The A10X chip in the new iPad Pro is Apple's first 10nm processor


When it comes to processing power, the homebrew and highly optimized A-series chipsets of Apple usually wipe the floor with the competition, especially in the single-core benchmark scores. The spring season's top smartphones, however, are typically run by Qualcomm or Exynos chipsets built on a newer method than the iPhone or iPad that get announced earlier, so they enjoy a head start for a while. The Galaxy S8, for instance, is powered by 10nm chipsets, while iPhone 7's A10 is still a 16nm endeavor, for those who keep track of such things.

This year, however, it seems that the Android flagships didn't enjoy their processor node advantage that long, since a teardown of the new iPad Pro models revealed an A10X chipset inside that is built on TSMC's newest 10nm production method. That's right, instead of a pumped-up A10 still built on last year's 16nm architecture, the new iPad Pro's chipset is printed with the latest-gen 10nm technology, breaking the tradition for Apple, and revealing its first 10nm processor in a commercially available device. 

The die shrinkage has led to an A10X chipset that is almost half the footprint of the A9X, and much smaller than the A10, too, despite having extra cores and functional paraphernalia. When we ran the new Apple puppies through their paces to gauge how the node shrinkage has affected variables like core performance and battery life, we indeed found out that the new Pro models are a third faster than the already blazing Pro of the previous generation, all the while excelling in battery life. That must have been the 10nm A10X hollering from the inside.



Related phones

iPad Pro 10.5-inch
  • Display 10.5" 1668 x 2224 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A10X Fusion, Hexa-core, 2380 MHz
  • Storage 512 GB
  • Battery 8134 mAh

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15 Comments

1. adecvat

Posts: 646; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Yeah, apple years ahead of competition.

2. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Did you even read the article or did you just read new, Apple & first in the title?

3. Bankz

Posts: 2550; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

Light years ahead actually.

4. NoToFanboys

Posts: 3231; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

No doubt this is the best SoC out there, hands down. But.. lightyears? You're delusional.

6. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

That's Bankz in a nutshell

5. abdoualgeria

Posts: 928; Member since: Jul 27, 2015

So basically the new A11 will have A10X performance ......

8. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

Possibly better than the A10X in the CPU department, as per tradition. But not likely in the GPU one since the A10X has 12 cores vs 6-8 for the A11.

7. janis

Posts: 397; Member since: Mar 10, 2014

cpu is good, no comments there but phone os is joke.

9. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

It's a child's play. Therefore very simple to use for the majority. And that's what we like. Though the bugs need to be fixed.

10. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2450; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

It is quite amazing that the A10X beats out many competitors, including the base Intel processors, when it comes to multi-core performance and this is only a head-core chipset. I imagine that next years A11X will possibly bring the first octa-core chipset, although they might just improve on the current hexacore design. Rumors have been pointing for a few years now that Apple will start using the A design chipsets in their MacBooks, and I must say that it may become a reality this upcoming year. Again, all they really have to do is bring an octa-core version of the A10x and I would reason to bet the performance would be more than sufficient for a basic MacBook. However, they would still need nVidia for the graphics.

11. abdoualgeria

Posts: 928; Member since: Jul 27, 2015

MacOS on ARM???

12. uzimafioso

Posts: 469; Member since: Jul 15, 2014

He's gone nuts. The MacOS will bring this hardware down to it's knees.

15. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2450; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

You do realize that Mac OS Sierra has in it's coding the support for ARM chipsets right? You also do understand that the basic Core M3 processors are actually weaker than the A10X? It's going to happen, the question is: when? And do note that I stated that I foresee the lower tier Macbooks being the pioneers of this change. Since ARM chipsets could not match the power of higher Intel chipsets, it would not make sense for them to go full ARM with all of their lineup. Instead, I would expect the basic Macbook to have an ARM chipset. The latest iOS 11 has already shown to be a bridge between Mac OS and iOS in tablets.

13. davthom123

Posts: 121; Member since: Mar 02, 2015

the iPad pro took about 2 years to get a successor(a8x-a10x) maybe it'll be a10x-a12x

14. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Beastly 10nm chips are on the rise. What a time to live in!

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