iPad Air 2’s A8X Chip Even Better Than Expected

iPad Air 2’s A8X Chip Even Better Than Expected

a8x die photo iPad Air 2s A8X Chip Even Better Than ExpectedA new report came out from AnandTech saying that the graphics processing prowess of the new A8X chip which powers the Apple’s premier iPad Air 2 is greater than what was assumed.


In the days following its launch, the iPad Air 2 was subjected to a lot of benchmark tests and even a teardown to reveal just what makes the tablet so powerful. Both technical and the common user were astonished to see how much effort the Cupertino firm put into making the iPad Air 2 especially its brand new processor, the A8X.

Now, an image of the A8X die surfaced which further revealed how truly powerful it is. The photo of the die shows the Apple-designed system on a chip (SOC) has an eight-core graphics processor: even bigger than the six-core GX6650 graphics processor which was believed to power the chip previously. Imagination Technologies makes and provides the GX6650 for Apple.

From AnandTech:

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“To get right down to business then, the die shot confirms what we had begun suspecting: that A8X has an 8 cluster Series6XT configuration. All 8 GPU clusters are clearly visible, and perhaps unsurprisingly it looks a lot like the GPU layout of the GX6450. To put it in words, imagine A8’s GX6450 with another GX6450 placed right above it, and that would be the A8X’s 8 cluster GPU.”

Speculations about the graphics chip employed in the A8X started as Imagination Technologies’ list of their Series6XT graphics processors has the 6-core GX5560 as their top of the line chip but the die photo of Apple’s A8X showed a custom design which paired two quad-core bundles effectively creating an eight-core graphics processor.

Apple and Imagination Technologies has a very lax licensing agreement which allows the Cupertino Company to alter the graphics processing units (GPU) designs provided by the latter. Apple,  being one of the major investor in Imagination Technologies, has the earlier access advantage to the company’s design channel which allows Apple to make design adjustments just months after Imagination Technologies Series6XT was presented.

Aside from this surprising eight-core graphics processor configuration, the die photo also confirmed the three central processing unit (CPU) of the iPad Air 2.  Recently, Imagination Technologies made known their next-gen Series7XT designs which would likely be incorporated in Apple’s A9 chips for 2015 iDevices.