A10X Fusion

Checkra1n v0.12.0 released, supports A10(X), iOS 14.1 & 14.2, and more

The checkra1n team updated its venerable jailbreak tool to version 0.12.0 this Sunday afternoon, adding a plethora of improvements that are certain to garner attention from the community.

The team took to Twitter this afternoon to reveal that checkra1n v0.12.0 is an update that many iOS 14 users probably won’t want to miss, and given the exciting content of this update, it’s easy to see why:

Apple’s latest A10X Fusion chip is built using TSMC’s 10nm process

The in-house designed Apple A10X Fusion chip powering the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro and 10.5-inch iPad Pro models is being fabricated on a cutting-edge ten-nanometer process technology by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).

Having analyzed the processor, TechInsights was able to confirm that it's the first TSMC-built ten-nanometer chip to show up in a consumer device.

It's not the world's first ten-nanometer silicon to appear in a smartphone: a Samsung or Qualcomm-designed processor powering Galaxy S8 is built on Samsung’s 10 nm LPE process.

A detailed floorplan analysis of Apple's latest chip has revealed a die size of 96.4 mm2 versus the A9X which has a die size of 143.9 mm2 and is built on TSMC’s 16 FF-Turbo technology.

Despite its power, the A10X Fusion has the smallest die size for an iPad processor yet.

AnandTech says A10X Fusion's CPU clock speed is only marginally higher than A9X's, “and pretty much identical to A10”. Images of the chip's floorplan seen top of post and bottom reveal the chip's 12 GPU clusters on the left, along with the CPU cores to the right.

Chart via AnandTech.

“This is an impressive full node scale, when accounting for the extra CPU cores built into the A10X and extra IP blocks of the A10 vs. A9 family,” notes TechInsights.

AnandTech added:

Ultimately what this means is that in terms of design and features, A10X is relatively straightforward. It’s a proper pipecleaner product for a new process, and one that is geared to take full advantage of the die space savings as opposed to spending those savings on new features/transistors.

For those wondering, the GPU cores in the A10X Fusion chip appear to be the same Apple-customized PowerVR cores from Imagination Technologies, a British GPU designer.

As you may have heard, Apple is now developing on its own mobile GPUs to supplant Imagination-powered graphics for iOS devices.

A10X Fusion features thirty percent faster CPU performance and forty percent faster graphics compared to its predecessor, the A9X chip powering the original 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

9.7″ iPad Pro 2 with A10X Fusion chip could launch next week

A second-generation iPad Pro model with a screen measuring 9.7 inches diagonally could launch as early as next week, according to a new report Wednesday by reliable Japanese blog Mac Otakara. The publication's sources describe the forthcoming device as a modest upgrade over the current 9.7-inch iPad Pro, which released in March 2016 following the September 2015 introduction of the original 12.9-inch iPad Pro model.

Poor yields for TSMC’s 10-nanometer process could disrupt next iPad launch

Trade publication DigiTimes said Friday that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has received orders to kick off volume production of Apple-designed A10X Fusion chips for the next iPad. However, unsatisfactory yields for TSMC's 10-nanometer process technology could disrupt planned March 2017 launch of the next iPad series.

The proportion of semiconductor devices on the silicon wafer found to perform properly is referred to as the yield. Yield rates in semiconductor fabrication can be as low as thirty percent due to process variation and many other reasons.

Alleged A10X Fusion benchmark suggests 20+ percent faster CPU in 2017 iPads

Apple typically takes the iPhone's A-series chips and updates them for iPads with more GPU cores and a faster performing, higher-clocked CPU. These chips typically have an “X” in their name, but with new iPad Pros and a fifth-generation iPad mini due in Spring 2017 the company has not yet officially announced an “X” variant of the iPhone 7's A10 Fusion chip.

Today, a source on Chinese social network Weibo posted alleged synthetic GeekBench 4 benchmark scores that could indicate at least one-fifth faster CPU performance in both single-core and dual-core computing for the purported A10X Fusion chip.