iPad 2 teardown reveals Samsung A5 chip

Grace Robinson
17 March, 2011
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Two chip teardown companies have stripped down the A5 system used in Apple’s new iPad 2 and discovered the package is manufactured by Samsung.

Speculation that Apple will shift production from Samsung to TSMC has been circulating for weeks. And while these rumours could indicate changes in the future, it is clear that Samsung has been in charge of early production runs to date, reports MacRumors.

UBM Techinsight orchestrated a teardown of iPad 2, focusing on the A5 package. Their findings reveal that the A5 was manufactured by Samsung using their 45nm process.

“UBM TechInsights used optical die and SEM cross-section images to analyse important features such as die edge seal, metal 1 pitch, logic and SRAM transistor gate measurements. These features were then compared to other manufacturers in our database, including other Samsung 45nm parts. The previous generation Apple A4 processor was also fabbed on Samsung’s 45nm process.”

UBM Technologies also found that the A5 packages taken from two iPad 2 models used DRAM, sourced from two different manufacturers: Samsung and Elpida. Meaning that to meet demand, Apple has used multiple sources for portions of the A5 package.

Chipworks, the second teardown company identified by MacRumors, also decapsulated the A5.  They, too, revealed that Samsung produced the package.

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