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iPhone 5s features quad-core graphics: analysis

The Chipworks teardown of the A7 chip in Apple's latest iPhone, the 5s, shows not only the announced 64-bit CPU, but also the not-so-public arrival of a quad-core GPU.

The Chipworks teardown of the A7 chip in Apple's latest iPhone, the 5s, shows not only the announced 64-bit CPU, but also the not-so-public arrival of a quad-core GPU.

Apple's A7 chip with quad-core GPU in the lower right. (Credit: Chipworks)

Apple boasted that the A7 chip featured the first 64-bit CPU in a smartphone. While another new arrival may not be an industry first, a teardown by Chipworks, a semiconductor analysis company, of the A7 has also revealed that the iPhone 5s is the first iPhone to include a quad-core graphics processor.

Last year's A6 featured a tri-core GPU, while the A6X upgrade in the fourth-generation iPad was quad core.

Core counts in themselves don't mean everything, but parallel processing has been particularly effective in graphics-intensive processes.

The Chipworks teardown also concluded that the A7 CPU itself is a dual-core processor, running against industry trends toward quad-core processors.

Overall, Apple's A7 chip has been slaying the competition in raw performance benchmarks, so right now, Apple's chip design is ahead of the pack in a wide range of measures, including 3DMark, Linpack Multithread and SunSpyder scores.