Hot on the heels of their Samsung 28nm confirmation, Chipworks just sent over the first die shot of a delayered Apple A7. An annotated version is following early next week, but I've highlighted two sections of interest:

In yellow we have what appears to be the two Cyclone CPU cores. If those are indeed the two CPU cores, the layout does seem different than what we saw last year with Swift in the A6. Also note that the percentage of die area dedicated to the CPU appears to have grown a small amount (now roughly 17% of the total SoC area). 

To the lower right I found four replicated blocks with some shared logic in between (highlighted in light blue). I'm wondering if this area isn't the 4-cluster PowerVR G6430 from IMG. All of this is just a quick educated guess of course. 

Apple A7, Photo from Chipworks, annotations mine

Apple A6, Photo & Annotations from Chipworks

Apple has already confirmed die size (102mm^2) and roughly confirmed transistor count (over 1B) of the A7 so everything else is mostly a known quantity at this point. 

Apple A7 vs A6 SoCs
  Apple A7 (2013) Apple A6 (2012)
Manufacturing Process Samsung 28nm HKMG Samsung 32nm HKMG
Die Size 102mm2 97mm2
Transistor Count "Over 1B" ?
CPU 2 x Apple Cyclone ARMv8 64-bit cores 2 x Apple Swift ARMv7 32-bit cores
GPU IMG PowerVR G6430 IMG PowerVR SGX 543MP3


Source: Chipworks

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  • rtnmbr - Saturday, September 21, 2013 - link

    Something inside me really wishes they'd go bonkers with a quad-core cyclone design. albeit highly unlikely, that would cause some major uproar in the industry.
  • tipoo - Saturday, September 21, 2013 - link

    Yeah, this is a hugely efficient core for todays ARM standards, I'd kind of like to see it in a higher than iPad TDP quad core form to see what it could really do, at say, a sustained 2 GHz.
  • bartoni - Sunday, September 22, 2013 - link

    Keeping more than two core's caches coherent is difficult. Going above 4 cores adds another layer of problems. It takes less design effort to reach higher performance with 2 cores than with more cores, but at some point simply improving the two core system is performance inefficient compared with a many-core system. The Intel Core and Atom lines followed that path. Perhaps Apple hadn't reached that point yet. However, a four Cyclone core SoC could be a competitive laptop processor giving Apple an option, and thus pricing leverage with Intel, for their MacBooks.
  • nunomoreira10 - Monday, September 23, 2013 - link

    it´s just a matter of time before they put-it on the air, probably for the next high resolution update, imagine how much more money would apple make if intel was outh of the picture.
    make the air a facebbok machine and the pro 13 thinner to fill the niche
  • Aenean144 - Sunday, September 22, 2013 - link

    And put it in a smartphone or a tablet?

    I think Apple is certainly thinking of iOS versions of Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro, Aperture and shipping say a 13" iPad with 128 GB storage and a quad-core Cyclone, and maybe a 2x 6630, but this a pretty niche device. One thing for sure, an A7X with 2-core Cyclone, a PowerVR 6630, and 2 GB RAM will finally be enough make 2048x1536 res iPads sing.
  • Doomtomb - Saturday, September 21, 2013 - link

    I work at where these are being made :)
  • name99 - Saturday, September 21, 2013 - link

    And you never told us about them! Shame on you!
    I vote you be expelled from the AnandTech community :-)
  • toyotabedzrock - Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - link

    Is that a block of memory right next to the gpu?
  • TeamToad - Thursday, October 3, 2013 - link

    Is there any update on when the annotated version of this will be done? I'm always really interested to read your in-depth analysis of the latest SoCs.

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