It’s been confirmed from several sources that the new iPad is running quite a bit hotter than its older predecessors (up to 116 degrees, as Consumer Reports discovered yesterday), and there’s a good reason for it – the A5X chip inside the third generation iPad is huge.
Chipworks tore the new iPad apart to compare its A5X processor to both the A4 and the A5 processors in the original iPad and the iPad 2, and according to the comparison, the new A5X chip is 310 percent bigger than the A4.
Apple’s A4 chip, which powers its original iPad, measures in at 53.3 mm², while the A5X processor measures a whopping 165 mm². All three chips – the A4, A5, and A5X are part of the same 45nm ARM generation (aka, the size of the tiniest part each chip is made of). In comparison, NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 is 82 mm².
Why is the A5X so much bigger? It has to accommodate four graphic cores to power the iPad’s Retina Display. Check out the comparison photos from Chipworks above, which are designed to be to scale. That’s one giant chip – no wonder the new iPad is running so much hotter!