iPhone 5 confirmed to have custom-designed 1Ghz dual-core chip and 1GB DDR2 RAM

Daniel Bader

September 17, 2012 10:04 am

The iPhone 5 may be the hottest new phone to hit the market, but as we get closer to launch discoveries are being made about its new hardware that give us pause.

Unlike many of the latest Android phones which are ramping up core numbers and clock speeds to absurd amounts, often in exchange for battery life, Apple tends to stay fairly conservative with its hardware. It’s been determined that the new A6 chip is not in fact based on ARM’s Cortex-A15 chipset but is a custom design that takes more from the ARMv7 line. In the real world this doesn’t matter too much — all you need to be concerned about is that the iPhone 5 will indeed perform over twice as fast as its predecessor, and in many situations much more so. The PowerVR SGX543M3 graphics processor is also a significant step up from the M2 inside the iPhone 4S, and should bring ultra-smooth graphics and gaming to the iPhone 5 without affecting battery life. Battery life is rated for 8 hours of LTE browsing time, up from 6 hours of 3G browsing on the iPhone 4S.

After some forensic investigation into Apple’s A6 parts numbers, it’s been discovered that the iPhone 5 indeed does have 1GB of RAM, double that of the 4S. This is going to give a big boost to apps that need to keep lots of information such as textures and browser tabs in memory; that means less reloading of tabs, shorter app start times and overall smoother performance.

While it’s a little disappointing to see that Apple hasn’t caught the quad-core fever, or at least brought its clock speeds up to par with modern Android devices, iOS has been tuned in such a way that most applications either don’t require the extra speed, or use the GPU (which is much faster than on most Android devices) to compensate.

Source: Anandtech

  • bob

    I don’t know if you can call 1GHz up to par, phones from 1.5 years ago were at that speed, at least the ram is nice

    • Zomby

      And they’re still using the old ARMv7 as a base for their desing, while everyone else is moving toward the much faster Cortex A-15 as a basis for their implementation.

    • bob

      armv7 is an instruction set. Cortex A8, A9 and A15 all use the armv7 instruction set. armv8 will be 64-bit, just like x86-64 is to x86.

    • Joe

      Lol old ARMv7?? It’s an instruction set, not the architecture.

      Everyone can hate the iPhone all they want, but from a technological standpoint you should admire what it seems they’ve done with the A6 cpu in terms of power and efficiency.

    • Polu

      Architecture of the chip is more important then clock speed.

    • bob

      both are important. A 100 MHz Cortex A15 would suck.

    • BabySG3

      Apple, would never use an SoC “off-the shelf” because it would be too easy to compare “Apples to Apples” and see that they always use a mid-level CPU, and sell it at “Uber-Prototype” prices.

      Fortunately geeks like us can have access to performance stats and figure out in a second that a Samsung Galaxy S2 from 2011 has more power and better performance overall at 1/4 the price of the i5.
      The key here is: XX% faster,thinner, lighter,than THE LAST IPHONE!!
      -Who cares about that? Only people that had the LAST iphone and getting the new one!
      For the rest of us is XX% smaller, Slower, unlockable, lower battery and MORE Expensive!!

      Can’t wait to see the REAL NUMBERS, once the phone is out, wonder if it will have better Quadrant numbers than a Samsung Galaxy S (from 2010!) overclocked, running JB!

  • Jayson F

    Yaaawwwnnn

  • steve

    “Apple hasn’t caught the quad-core fever”… hasnt caught much of ‘anything new’ since the release of the 4. (except the cash grab new charger cable) same same but different LOL

  • Kevin

    So, they made their own processor, because in the meantime they sued Samsung and THEY have the best processor with the exynos? Hilarious…. GG Apple, now you are stuck…

    • Brad F

      Samsung’s Exynos chips use the older Cortex A9 design, like the one used in the Samsung GS3 and iPhone 4S.

      The iPhone 5 is based on the newer A15 design, like what’s *eventually* going to be used in the Exynos 5.

    • MattyMattMatt

      @Brad F: Read the article, it is not based off of the A15.

  • Kid.Canada

    The 4″ screen size was a deal breaker for me so I decided to go for the Galaxy S 3 instead, picking it up today and can’t wait!!!!! :D

  • haxor99

    I’m sure the iphone5 will satisfy all the isheep just fine. They don’t need the best and the fastest. The iphone does what they need and it does it well.

    For the rest of us there is Android.

    • Polu

      One thing this article failed to mention are the initial benchmarks, apparently hitting a geekbench score of 1601 faster then the s3 (quad core). Thats innovation. More then quad core power in a dual core chip, ouch the fandroids may eat tehir words and back peddle saying specs aren’t everything.

  • AznBoy00

    DDR2 YAWN

    • Brad F

      The Galaxy S3 uses DDR2…

  • Kid.Canada

    One question though, does the screen on the S3 get smudges easily??

    • phreezerburn

      More than a phone none have used? Yes. Definitely yes.

  • Dalex

    So much for the first A15 chip hype. It doesn’t really matter as IOS is a pretty simpleton OS, it doesn’t need much power. The GPU is really good, probably the best on the market. Too bad serious gaming on a 4 inch device is kinda moronic.

    The first A15 chip will probably be Samsung’s 5250 Exynos. As for the quadcore hype, it needs to go. Haven’t we already established that the dual core krait is more efficient and quicker than the Tegra 3 chip, and it ties the quad core exynos in all but graphics.

    The SoC are fine now at 28nm or less, what we need is better batteries.

    • phreezerburn

      Siri is going to hunt you down blasphemer!

  • Cody

    2010 design with 2009 specs lol

  • Chris

    Of course it’s custom…this is Apple’s innovation here?

  • Netguru

    “Unlike many of the latest Android phones which are ramping up core numbers and clock speeds to absurd amounts, often in exchange for battery life, Apple tends to stay fairly conservative with its hardware.”

    In all your other posts, you drool over core numbers and clock speeds. But since Apple didn’t deliver, you now call it absurd and Apple is conservative. What a load of bulls**t!!!

    • bassbeast

      Erm, I don’t think you quite grasp the use of the word “absurd” in this context. Here, the author means it to be “really, really high.” So, in this context, “conservative” means less high. The message hasn’t changed.

      Sometimes a little more education can go a very long way.

    • MB

      Wrong word…the price of the iPhone is absurd, not the processors used for Android.

  • Sub-Joker

    lol… i wonder if daniel will be in line for the iPhone5. he’s such a fanboy. from the hype of the first A15 coming to the market to “In the real world this doesn’t matter too much”…. say what??

    An old archeticture with DDR2 (all new high end phones and tablets are coming with DDR3 RAM), imagine putting some proper hardware into the mix, wouldn’t that be even better performance? but apple wouldn’t do that because they want slow development so that next year they have space to give a bit more extra’s and convince all their fanboys how it’s phenomenal, magical, wonderful…. or any of those words they constantly keep using.

    The way I see it, iPhone has been behind for the past 1.5 year or so compared to any other high end phone from HTC or Samsung. My last iPhone was the 3GS (then tried the N1) and I don’t think I’m coming back to iPhone anytime soon. I personally think Windows 8 will be a hit (especially in the tablet market), and I would love to try it. I also hope RIM would pull out something excellent with BB10 as I would love to see more players in the mobile space other than just Apple and Google (where Samsung is most dominant android device maker).

  • Joe

    Talk about not understanding tech – people posting here really do not understand.

    Have you seen early geekbench scores?

    2 A6 cores @ 1ghz with 1GB ram outperforming the S3 with 4 cores @ 1.4ghz and 2GB Ram.

    • ExcessDan

      doesn’t the 4 core model only have 1GB of RAM?

    • Tomatoes

      Sounds like you are the one that does not understand technology joe. It has already been mentioned that those scores are not comparable.

      The one thing that should instantly throw you off is that the Nexus 7 with the POS Tegra 3 has the highest Android average score.

      It is the i***t media posting that who does not understand technology. They are comparing a SINGLE iphone 5 score with an AVERAGE GS3 score where some GS3 users submitted scores where only one core was tested and using that as a baseline for a direct score comparison. That is poor ifan journalism at it’s best right there.

  • ExcessDan

    apparently it benchmarks faster than the quad core s3 by a slim margin. source is macrumors so i’ll wait till an independent site does their own tests before i make any judgements. in the end does it really matter as long as our phone can make it to the end of a 3 year contract without feeling too slow ;(

    • Joe

      Yup, it’s not by much. And the S3 running JB does even better.

      But its more a general example to show that a combination of engineering in hardware and software can really result in great performance without just adding more cores and upping the clock speed.

    • Polu

      Slim margin only if you have the quad core international version, the north american s3 got its a*s beat

  • vic

    @ joe, u r so stupid when making comparision of ip5 vs s3, just like duck vs swan whose can fly faster, of course hardwares makes up the speed, but the softwares play in too, try ur own experiment on the same pc with windows xp and 8, see whose faster

    • Joe

      You sure, are an i***t.

      It’s really sad the amount of useless trolling on mobilesyrup

  • metoo

    zomby don’t post if you know nothing. That is the instruction set. dummy

  • metoo

    Android devices are following the path of the Pentium 4′s. faster and faster clocks for diminishing returns. Coming soon, an accessory with every Android: a toaster. Actually the Android is the toaster, you just need to bring bread.

  • freestaterocker

    “iOS has been tuned in such a way that most applications either don’t require the extra speed.”

    So this argument is valid for the iSheep, but the WP fanboys get laughed out of the room? Ok.

    • metoo

      Dude if you need a pentium 4 in your phone just to compensate for the molasses that is your OS, no one needs to say anything. Your phone is the joke all by itself.

  • mike

    Nice!!! This should be an excellent device as usual. I’m going back to a stable OS that works and great quality hardware as well. Have owned a Nexus for 6 months and it has been serviced 3 times. What a garbage phone.

  • slimmy

    Here’s the issue that some people don’t understand, if a phone is faster and smoother WITHOUT using much battery power and the highest amount of CPU or RAM then that is SMART engineering. Do people feel better that their phone has more RAM, lol. The problem is Android needs quad cores and huge RAM because it lags, I should know, I’m an Android user, and Google knows this, that’s why they are introducing Project Butter, if they didn’t need it it would not have been introduced.

    • Tomatoes

      Smart engineering in a way yes but it is really more smart marketing. What the media and ifans fail to realize is that IOS favours the UI first and adds feautures and functionality when the hardware and software permits them to offer it smoothly. While Android is the opposite where they value feautures and freedom first and foremost and introduce things like project butter later to smooth it out. Arguing which philosphy is better is moot since it is about public opnion. The UI first approach is more marketable though so the isheep can say ANdroid lags, it sucks.

      What the ifans fail to realize is this. All android has to do to reach IOS levels of smoothness is to completely remove some of it’s features. If they got rid of widgets and made the app drawer the home screen. Programmed the software to exit programs instead of offering android style multitasking. Remove some of the settings and options etc. If they did that then I don’t see Android being any less smooth than IOS.

      Here is a good example. If you remove the freedom from GTA3 then you would get less bugs and the same level of polish as Uncharted 2. That is not the point though. The point is that GTA3 is no less an engineering or software marvel than Uncharted 2 because it is way sloppier. it is way sloppier because it goes for a lot more interactions. The same applies to Android and IOS. Android is not poorly coded by any stretch of the imagination. Google engineers go to the same universities as everyone else. Apple engineers just have it easier. The payscale and aptitude should be very similiar between them.

  • iphoneuser

    I’m an iPhone user and I can tell you that iOS does lag contrary to popular beliefs. It broke down 4 times! I had to get it replaced. Given the customer service is great, the phone is garbage. Very fragile.

  • mmathieum

    “Apple tends to stay fairly conservative with its hardware.”
    Apple did show a A6 photo during the keynote and a view of the interior of the iPhone 5.

    “Unlike many of the latest Android phones which are ramping up core numbers and clock speeds to absurd amounts, often in exchange for battery life”
    “The PowerVR SGX543M3 graphics processor is also a significant step up from the M2 inside the iPhone 4S, and should bring ultra-smooth graphics and gaming to the iPhone 5 without affecting battery life.”
    So more powerful hardware on Android devices mean less battery but more powerful hardware on Apple devices means same battery life … source?

    FYI, Samsung is the #1 ARM processor manufacturer (and probably #1 for mobile device memory too) so I think they know how to make fast and efficient processors.
    Also, the iPhone 5 LTE chip can’t do voice and data at the same time, unlike all LTE Android devices.

  • Rew4rdz

    So many butthurt fandroids that don’t understand that specs don’t matter in a phone. The iPhone has always been slower but still smoother, better support, better built and have better features. Specs don’t matter in a phone.