Final Words

If Apple's A5 is any indication, Samsung's 32nm HK+MG process is extremely capable. Assuming Apple didn't change any fundamentals of its microarchitecture, the iPad 2,4's gains in battery life can be attributed directly to the process. The gains themselves are significant. We measured a 15% increase in our web browsing battery life, a nearly 30% increase in gaming battery life and an 18% increase in video playback battery life. Although Apple hasn't revised its battery life specs, the iPad 2,4 definitely lasts longer on a single charge than the original iPad 2.

If you're in the market for an iPad 2, the 2,4 is clearly the one to get - if you can find one that is. Unfortunately there's no sure fire way to tell that you're getting a 2,4 without opening the box and turning on the tablet, and I suspect most stores will get a bit irate if you're constantly buying and returning iPad 2s in search for a 32nm model. Presumably over time more of the available inventory will shift to 2,4 models, but based on our experiences in trying to find a 2,4 it's still pretty tough.

I would like to applaud Apple's 32nm migration plan. By starting with lower volume products and even then, only on a portion of the iPad 2s available on the market, Apple maintains a low profile and gets great experience with Samsung's 32nm HK+MG process. It's very clear that this is all in preparation for the next iPhone, which will almost certainly use Samsung's 32nm process and require it in significant volumes. It's obvious that Apple employs some very smart chip heads in Cupertino.

What I'd really like to see is a 32nm version of the A5X used in the new iPad. I don't know that there's much reason for that this year, especially when the 4th generation iPad will likely ship in the first half of 2013 with yet another new SoC (dual-core A15 + Rogue anyone?), but it'd still be nice to have. The power efficiency improvements are substantial and the 3rd gen iPad could definitely use them. Those of you who are waiting for the next iPhone should also be pretty happy about these results. Apple could easily deliver a higher clocked version of the A5 for the next iPhone while keeping power consumption equal to if not lower than where it's at today. The move to 32nm is going to be good all around it seems, and Samsung appears to be a very capable foundry partner for Apple. Despite all of the rumors of a rift in the relationship, the foundry side of things is working out well.

Power Consumption, Thermals & Performance
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  • AssBall - Friday, May 04, 2012 - link

    How about money from patents they actually get money from.

    Germany has 1/4 the population and 1/4 the apple users of the United states.
    Reply
  • name99 - Friday, May 04, 2012 - link

    The issue is not fighting between Apple and Samsung --- there's a minor issue that they are already both trying to calm down and resolve.

    The real issue is that any responsible company always has a plan B in place, just in case something unexpected happens. Earthquake in Korea? Typhoon in Taiwan? Samsung get stuck trying to get below 32nm but TSMC make fine progress? et etc
    Reply
  • chrnochime - Friday, May 04, 2012 - link

    I keep seeing this weird iPad number instead of 1 or 2 or 3. Is this firefox not playing nice with anandtech? Seems to only occur with iPad articles and nothing else too. What's going on?? Reply
  • Mojoed - Friday, May 04, 2012 - link

    Firefox is fine. Read the article. :)

    All those numbers refer to the different versions of the iPad 2.

    First page, first table explains the differences.
    Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Friday, May 04, 2012 - link

    I think he's being sarcastic.

    ...dear god, I HOPE he's being sarcastic.
    Reply
  • hmoobphajej - Friday, May 04, 2012 - link

    It's explained in the article but they're using IPad 2,4 to refer to the newer IPad 2 that are being produced with a different SOC. That's all. So more or less it is just a revision of the older IPad 2. Reply
  • mavere - Friday, May 04, 2012 - link

    16 hours of high profile playback and 8 hours of Infinity Blade II is ridiculous. I hope this is a taste of what's to come in next year's model. Reply
  • lamda - Friday, May 04, 2012 - link

    iPad 2,4 iPad 2 iPad (3rd generation)
    Idle at Homescreen 2.7 W 2.9 W 6.1 W
    Video Playback (720p HP) 2.2 W 2.4 W 4.9 W
    Reply
  • dagamer34 - Friday, May 04, 2012 - link

    My extremely wild guess is that the dedicated H.264 decoder is far more power efficient than the energy it takes to render the home screen (assuming that new frames are rendered even if the screen doesn't change, if not, my theory holds no water). Reply
  • dagamer34 - Friday, May 04, 2012 - link

    It would also help to explain why video playback allows for the iPad to last so long. It doesn't really require the CPU or GPU since it's all being taken care of by the dedicated hardware decoder. Reply

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