Apple A8 teardown reveals big processor power in small iPhone 6 package

A teardown of the Apple A8 processor inside the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus reveals that Apple has indeed moved away from Samsung, fabbing their second-generation 64-bit system-on-a-chip on TMC's new 20nm process. That's what lets them get 2 billion transistors onto a package 15% smaller than the one that came before. They've also gone with a PowerVR GX6450 GPU and crammed 4 MB of L3 cache inside the application processor. All this, and more, according to Chipworks and expanded upon by AnandTech:

Overall, Chipworks' analysis points to A8 being fabbed on TSMC's 20nm process. This makes A8 among the first SoCs to receive the 20nm treatment. Thanks to this smaller node Apple has been able to build in additional features to the SoC while simultaneously shaving off around 15% of their die size. Chipworks estimates the final die size of A8 to stand at 89mm2, versus the 104mm2 for the Samsung 28nm based A7. Chipworks notes that if this were a straight shrink that one would expect the A8 to be closer to 50% the size of A7 (though not all logic can shrink quite that well), which indicates that Apple has spent quite a bit of die size on improving performance through more complex CPU and GPU architectures and miscellaneous feature additions.

A8 compared to A7 processor

All of this lines up with what Apple announced at the iPhone event earlier this month. Where the Apple A7 was about power and performance, the Apple A8 is about efficiency and battery life.

If you've got an iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, how's the Apple A8 been working for you?

  • I was one of the first to have to get my iPhone 6 Plus to be replaced by Apple. A system diagnostic showed that I had many systems problems. My phone would respring randomly and not sync my music and some apps. Texts would not always send nor be received. My replacement runs like a dream though. Have to commend Apple's customer service.
  • Hey Chuong, I don't know when you started but your articles have been super helpful. Just wanted to tell you thanks for your articles and welcome to the iMore team.
  • isn't he on android central as well? i swear the name is familiar. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Wouldn't surprise me, they (Mobile Nations) don't generally pick favorites really. Some specialize in a brand, like Rene.. but even he has slews of Google and Microsoft phones he works / plays with. Tech writer is one job that must be a blast; gets to play with all the cool toys. lol
  • I think he's on 9to5mac. Sent from the iMore App
  • Nope sorry. Maybe he is but he's mainly on other mobile nation websites like crack berry or the widows phone site. Sent from the iMore App
  • No problems with iP6. Noticeably / marginally faster than 5S / iPad Air with day to day tasks, and games. Zen Garden is obvious, draw time is faster & less dropped frames. If only it made the BATTERY LAST 50% LONGER!!! Sent from the iMore App
  • Wouldn't know. Apparently, no Apple stores in my area have the 6Plus but they all have the 6. Apple trying to stoke demand by choking supply? That may work for a little while, but it won't work for the entire year until they release the iPhone 6S and 6plus S.
  • The A8 is probably wasted on me. I dont think i do anything with my phone that taxes it even a little bit. I use it to keep organised and take pictures! Haha arent i boring. Sent from the iMore App