easy to change a fab, this is not block of metal which is easy to order. Samsung is at different fab club than TSMC and they have different design rules and they have to start at library level and do a relayout. Also the power consumption can be different between the two processes etc. So this is not in any way easy to do, and quite probably they have to change many lowlevel ip-blocks which also is a risk (memory controller phys, plls, serdes, io, possibly power saving cababilities are different in the cells etc.). Changing a fab is a major task if the fabs are not using same process rules and parameters. And TSMC has had their problems with 28nm process... and with many other processes in the past, there is always a risk with a process even for the biggest vendors.

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (4, Informative)

poetmatt (793785) | about 2 years ago | (#42451259)

TSMC is at the forefront of producing chips, yes. The word that's not there is successfully. It's not entirely their fault, except that it is.

Examples: http://www.bit-tech.net/news/hardware/2012/04/19/qualcomm-28nm-capacity/1 [bit-tech.net]
http://www.extremetech.com/computing/130937-tsmc-still-struggling-with-28nm-qualcomm-and-nvidia-threaten-to-jump-ship [extremetech.com]

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#42451579)

" No doubt Apple will be paying per chip and not per wafer,"
I wouldn't be so sure.

And when ever their is a change like this there is ALWAYS problems.
I would like to think TSMC is aware of this and is spending money on QA specifically for the initial test and production runs of this chip.

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (3, Informative)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 2 years ago | (#42451823)

same chip is being produced (it's Apple's design), it's just a different manufacturer

Tell that to AMD. They have been trying to outsource CPU manufacturing for years and they kept failing along the way. First AMD wanted to outsource to Chartered which was supposedly using the same manufacturing process (developed jointly by IBM, AMD, Samsung, Chartered) but it turned out they couldn't just trivially port their design over. Then they considered switching to TSMC. Another fail. They also considered switching GPU manufacturing from TSMC to GlobalFoundries after purchasing ATI. Yet another fail. The more low level optimizations the chip has the harder it is to port it. You don't just hit a compile button and then the thing magically works. Each manufacturing process has its own little details you have to work around in order for the design to be manufactureable and hit the right performance and power consumption targets.

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (5, Interesting)

_xeno_ (155264) | about 2 years ago | (#42450585)

They already did the hardware version of the Google Maps fiasco. People are literally returning the MacBook Pros that use the new, non-Samsung screens, in hopes of being able to buy one that uses the older Samsung screens, because the newer screens apparently ghost like crazy.

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (5, Informative)

gaspyy (514539) | about 2 years ago | (#42450731)

At first I thought this was a hyperbole or just some anecdote, but it seems to be a legitimate issue: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4034848 [apple.com]

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (2, Interesting)

dimeglio (456244) | about 2 years ago | (#42450801)

I've heard there are problems with some LG-make screens but not everyone is running into the store for an exchange. The nice thing is Apple is exchanging them if you notice a problem. I wouldn't call it a fiasco.

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#42450841)

do they really ghost like a normal person will see it?

or is this like the yellow imac screengate of a few years ago where people would go hysterical because some software test program told them their imac screen was bad?

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42450961)

I don't know much about Apple screen but IIRC their new screens are IPS, which are prone to image retention (my Kindle Fire already has that, permanently).

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (3, Informative)

_xeno_ (155264) | about 2 years ago | (#42451145)

Somewhat hilariously if you Google IPS image retention [google.com] , you will find a ton of articles about the MacBook Pro Retina display problems.

Including this one, that explains the problem is basically limited to MacBook Pros with LG displays [extremetech.com] , instead of the Samsung displays some use. The Samsung display also has better contrast and proper color calibration that the LG panels lack.

I can't help but find the whole thing hilarious.

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42451005)

They already did the hardware version of the Google Maps fiasco. People are literally returning the MacBook Pros that use the new, non-Samsung screens, in hopes of being able to buy one that uses the older Samsung screens, because the newer screens apparently ghost like crazy.

The... the whatbook? Something something Pro? That's not an iPad or an iPhone. It doesn't even sound like an iPod! Why are you bringing up these made-up products that Apple has clearly never created? And whatever those are, they sound outdated and not-trendy. iPads are trendy. Why aren't you buying more of those? That whateverbook you're talking about sounds old and crotchety, too. Why would Apple produce something like that? Apple never would've invented that when iPads exist. Stop spreading lies about Apple like that!

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42452113)

The late 2012 mac mini also has video and bluetooth issues. There have already been 2 video issues, with a firmware update that fixed one of them. The screen would go black randomly and sometimes get snowy (drm negotiation problem?) when using the hdmi to dvi adapter or hdmi directly. It was worse with the adapter included in the box. If the display goes to sleep, the screen can still go snowy when it starts back up.

The bluetooth issue affects some folks with usb 3 devices combined with wireless keyboard + mouse.

Worst of all apple denied problems even though the forums were full of complaints and customers returning machines. Apple needs to learn to admit problems and correct them in a timely fashion. I can live with an "i'm working on it". In this case, it was just as much Intel's fault for their crappy ivy bridge graphics.

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (1)

the computer guy nex (916959) | about 2 years ago | (#42450597)

Now we can wait for the hardware repetition of the Google Maps fiasco. Whose head is going to roll this time when the shit hits the fan?

Apple has already moved production (either partly or completely) away from Samsung for retina displays and RAM.

Don't forget that Apple designs the A6 and retina display, they simply outsource the production. This makes it extremely easy to change suppliers. The only question would be if TSMC can meet demand.

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42450717)

No, it's not that simple. This isn't bathroom tiles we're talking about, but precision hardware, you can't switch the suppliers as you wish just because you own the design.

It also sets a bad precedent for Apple, making other companies wary of investing time, effort and money for anything long term.

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42451013)

Really? So the lawsuits & competition didn't set a bad precedent?

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42450817)

Heh...

They moved production of their Samsung displays to LG...and now the returns are rolling in for ghosting issues galore.

"Simply outsource the production"....you'v never actually been involved in producing anything on a large scale, have you? Even if they *weren't* changing the process completely (32 to 28), there would still be countless issues. Test runs are great. Hopefully, they run a couple dozen of them...but there will still be issues.

I'm not saying Samsung is perfect for Apple. They've just had more time to work out the issues. I'm sure LG will figure it out if Apple gives them the time...just as I am sure TSMC will get it right...eventually. I just wouldn't suggest buying any of it for a generation or two.

Loss of valuable business - not a smart move (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42450601)

Far more likely heads will roll at Samsung for losing this valuable contract. With Apple chips being built by other companies how will Samsung be able to directly copy designs?

There goes Samsungs competitive edge.

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (0)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#42450795)

I think the somewhat realistic fear is Samsung releasing a A7-CPU-like android device.
There seems to be little point in giving your strongest retail competitor your best IP ahead of time for them to study.

There is a market positioning effect in that apple is kind of saying the A7 will be more than just faster, maybe the design will signify a major change in features. Like if it had holographic 3d display hardware acceleration that would imply the new iphone would have a holographic 3d display so the android guys best get started copying now. Perhaps hardware acceleration of (insert specific new or rarely currently used codec here) decoding and/or encoding indicates a major software change like doing facetime over 3G without much bandwidth or whatever. Or a huge improvement in CPU power consumption signifying the new advertising campaign for the new iphone will be longer battery life, so the android guys can start playing catchup months earlier than waiting until device release.

Or its all a head fake and A7 will just be A6 but faster, and they're trying to trick the competition into wasting time/money spinning their wheels.

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 2 years ago | (#42451915)

Samsung has been following the ARM roadmap pretty much faithfully so they aren't copying anything in chip design from Apple. Their core design is just an ARM licensed core. Which BTW is as good or better than the A6X core (triple-issue out-of-order). The A7 core remains to be seen.

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (1, Informative)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#42450917)

A6 is already a 100% Apple design since they have an architecture license from ARM. one of the few companies that have it.

as long as their design tools match up with TSMC's production they should be OK

A5 and earlier chips were modified Samsung designs

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 2 years ago | (#42451033)

Few?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARM_architecture#Licensees [wikipedia.org]

I count 42 companies.

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42451179)

> Companies that are current or former ARM licensees [...]

Not doubting it's more than a few, but out of interest: do you have a list of current licensees?

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 2 years ago | (#42451199)

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42451883)

Nice! Thanks. That's a much better link than your original one, particularly because it's so much longer.

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (2, Informative)

immaterial (1520413) | about 2 years ago | (#42451983)

What alen referred to was an ARM architectural license, not a standard ARM license. To jump back to the Wikipedia link you posted previously (I can't find a specific list on ARM's own site) there are only six companies listed as architectural licensees:

Companies can also obtain an ARM architectural license for designing their own, different CPU cores using the ARM instruction set. Distinct ARM architecture implementations by licensees include Apple's A6, AppliedMicro's X-Gene, Qualcomm's Snapdragon and Krait, DEC's StrongARM, Marvell (formerly Intel) XScale, and Nvidia's planned Project Denver.

you're behind (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 2 years ago | (#42451243)

What are you talking about? They already had a hardware version of the Google Maps fiasco - it cost them money to bail out Sharp. [cnn.com]

This is a second time of doing the same - which makes things even more idiotic. Apple is determined to cut off their nose to spite their face, apparently.

Re:you're behind (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42452029)

Moving manufacturing from your (only real) competitor is now cutting off your nose despite your face?

I bet you don't run a business. Ever.

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 2 years ago | (#42451557)

What the article does not say is that it usually takes 12 to 18 months for a processor to go from tapeout to final production. Just because they have a design ready for TSMC to manufacture does not mean the first run will be bug free not to mention that the latency between a wafer going in and coming out is larger than a lot of people realize.

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42451997)

Apple is in for a rude awakening judging by the reliability issues with TSMC manufactured Tegra3. Here's the reason why Samsung semiconductors are world class:

http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?271063-SSD-Write-Endurance-25nm-Vs-34nm/page217

Re:Ditching strong partners -- smart move! (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about 2 years ago | (#42452121)

Actually having a second source for a crucial part used in your most profitable product does sound like a smart move.

Wow (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42450517)

I'm so excited to hear about every minor thing Apple does. They sure are a groundbreaking company! Imagine, switching to a different supplier. What insight! What killer business acumen they must have!

I've never in my life heard of such a thing. An electronics company sourcing a different supplier for components!

HOLY SHIT APPLE IS SO FUCKING AMAZING! PLEASE POST MORE INTERESTING STORIES ABOUT APPLE!

I heard a rumor that they are stocking their stationary cabinets with scripto pens, and are no longer using Bics. Is this true!?!?!??!?!?!!

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42450571)

Oh, come on. The new chip will be slightly more powerful than the old chip, which itself is about as powerful as the previous chip, which manages to compete with high end tablets from 2 years ago in terms of processing power.

Aren't you excited to have the most powerful iPad yet? This evolutionary tiptoe ahead in the leaping and bounding table marketspace?

Re:Wow (0)

the computer guy nex (916959) | about 2 years ago | (#42450623)

Oh, come on. The new chip will be slightly more powerful than the old chip, which itself is about as powerful as the previous chip, which manages to compete with high end tablets from 2 years ago in terms of processing power.

Aren't you excited to have the most powerful iPad yet? This evolutionary tiptoe ahead in the leaping and bounding table marketspace?

Think you need to do your homework. The A6X puts everything else in the mobile industry to shame.

http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph6472/51764.png [anandtech.com]
http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph6472/51759.png [anandtech.com]

Re:Wow (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about 2 years ago | (#42450753)

That's not the A6X, that's the OS. The A6X is only about as powerful as what I have in my Toshiba Thrive. iOS, is, therefore, much more efficient than android/dalvik.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42450937)

JavaScript is JITted, so while iOS is certainly better than Linux, A6 is a lot more performant than tegra.

Re:Wow (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about 2 years ago | (#42451653)

I'm more inclined to believe Apple has a better Javascript JIT compiler then - same version of ARM (even if different manufacturers), both are dual core, IIRC, same clock speed. I've yet to see a good technical hardware reason why the Apple CPU is better, and given the semi-generic hardware availability for Android, I can think of a lot of good reasons why Apple's software would be more efficient in it's use of hardware.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42451081)

Keep telling yourself that.

Some day it might be true. But not this year.

Re:Wow (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about 2 years ago | (#42451717)

Given that that the thrive model is done, and the A6X is a set line of processors... If it's not true now, it'll never be true.

But hey, if you'd rather argue with snide remarks than data, have fun with that.

Technically speaking, the CPUs are about the same in both - I've yet to see much to distinguish them. However, Apple can write their software to target a small number of CPUs (and their compilers to better optimize), whereas Google/Android has a significantly larger variety. This means that there's a pretty damn good reason WHY Apple's software would be more efficient.

So... technically similar CPUs, and a good reason why Apple would have more efficient software.
And you want to blame the CPU.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42452077)

Technically speaking, the CPUs are about the same in both.

That's some good bullshit right there.

The A6X processors are about 4x faster with graphics (GPU). Guess what's the single most important part of a touch OS? Graphics.

http://www.phonearena.com/news/Breakdown-of-the-Apple-A5X-vs-NVIDIA-Tegra-3-benchmarks_id28223 [phonearena.com]

I don't know what you're smoking... (3, Informative)

tlambert (566799) | about 2 years ago | (#42451247)

The A6X puts everything else in the mobile industry to shame.

http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph6472/51764.png [anandtech.com]
http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph6472/51759.png [anandtech.com]

The first graph is a masure of memory bus bandwidth; while this has historically sucked on ARM in general, and Apple has had the lead in this area because they started life with their own memory controller design replacing the one normally supplied by the ARM folks, this lead has been significantly narrowed in the Samsung Exynos line. There are still some optimizations to be had to match the A6X speed, but it's close enough that for an optimized pipeline, it's not going to matter as much as the graph shows. nVidia's ARM offerings still have pretty sucky memory bandwidth, as do the Qualcomm chips, like the SnapDragon series.

The second graph measures the GL pipeline, and since the Linux stack moves copies of surfaces rather than GL over the user/kernel boundary, there's significant overhead in the protection domain crossing, as well as in amount of data being moved (which devolves, again, to the memory bandwidth issue).

Unless you go direct GL across the user/kernel boundary, and run the surface processing entirely in kernel space, if you are doing software compositing, even in the case of 2D, which applies to the vast majority of surface transforms, since people simply do not watch YouTube videos on rotating cubes or on spheres, you are talking 3 protection domain crossings to get the data from user space to the GPU, process it in the GPU, bring it back to user space, and then push it again across the boundary to get it into the frame buffer.

Basically you are comparing a graphics stack that sucks with one that generally doesn't, except under specifically defined circumstances (and in those cases DirectX beats GL in terms of reduced system vulnerability to unbounded texture processing for both the Linux and MacOS X/iOS stacks).

Either way, the comparisons in those graphs are not straight apples-to-apples unless you happen to be running Android on all your devices, and so have the additional expensive-on-ARM copy and protection domain operations on all the platforms.

Re:I don't know what you're smoking... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42451499)

Um, *cough*, perhaps you should read this [webkit.org] , regarding the first graph.

The Linux stack processes GL in userspace? Que? My only familiarity with this is the source code for the Rasp Pi GL drivers, and they send GL to kernelspace. It makes no sense to do GL processing in userland (um, and access the GPU hardware how?)

In summary, what are you smoking?

Re:I don't know what you're smoking... (2)

MachineShedFred (621896) | about 2 years ago | (#42452085)

So what you've said, is that the architecture, both software and hardware, that Apple is using, is better for this type of work.

Got it.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42450709)

which manages to compete with high end tablets from 2 years ago in terms of processing power.

It's really too bad Android is 8x more inefficient than iOS, or else Android would run faster than iOS on modern hardware. As it is even on slower processors iOS runs so much faster that people are returning Android tablets in droves when they see the difference.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42450603)

I'm so excited to hear about every minor thing Apple does.

Hello, fellow AC.

I hear if you make an account and log in, you can filter out categories that don't interest you.

HTH.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42450651)

Which filter should I use on slashvertisements and apple fanboi posts?

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42450671)

the same one i use for Linux fanboi posts. I don't read the thread.

Re:Wow (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42450865)

Thank you! It's so nice to hear when a sarcastic little jackass such as yourself doesn't like an article but reads it anyway! I, too, enjoy launching long diatribes whenever I find something that doesn't interest me personally, even if I have no obligation to consume it. Why, just the other day, I shouted for 15 minutes at the other patrons of a local fast food restaurant because I personally did not like the fish sandwiches there. Even though no one forced me to order one (nor even asked for my opinion of them) I did. Halfway through eating it, I ran around the restaurant, yelling sarcastically "HOLY FUCKING SHIT THIS FILET O' FISH IS SO FUCKING AMAZING! PLEASE SERVE MORE DELICIOUS SANDWICHES!" Those who heard me surely appreciated my keen observational skills and razor-sharp wit.
 
I heard a rumor you don't have to read the fucking articles you're not interested in...but that's just some crazy thing I read on the internet.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42450951)

FYI: All cabinets without wheels are stationary. The cabinets containing just pens and paper are stationery cabinets.

Say it ain't so (5, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#42450539)

This could sour the cozy relationship between Apple and Samsung.

Re:Say it ain't so (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about 2 years ago | (#42450799)

I suppose "constantly fucking each other up the ass" counts as "cozy"...

Re:Say it ain't so (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#42451531)

My wife seems to enjoy it.

Hey! That's a new role playing game. Lets play 'Patent Litigation'.

Re:Say it ain't so (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#42451623)

so she straps one on for your turn as the bottom?

Since it said each other, it's a natural assumption.

Re:Say it ain't so (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42451917)

his "wife" Raoul

Re:Say it ain't so (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42452151)

Or she's a she-male.

It happens.

Re:Say it ain't so (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42452215)

His wife's name is Rodolfo.

Ditch strong partners -- smart move! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42450543)

Repetition of the Google Maps fiasco with hardware. Whose head is going to roll this time when the shit hits the fan?

Re:Ditch strong partners -- smart move! (0)

neokushan (932374) | about 2 years ago | (#42450589)

You posted the same thing twice. Well done on being a competent internet user.

Re:Ditch strong partners -- smart move! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42450715)

You posted the same thing twice. Well done on being a competent internet user.

Sorry, I meant to paste the pro-Apple one that time. Now I'll only get paid by one side of the war :(

thermonuclear (1)

Tomji (142759) | about 2 years ago | (#42450649)

So that's thermonuclear now.
Better go on a fruitinarian diet now Samsung, it will help to cleanse the radiation & "detox", whatever the fuck that means.

Looks like I better act soon (4, Interesting)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#42450725)

I had been planning to purchase an iPad 4 for a while, but I guess I had better do it soon. I don't really want to be a beta tester for Apple/TSMC. There have been serious problems with TSMC's 28nm process [extremetech.com] and I don't trust them to get it right. And during the past year or so, Apple has shown a disturbing trend of prioritizing screwing over their competitors (Samsung and Google) above providing a good customer experience, as demonstrated by the Apple Maps fiasco and the myriad of problems with LG displays on the Retina MacBook Pro. I'm very concerned that corners will be cut in the rush to TSMC fabrication.

Re:Looks like I better act soon (-1)

Plammox (717738) | about 2 years ago | (#42450861)

Oh, come on. TSMC have been in the business for a very long time. And it's not as if die-shrinking hasn't caused issues for other companies, just ask Intel how the step to 90 nm and lead-free went. If anything, Id bet TSMC has worked out the kinks using Nvidia and Qualcomm as unwilling test subjects. They now have production in volumes and probably a huge amount of reliability data collected as a result.

Claiming otherwise, using the Maps-fiasco as a straw man, is just poorly hidden Apple-bashing.

Re:Looks like I better act soon (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 2 years ago | (#42451135)

Pretty sure it's not hidden...

Re:Looks like I better act soon (2)

Wookact (2804191) | about 2 years ago | (#42451477)

You need to be careful there, the way you rush to the defense of apple using phrases starting with "Id bet" as evidence makes you sound like an Apple apologist. There have been issues with both the maps and the lg screens. both were caused by apple rushing away from prior suppliers. It would be wise to be wary of that happening again. Rushing into it with your supposition that you are sure TSMC has corrected all their problems is based in no evidence whatsoever.

Re:Looks like I better act soon (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 2 years ago | (#42452165)

Where by suppliers, you mean competitors who were also suppliers.

Re:Looks like I better act soon (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42451103)

HI! I found an update [xbitlabs.com] to your 7-month-old news that you might find interesting. From this link:

“28nm yield and 28nm supply situation have both improved substantially. And so we feel pretty good about the balance of supply and demand at the moment,” said Jen Hsun-Huang, chief executive officer of Nvidia.

Qualcomm seems to be satisfied with TSMC’s output, but clearly points to progression that could have been made.

“We are above the high end of our previous revenue and earnings guidance as demand in 28nm supply improved as the quarter progressed. This gives us a strong base to build off of. We are looking forward to next year, we expect double-digit revenue and non-GAAP earnings growth again in fiscal 2013, said Paul Jacobs, chairman and chief executive officer at Qualcomm.

But I can see what you mean about TSMC not being able to get it right. After all, in June they had some problems, and by November, the people they were having problems supplying both indicated that they were pleased with the improvements and the results TSMC had achieved in the intervening 6 months.

This is clearly the mark of a company that is doomed to fail at producing any chip, at any volume, for any customer! I can't wait to hear more interesting prognostication from you, based on 6 month old data that has since been revised to show that the problem is largely resolved!

Re:Looks like I better act soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42451497)

So much FUD. Hope you don't own a recent AMD or nVidia GPU or a phone with a Qualcomm SoC, as all of those use TSMC's 28 nm process. You've probably already been a beta-tester. Quit acting like such a wanker.

Re:Looks like I better act soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42452289)

So get a nexus 10, why continue to buy inferior apple products?

Didn't Samsung cancel Apple's contract? (1)

bemenaker (852000) | about 2 years ago | (#42450757)

I thought it was Samsung that pulled this contract.

Jobs' prideful legacy will be their downfall (3, Interesting)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about 2 years ago | (#42450967)

Getting rid of partners like Samsung will hurt them in the long run. The only reason why Samsung became one of the top suppliers of parts for Apple is due to Apple's long history of problems and failures with smaller partners unable to produce significant quantities with the quality expected by Apple. Of course TSMC is not a small company, but Apple dropping Samsung for parts is about pride not intelligent planning or business strategy. Why drop a relationship that works for something less predictable?

Apple is going to have a very tough year in 2013. They blew their wad last year for product updates and except for minor product revisions will not offer anything interesting until at least the fall if Apple TV is not actually a myth. In the meantime news like this will only scare investors at a time when there had already been a loss in faith with Apple's business strategy.

I think the problem with Apple is they are still trying to follow in Steve Jobs' footsteps. It's only Steve Jobs that had a hate on for Android, Google, and anything connected to them, so pursuing this prideful vendetta against Samsung is like Steve's dying wish. The problem is that Apple is going to have to eventually start making their own decisions and continuing a strategy to remove Google and Samsung as business partners is not in their best interests.

Re:Jobs' prideful legacy will be their downfall (2)

gtall (79522) | about 2 years ago | (#42451335)

Errr...or maybe Apple just wants a second supplier and you haven't been in on the memos?

Re:Jobs' prideful legacy will be their downfall (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#42451603)

Apple is going to have a very tough year in 2013. They blew their wad last year for product updates and except for minor product revisions will not offer anything interesting until at least the fall if Apple TV is not actually a myth. In the meantime news like this will only scare investors at a time when there had already been a loss in faith with Apple's business strategy.

Ha! Tim Cooked promised us a new Mac Pro. I'll bet there is a good thousand of us waiting for the upgrade!

Philistine.

Re:Jobs' prideful legacy will be their downfall (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#42451613)

err... Tim Cook

Stupid Freudian slips.

Re:Jobs' prideful legacy will be their downfall (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42451989)

If Apple were another PC maker, maybe that would be the case. However, Apple has yet to have a single decline in income since Jobs came back.

You forgot, Apple is sitting on a ton of capital. With the billions they have stashed away, they can build their own chip fab from the ground up and do fine. They can cut all relationships with Google and Samsung except for legal team briefs and actually be ahead. In fact, Google has far more to lose than Apple does, since all Apple has to do is remove their app from iTMS, and Google will be in dire straits come quarterly reporting time.

Of course, there is iOS. One can easily say that on the latest generation of devices, it has become the world's only 100% secure OS without any significant threats to it. So, with that gem in mind as one of many things going for them, Apple has nowhere to go but up, no matter what their relations with Samsung, Google, and Amazon end up.

Go America! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42451063)

Yeah, lets just just send more money into China. Great idea.
At least Korea wasn't China.

Re:Go America! (1)

MachineShedFred (621896) | about 2 years ago | (#42452175)

Don't worry, this is the "Good" China, otherwise known as Taiwan.

We'll get the money back when they buy guns and missiles from us to point at the "Bad" China.

Not a process shrink (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42451167)

28 at TSMC is the same 'process' generation as 32 at Samsung. The smaller number represents a 'half-node' where certain components have a smaller 'geometry' on a given process. Essentially, you use optical 'tricks' on the mask to make certain components or interconnects a little bit smaller.

In reality, the half-node designation is more of a marketing trick to imply a more advanced process. This issue also applies to Intel. Intel claims a full process lead over plants that fabricate similar chips, but there are often aspects of Intel's process that are similar to the previous generation process from other fabs.

In the end, the real metrics are transistors per mm2 and the power dissipated by these transistors. In Apple's case a slightly bigger die is no issue if it means the chip uses much less power. Indeed, traditionally, extremely low power chips have frequently been made on old processes that have long been obsolete for mains powered desktop CPUs.

As chips shrink, for instance, interconnects (wires) get shorter, but the 'volume' of these interconnects (third-power) gets smaller still, increasing the electrical resistance, and thus the power wastage (thru heating effects) for a given material at a given voltage. Dropping the voltage used by a chip is an option, but this option has largely already been used up in previous generations.

A modern ARM SoC (system on a chip) that powers a phone or a tablet attempts to SEEM low power by switching off most of its functional units most of the time. For instance, sound and video playback are always done by tiny dedicated logic units, designed to be very power efficient. OTOH, run a desktop like benchmark for the CPU/GPU on a tablet for long, and many tablets will get too hot to handle, as the battery is exhausted in a fraction of the usual time.

It is not a coincidence that Apple made its first tablet so large- at that size you can fit a large-capacity battery in the case. The 4:3 aspect ratio helps here too. 7" tablets with a 16:9 ratio are extremely compromised with respect to case space for the battery. As the SoC gains 4 64-bit cores and a very powerful GPU, battery capacity is going to become a very important factor.

iPad 5? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42451415)

If it comes out only 6 months after the last ipad refresh, Apple is gonna have a riot on their hands.

I wonder of TSMC will be up to task, or will be another Sharp, who's still teetering on bankruptcy despite Apple's contract.

TSMC ? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42451651)

Texas State Marine Corps ?
Tuxedo Style Motorcycle Club ?

Re:TSMC ? (1)

MachineShedFred (621896) | about 2 years ago | (#42452185)

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company.

Google is hard.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?