Apple M4 moves to TSMC N3E

Apple M4 moves to TSMC N3E

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Apple has developed a 10 core CPU with up to 28bn transistors for its latest iPad designs.

The Apple M4 has a new up-to-10-core CPU design with 28bn transistors consisting of up to four performance cores and now six efficiency cores. This is built on TSMC’s N3E second generation of 3nm process technology for energy efficiency.

The cores use the ARM instruction set architecture (ISA) but have have improved branch prediction, with wider decode and execution engines for the performance cores, and a deeper execution engine for the efficiency cores. Both types of cores also feature enhanced, next-generation ML accelerators.

This provides 1.5x faster CPU performance over the 20bn transistor M2 built on TSMC’s 5nm N5P process with the same performance at half the power consumption.

The 10 GPU cores from the previous M3 support hardware-accelerated ray tracing for more realistic shadows and reflections in games and other graphically rich experiences.

Dynamic Caching allocates local memory dynamically in hardware and in real time to dramatically increase the average utilization of the GPU, while hardware-accelerated mesh shading provides more efficiency in geometry processing, enabling more visually complex scenes in games and graphics-intensive apps.

The M4 is being used for 11in and 13in versions of the Apple iPad Pro with OLED screens.

The Media Engine of M4 is the most advanced to come to iPad, supporting the most popular video codecs, like H.264, HEVC, and ProRes with hardware acceleration for AV1 on the iPad for the first time. This provides more power-efficient playback of high-resolution video from streaming services.

 “The power-efficient performance of M4, along with its new display engine, makes the thin design and game-changing display of iPad Pro possible, while fundamental improvements to the CPU, GPU, Neural Engine, and memory system make M4 extremely well suited for the latest applications leveraging AI,” said Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Technologies.

The design of the iPad Pro uses graphite sheets and copper in the Apple logo to improve the thermal performance of the design by 20%.

The iPad Pro uses a USB-C connector with support for 40Gbit/s Thunderbolt 3 and USB 4 as well as WiFi 6E and 5G cellular activated via and eSIM.



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