Apple A8X
Apple A8X chip
General information
LaunchedOctober 16, 2014
DiscontinuedMarch 21, 2017
Designed byApple Inc.
Common manufacturer
Product codeAPL1012[2]
Performance
Max. CPU clock rate1.5[3] GHz
Cache
L1 cachePer core: 64 KB instruction + 64 KB data[3]
L2 cache2 MB shared[3]
L3 cache4 MB[4]
Architecture and classification
ApplicationMobile
Technology node20 nm[1]
MicroarchitectureTyphoon[5]
Instruction setARMv8-A: A64, A32, T32
Physical specifications
Cores
GPUPowerVR Series6XT GXA6850 (8 cores)[4][6]
Products, models, variants
Variant
History
PredecessorApple A7
SuccessorsApple A9 (iPad 5)
Apple A9X (iPad Pro)

The Apple A8X is a 64-bit ARM-based system on a chip (SoC) designed by Apple Inc., part of the Apple silicon series, and manufactured by TSMC.[1] It was introduced with and only used in the iPad Air 2, which was announced on October 16, 2014.[7] It is a variant of the A8 inside the iPhone 6 family of smartphones and Apple states that it has 40% more CPU performance and 2.5 times the graphics performance of its predecessor, the Apple A7.[7][8] The latest software update for the iPad Air 2 using this chip is iPadOS 15.8.2, released on March 5, 2024, as it was discontinued with the release of iPadOS 16 in 2022 due to hardware limitations of the A8X.

Design

The A8X has three cores clocked at 1.5 GHz, a more powerful GPU compared to the A8 and it contains 3 billion transistors.[8] With an extra 100 MHz and an additional core, the A8X performs around 13% better on single threaded and 55% better on multithreaded operations than the A8 inside the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.[3]

Further comparison to the A8 shows that the A8X uses a metal heat spreader, which the A8 does not, and it doesn't use the package on package configuration with included RAM which the A8 does. This is similar to how the older "X" variants, the A5X and A6X, were designed.[9] Instead the A8X in the iPad Air 2 uses an external 2 GB RAM module.[3][9]

In a first for Apple, the A8X is reported to have a semi-custom GPU. The A8X uses an 8-cluster GPU based on Imagination Technologies PowerVR Series 6XT architecture. Officially, the largest implementation of Rogue is a 6-cluster design, indicating that Apple has made customizations to the design in order to provide higher performance. This GPU is referred to as the GXA6850, with the "A" denoting the Apple customization.[10]

The A8X has video codec encoding support for H.264. It has decoding support for H.264, MPEG‑4, and Motion JPEG.[11]

Patent litigation

The A8X's branch predictor has been claimed to infringe on a 1998 patent.[12][13] On October 14, 2015, a district judge found Apple guilty of infringing U.S. patent US 5781752 , "Table based data speculation circuit for parallel processing computer", on the Apple A7 and A8 processors.[13] The patent is owned by Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), a firm affiliated with the University of Wisconsin. On July 24, 2017, Apple was ordered to pay WARF $506 million for patent infringement. Apple filed an appellate brief on October 26, 2017, with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, that argued that Apple did not infringe on the patent owned by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.[14] On September 28, 2018, the ruling was overturned on appeal and the award thrown out by the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.[15] The patent expired in December 2016.[16]

Products that include the Apple A8X

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "TSMC reportedly lands CPU orders for Apple next-generation iPad". Archived from the original on 2016-06-04. Retrieved 2014-10-18.
  2. ^ "iPad Air 2 Teardown". iFixit. October 22, 2014. Archived from the original on May 13, 2019. Retrieved October 22, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "iPad Air 2 Benchmark Points to A8X Chip With Triple-Core 1.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB RAM". Archived from the original on 2014-10-23. Retrieved 2014-10-21.
  4. ^ a b "Apple A8X's GPU - GXA6850, Even Better Than I Thought". Anandtech. November 11, 2014. Archived from the original on November 30, 2014. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
  5. ^ "The Samsung Exynos 7420 Deep Dive - Inside A Modern 14nm SoC". Archived from the original on 2015-07-07. Retrieved 2015-07-07.
  6. ^ "Imagination PowerVR GXA6850 - NotebookCheck.net Tech". NotebookCheck.net. November 26, 2014. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Apple Introduces iPad Air 2—The Thinnest, Most Powerful iPad Ever" (Press release). Apple. October 16, 2014. Archived from the original on October 18, 2014. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  8. ^ a b "iPad Air 2 - Performance". Apple. October 16, 2014. Archived from the original on October 16, 2014. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  9. ^ a b "Latest iPad Air 2 component leak shows A8X chip & 2GB RAM". 13 October 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-10-19. Retrieved 2014-10-18.
  10. ^ "A8X's GPU - Even Better Than I Thought". Anandtech. November 11, 2014. Archived from the original on November 30, 2014. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
  11. ^ "iPad Air 2 - Technical Specification". support.apple.com. Retrieved 2022-11-05.
  12. ^ Chirgwin, Richard (February 4, 2014). "Cupertino copied processor pipelining claims Wisconsin U". www.theregister.co.uk. The Register. Archived from the original on February 4, 2014. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
  13. ^ a b Joe Mullin (October 14, 2015). "Apple faces $862M patent damage claim from University of Wisconsin". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on April 20, 2017. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  14. ^ Wolfe, Jan (October 26, 2017). "Apple urges appeals court to toss $506 million patent loss to WARF". Reuters. Archived from the original on February 23, 2018. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  15. ^ Stempel, Jonathan (September 28, 2018). "Apple wins reversal in University of Wisconsin patent lawsuit". Reuters. Archived from the original on November 17, 2018. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  16. ^ Wolfe, Jan (July 25, 2017). "Apple ordered to pay $506 million to university in patent dispute". Reuters. Archived from the original on July 26, 2017. Retrieved July 26, 2017.