Since the new Apple TV was announced it has been known that the device contains a single core A5 chip. Typically a A5 chip would contain a dual core processor, or so atleast the iPhone 4S and iPad 2 contains one. But because of the Apple TV’s requirements Apple decided to release the device with only a single core, but has the other features included in the A5 chip.
After multiple teardowns of the device the analysts reported the A5 chip as simply being designed specifically for the Apple TV. Now a report from Chipworks is revealing that the the single core A5 chip is dual core based. This means the unused core is not being utilized.
Either Apple is only utilizing one core or they are binning parts. Parts binning is a common process in semiconductors where devices are segregated (binned) based on meeting a subset of the overall requirements, in this case they could disable the “bad” core, this increases the usable die per wafer, lowering the cost.
The report also states the A5 chip was found to be 41 percent smaller than the A5 chip found in other iOS devices. Why did they do this, “Process shrinking not only reduce costs by fitting more dies on a wafer, but it also improves performance and lowers power consumption.”