Apple's 64-bit A7 chip not quad-core, says chip expert
Apple's A7 appears to be a dual-core design, bucking a quad-core trend in the Android world. But two cores provide plenty of horsepower, says Anandtech.
Smartphones with quad-core processors are the future, right? Well, not so fast.
Apple's spanking-new 64-bit A7 is dual-core, according to Anandtech, a widely-read chip review site.
It's seems that Apple is bucking a trend here.
"The tools that count cores query the [operating system] and the OS returns the number of logical CPUs and they only returned two," said Anand in a brief phone interview, referring to the central processing unit.
And he contends that there are more ways to skin the performance cat. "The quad-core card was kind of forced," Anand said. "It's definitely not the only way to arrive at the ideal performance-power for a phone."
He continued. "These days outside of the Apple space, it's kind of difficult to sell a flagship phone without four cores."
But Apple has seemed to pull it off without a hitch.
"Based on every benchmark we could find, the iPhone 5S and its new A7 processor seem at least twice as fast as the 5 and its A6," CNET said.
"The dual-core A7 is now the fastest [system-on-a-chip] we've tested under SunSpider, even outpacing Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 and ARM's Cortex A15," wrote Anand.
He expanded on the dual-core vs. quad-core argument in his iPhone 5S review.
As we saw in our Moto X review however, two faster cores are still better for most uses than four cores running at lower frequencies. Nvidia forced everyone's hand in moving to 4 cores earlier than they would've liked.
And remember, the A7 is the first 64-bit ARM-based design for smartphones. That should help in games and other apps that have been optimized for 64-bit.
But Apple also has other tricks to make it faster, including an improved graphics engine.
Anandtech believes Apple's A7 "is the first shipping mobile silicon to integrate [Imagination Technology's] PowerVR Series 6 GPU or graphics processing unit.
Apple did not respond to a request for comment.