Chipworks has shared details of the iPad Pro’s A9X processor, (via The Motley Fool), and a photo reveals the new chip’s dual-core CPU, and a 12-cluster GPU to power the new tablet’s massive display.
According to Chipworks, the chip measures in at approximately 147 square millimeters, a whopping 40% larger than the size of the TSMC-built variant of the A9 chip inside of the iPhone 6s/6s Plus. This is an absolutely huge increase in area (and by extension transistor count) from the A9, which no doubt means that this monster of a chip is far more difficult to manufacture, especially on a relatively new manufacturing technology.
The CPU core count of the A9X matches its brother the A9X, which is used in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. For comparison, the A8X featured in the iPad Air 2 has three CPU cores. However, the 12-cluster GPU is twice as powerful as the six-cluster GPU in the A9. Chipworks indicates the A9X is fabricated by TSMC.
The 8 MB third-level cache found in the A9 to perform the management of data flow to and from memory is not present on the A9X die. This could possibly be due to the increased memory bandwidth of the A9X, which has a memory interface twice the width of the A9 die.
The A9X measures 147 square millimeters, just 18 square millimeters shy of Apple’s largest chip design ever, the A5X, which powered the first iPad that featured a Retina display. Motley Fool notes that it believes believe the A9X is easily the most advanced mobile system-on-a-chip available today, with best-in-class CPU/graphics performance, built on a bleeding-edge foundry manufacturing process.