Application Processor

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Apple has made use of numerous unique processors, predominantly ARM-based, in their products.

Apple silicon is a brand name for Apple's in-house ARM-based system-on-a-chip (SoC) designs. A typical SoC in an Apple product will include general-purpose application processors, including the CPU and GPU, unified random access memory shared between the two, and various purpose-specific coprocessors, such as the Secure Enclave Processor. The SoC bears a unique identifier, named the Exclusive Chip ID (ECID), and a "burned", read-only bootrom, the first code executed when the device turns on.

History

Apple's use of ARM technology begins shortly after the inception of ARM itself, when Acorn Computers, Apple, and VLSI Technology formed the ARM Ltd. joint venture on 27 November 1990. Apple's motive to invest in ARM was to enable them to develop a processor that could power the Newton, Apple's first low-power portable device. Apple cancelled the Newton project after Steve Jobs's 1997 return to the company. ARM Ltd. continued operations, and Apple investigated other use cases for ARM-based product designs. This led to the inception of the iPad as a successor to Newton, the iPhone as a spin-off of the iPad concept, and the iPod, which Apple recognised as simpler than either concept to bring to market.

On 23 October 2001, Apple announced the iPod, a portable music player device making use of PortalPlayer ARM SoCs. The iPod is credited as being a key part of Apple's return to profitability, selling 100 million units in six years.

On 12 September 2006, Apple announced the iPod nano (2nd generation), their first device to make use of the Samsung Electronics S5L87xx series of ARM processors.

On 9 January 2007, Apple announced the iPhone, making use of the closely-related Samsung S5L90xx series ARM processors.

On 23 April 2008, recognising the demand for the first iPhone to do more than any SoC on the market was capable of, Apple acquired Santa Clara-based semiconductor design company P.A. Semi for $278 million.[1] P.A. Semi already had history working with the ARM platform, having developed the early DEC StrongARM processor used by the Newton MessagePad 2000 series, among other RISC designs.

On 27 April 2010, Apple confirmed the acquisition of Austin-based semiconductor design company Intrinsity for an estimated $121 million.[2] Intrinsity created products to simplify semiconductor logic design, particularly in ARM core designs, reducing transistor count and power consumption.

On 10 September 2012, Apple announced the iPhone 5. While still manufactured by Samsung, the CPU core is the first to be designed by Apple's in-house team.

On 9 September 2014, Apple announced the iPhone 6. Its A8 SoC was the first to be manufactured by TSMC.

On 12 September 2017, Apple announced the iPhone X and iPhone 8. Its A11 Bionic SoC was the first to use an in-house designed GPU, rather than a licensed Imagination Technologies PowerVR design. The A11 series additionally introduced the Apple Neural Engine, an AI accelerator coprocessor.

On 22 June 2020, Apple announced plans to transition its Mac product line from Intel processors to its in-house designed Apple M-series processors.

List of ARM SoCs

Early ARM Processors

The Newton project saw Apple's earliest use of ARM processors. These are just the processor alone, not a system-on-a-chip.

ARM610 ARM710A StrongARM SA-110
Architecture ARMv3 ARMv4
Clock speed 20 MHz 25 MHz 162 MHz
Used in
  • Newton MessagePad 100, 110, 120, 130
  • Newton eMate 300
  • Newton MessagePad 2000, 2100

PortalPlayer 50xx

PortalPlayer SoCs were used in early iPods. This list additionally includes the SigmaTel STMP 3550, an unrelated SoC used in the same timeframe.

PP5002 PP5020 PP5021C PP5022 STMP 3550
Architecture ARMv4T DSP56000
Clock speed 90 MHz 80 MHz 90 MHz 80 MHz 75 MHz
Core design ARM7TDMI × 2 DSP56004-based
Used in
  • iPod (1st, 2nd, 3rd generation)

Samsung S5L84xx and S5L87xx

In 2007, Apple switched the iPod product line from the PortalPlayer PP50xx series to S5L87xx SoCs, designed in cooperation with Samsung. The iPod touch (2nd generation) also makes use of the S5L8720 SoC.

S5L8701 S5L844A S5L8702 S5L8720 S5L8730 S5L8442 S5L8723 S5L8443 S5L8740 S5L8747
Architecture ARMv4T ? ARMv4T ARMv6 ? ARMv6 ? ARMv6
Process ? ? ? 65 nm ? ? ? ? ? ?
Clock speed ? ? ? 533 MHz ? ? ? ? ? ?
Core design ARM940T ? ARM926EJ-S ARM1176JZF-S ? ARM11 ? ARM11 ARM11
Used in

Samsung S5L89xx

The Samsung S5L89xx series was designed and manufactured by Samsung for use by Apple. While Apple began branding the chips as "A"-series starting with A4, they continued to use generic ARM cores until A6, when the Apple-designed Swift ARMv7 core was used.

S5L8900 S5L8920 S5L8922 S5L8930 (A4) S5L8940 (A5) S5L8942 (A5) S5L8947 (A5) S5L8945 (A5X) S5L8950 (A6) S5L8955 (A6X) S5L8960 (A7) S5L8965 (A7)
Architecture ARMv6 ARMv7-A ARMv7-A "Swift" ARMv8.0-A
Process 90 nm 65 nm 45 nm 32 nm 45 nm 32 nm 28 nm
Core design ARM1176JZF-S Cortex-A8 Cortex-A9 Cortex-A9 × 2 Cortex-A9 Cortex-A9 × 2 Swift × 2 Cyclone × 2
Clock speed 412 MHz 600 MHz 1.0 GHz 1.3 GHz 1.4 GHz 1.3 GHz 1.4 GHz
GPU design PowerVR MBX Lite PowerVR SGX535 PowerVR SGX543 PowerVR SGX543 × 2 PowerVR SGX554 × 4 PowerVR SGX543 × 3 PowerVR SGX543 × 4 PowerVR G6430 × 4
GPU clock speed 103 MHz 200 MHz 250 MHz 200 MHz 266 MHz 300 MHz 450 MHz
Used in

A-Series Chips

Starting with A8, Apple began switching from Samsung to TSMC as their chip fabrication partner. A9 was dual-sourced from both Samsung and TSMC. Apple has continued to work closely with TSMC to take advantage of their latest process node improvements.

Starting with A10 Fusion, Apple introduced the big.LITTLE architecture, referring to the big cores as "Performance" (P) and little cores as "Efficiency" (E). Performance cores provide the maximum processing power of the device, while efficiency cores optimise for lower power operation. The operating system dynamically manages scheduling tasks on either kind of core as it sees fit to complete an operation, balancing performance against battery life. Enabling "Low Power Mode" on the device disables work from being scheduled on performance cores. Notably, A10 Fusion has a limitation that only the performance or efficiency cores can be active at a time - not both. This was resolved in A11 Bionic, which can activate both kinds of cores simultaneously. A10 Fusion additionally can only execute 32-bit code on performance cores, while A11 Bionic lacks support for executing 32-bit code, as this compatibility was removed in iOS 11.

Starting with A11 Bionic, Apple introduced the Apple Neural Engine, a set of coprocessor cores that optimise the machine learning tasks increasingly being taken advantage of by operating system features. Apple additionally introduced their own GPU core designs for the first time, replacing the PowerVR designs used to this point.

T7000 (A8) T7001 (A8X) S8000 (A9 Samsung) S8003 (A9 TSMC) S8001 (A9X) T8010 (A10 Fusion) T8011 (A10X Fusion) T8015 (A11 Bionic) T8020 (A12 Bionic) T8027 (A12X Bionic) T8027 (A12Z Bionic) T8030 (A13 Bionic) T8101 (A14 Bionic) T8110 (A15 Bionic) T8120 (A16 Bionic) T8130 (A17 Pro)
Architecture ARMv8.0-A ARMv8.1-A ARMv8.2-A ARMv8.3-A ARMv8.4-A ARMv8.5-A ARMv8.6-A
Process 20 nm 14 nm 16 nm 10 nm 7 nm (TSMC N7) 7 nm (TSMC N7P) 5 nm (TSMC N5) 5 nm (TSMC N5P) 5 nm (TSMC N4P) 3 nm (TSMC N3B)
Big core design Typhoon × 2 Typhoon × 3 Twister × 2 Hurricane × 2 Hurricane × 3 Monsoon × 2 Vortex × 2 Vortex × 4 Lightning × 2 Firestorm × 2 Avalanche × 2 Everest × 2 ? × 2
Big core speed 1.5 GHz 1.85 GHz 2.26 GHz 2.34 GHz 2.38 GHz 2.39 GHz 2.49 GHz 2.65 GHz 3.00 GHz 3.24 GHz 3.46 GHz 3.78 GHz
Little core design Zephyr × 2 Zephyr × 3 Mistral × 4 Tempest × 4 Thunder × 4 Icestorm × 4 Blizzard × 4 Sawtooth × 4 ? × 4
Little core speed 1.09 GHz 1.30 GHz 1.19 GHz 1.59 GHz 1.72 GHz 1.82 GHz 2.02 GHz 2.11 GHz
GPU design PowerVR GX6450 × 4 PowerVR GX6850 × 8 PowerVR GT7600 × 6 PowerVR GT7850 × 12 PowerVR GT7600 Plus × 6 PowerVR GT7600 Plus × 12 Apple G10P × 3 Apple G11P × 4 Apple G11G × 7 Apple G11G × 8 Apple G12P? × 4 Apple G13P? × 4 Apple G14P? × 5 Apple G14? × 5 Apple G15P? × 6
GPU clock speed 533 MHz 450 MHz 650 MHz 900 MHz 1.00 GHz 1.06 GHz 1.12 GHz 1.23 GHz 1.27 GHz 1.33 GHz 1.39 GHz
Neural Engine cores 2 8 16
Memory[note 1] LPDDR3-1600 LPDDR4-3200 LPDDR4X-4266 LPDDR5-6400
Used in

M-Series Chips

Macs and iPad Pros with Apple silicon use a chip from the M-series. Major chip designs (which tend to receive a marketing name) are made available in various configurations, which are listed together below. These configurations are presumably the result of binning chips based on the yield of working cores.

M1 Series

T8103 (M1) T6000 (M1 Pro) T6001 (M1 Max) T6002 (M1 Ultra)
Architecture ARMv8.5-A
Process TSMC N5
Big core design Firestorm × 4 Firestorm × 6 or 8 Firestorm × 16
Big core speed 3.204 GHz 2.228 GHz
Little core design Icestorm × 4 Icestorm × 2 Icestorm × 4
Little core speed 2.064 GHz
GPU design Apple G13G × 7 or 8 Apple G13X × 14 or 16 Apple G13X × 24 or 32 Apple G13X × 48 or 64
GPU clock speed 1.27 GHz 1.29 GHz
Neural Engine cores 16 32
Memory[note 1] LPDDR4X-4266 (2133 MHz) LPDDR4X-6400 (3200 MHz)
Used in

M2 Series

T8112 (M2) T6020 (M2 Pro) T6021 (M2 Max) T6022 (M2 Ultra)
Architecture ARMv8.5-A
Process TSMC N5P
Big core design Avalanche × 4 Avalanche × 6 or 8 Avalanche × 8 Avalanche × 16
Big core speed 3.504 GHz 3.667 GHz
Little core design Blizzard × 4 Blizzard × 8
Little core speed 2.424 GHz
GPU design Apple G14G × 8 or 10 Apple G14X × 16 or 19 Apple G14X × 30 or 38 Apple G14X × 60 or 76
GPU clock speed 1.39 GHz
Neural Engine cores 16 32
Memory[note 1] LPDDR5-6400
Used in

M3 Series

T8122 (M3) T6030 (M3 Pro) T6031 (M3 Max)
Architecture ARMv8.5-A
Process TSMC N3
Big core design ? × 4 ? × 5 or 6 ? × 10 or 12
Big core speed 3.23 GHz
Little core design ? × 4 ? × 6 ? × 4
Little core speed 2.064 GHz
GPU design Apple G15G × 8 or 10 Apple G15X × 14 or 18 Apple G15X × 30 or 40
GPU clock speed ? GHz
Neural Engine cores 16
Memory[note 1] LPDDR5-6400
Used in

S and T-Series Chips

Size comparison of the S2 SiP in relation to the Apple Watch Series 2

Apple introduced the S series to provide an highly integrated, low-power system-in-a-package (SiP) for the Apple Watch. These chips have also found use in the iBridge (Mac coprocessor) and HomePod series. The T-series was merged to become integrated in the M-series SoCs.

S7002 (S1) T8002 (S1P, S2, T1) T8004 (S3) T8012 (T2) T8006 (S4, S5) T8301 (S6, S7, S8) T8310 (S9)
Architecture ARMv7k ARMv8-A (arm64_32)
Process 28 nm ? 16 nm 7 nm (TSMC N7) 7 nm (TSMC N7P) 5 nm? (TSMC N5P)?
Core design Cortex-A7 Cortex-A7 × 2 Hurricane × 2
Zephyr × 2
Cortex-A7
Tempest × 2 Thunder × 2 Blizzard? × 2
Clock speed 520 MHz ? ? ? 1.59 GHz 1.8 GHz ?
GPU design PowerVR Series5 PowerVR Series6 ? ? × 3 Apple G11M Apple G12M? Apple G14M?
Memory[note 1] LPDDR3 LPDDR4 LPDDR4X?
Baseband Qualcomm Snapdragon X7 LTE (MDM9635M) Intel PMB9955 ?
Used in

W and H-Series

The W-series, later renamed to H-series, features in Apple's wireless headphone products. W-series chips following the W1 are integrated as part of the S-series SiPs.

W1 W2 W3 H1 H2
Bluetooth 4.2 5.0, later 5.3 5.0 5.3
Used in

Assorted coprocessors

From time to time, purpose-built embedded silicon has been produced for Apple.

Motion coprocessors in the M-series were briefly part of this family. With the A9, the coprocessor became integrated in the main system-on-a-chip.

The U-series coprocessors provide ultra-wideband functionality.

LPC18A1 (M7) LPC18B1 (M8) U1 U2
Purpose Motion coprocessor Ultra-wideband controller
Architecture ARMv7-M ARMv7E-M ?
Process ? 16 nm ?
Core design Cortex-M3 Cortex-M4 ?
Used in

Other

  • T8028: This unreleased SoC is referenced in XNU source code[3], and is based on T8020.

List of PowerPC CPUs

PowerPC 600 Series

Model Process Clock speed Used in
PPC601 650 nm 60 - 120 MHz
  • Performa 611xCD (60 MHz)
  • Power Macintosh 6100 (60, 66 MHz)
  • Power Macintosh 7100 (66, 80 MHz)
  • Power Macintosh 7200 (75, 90, 120 MHz)
  • Power Macintosh 7500 (100 MHz)
  • Power Macintosh 8100 (80, 100, 110 MHz)
  • Power Macintosh 8115 (110 MHz)
  • Power Macintosh 8200 (100, 120 MHz)
PPC603 500 nm 75 MHz
  • Macintosh Performa 52xxCD
  • Macintosh Performa 62xxCD
  • Power Macintosh 5200
  • Power Macintosh 6200
PPC603e 350 nm 100 - 300 MHz
  • Performa 5260 (120 MHz)
  • Performa 5260CD, 5270CD (100 MHz)
  • Performa 5280 (120 MHz)
  • Performa 5300CD (DE) (100 MHz)
  • Performa 5320CD (120 MHz)
  • Performa 5400 (160, 180 MHz)
  • Performa 5400CD, 5410CD, 5420CD (120 MHz)
  • Performa 5430 (160 MHz)
  • Performa 5440 (180 MHz)
  • Performa 6260CD, 6290CD, 6300CD, 6310CD (100 MHz)
  • Performa 6320CD (120 MHz)
  • Performa 6360 (160 MHz)
  • Performa 6400 (180 MHz)
  • Performa 6410 (180 MHz)
  • Performa 6400 (VEE) (200 MHz)
  • Performa 6420 (200 MHz)
  • Power Macintosh 4400 (160, 200 MHz)
  • Power Macintosh 5260 (100, 120 MHz)
  • Power Macintosh 5300 LC (100 MHz)
  • Power Macintosh 5400 (120, 180, 200 MHz)
  • Power Macintosh 5500 (225, 250, 275 MHz)
  • Power Macintosh 6300 (120 MHz)
  • Power Macintosh 6400 (200 MHz)
  • Power Macintosh 6500 (225, 250, 273, 300 MHz)
  • Power Macintosh 7220 (PC) (200 MHz)
  • PowerBook 1400c/1400cs (117, 133, 166 MHz)
  • PowerBook 2400c (180, 240 MHz)
  • PowerBook 3400c (180, 200, 240 MHz)
  • PowerBook 5300/5300c (100 MHz)
  • PowerBook 5300cs (100 MHz)
  • PowerBook 5300ce (117 MHz)
  • PowerBook Duo 2300c (100 MHz)
  • Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh (250 MHz)
PPC604 250 nm 120 - 150 MHz
  • Power Macintosh 7600 (120, 132 MHz)
  • Power Macintosh 8500 (120, 132, 150 MHz)
  • Power Macintosh 8515 (120 MHz)
  • Power Macintosh 9500 (120, 132, 150 MHz)
  • Power Macintosh 9515 (132 MHz)
PPC604e 350 nm 166 - 350 MHz
  • Power Macintosh 7300 (166, 180, 200 MHz)
  • Power Macintosh 7600 (200 MHz)
  • Power Macintosh 8500 (180 MHz)
  • Power Macintosh 8600 (200, 250, 300 MHz)
  • Power Macintosh 9500 (180 MHz × 2, 200 MHz)
  • Power Macintosh 9600 (200 MHz, 200 MHz × 2, 233 MHz, 300 MHz, 350 MHz)

PowerPC G3 (PowerPC 750 Series)

Model Process Clock speed Used in
MPC750 250 nm 233 - 500 MHz
  • iBook G3 (300, 366 MHz)
  • iMac G3 "Columbus" (Bondi Blue) (233 MHz)
  • iMac G3 (Fruit Colors) (266, 333 MHz)
  • iMac G3 "Kihei" (Blueberry) (350 MHz)
  • iMac G3 (Indigo) (350 MHz)
  • iMac G3 DV (400 MHz)
  • iMac G3 DV+ (450 MHz)
  • iMac G3 DV SE (500 MHz)
  • PowerBook G3 "Kanga" (250 MHz)
  • PowerBook G3 "Wallstreet" (250, 292 MHz)
  • PowerBook G3 "PDQ" (233, 266, 300 MHz)
  • PowerBook G3 "Lombard" (333, 400 MHz)
  • PowerBook G3 "Pismo" (400, 500 MHz)
  • Power Macintosh G3 (233, 266, 300, 333, 350, 400, 450 MHz)
MPC740 233 MHz
  • PowerBook G3 "Wallstreet" (233 MHz)
PPC750cx 180 nm 366 - 700 MHz
  • iBook G3 Clamshell (366, 466 MHz)
  • iBook G3 Polycarbonate (500, 600 MHz)
  • iMac G3 (Flower) (500 MHz)
  • iMac G3 SE (Early 2001) (600 MHz)
  • iMac G3 (Summer 2001) (500, 600 MHz)
  • iMac G3 SE (Summer 2001) (700 MHz)
PPC750fx 130 nm 600 - 900 MHz
  • iBook G3 (Late 2002) (600, 700, 800 MHz)
  • iBook G3 (Early 2003) (800, 900 MHz)

PowerPC G4 (PowerPC 7400 Series)

Model Process Clock speed Used in
MPC7400 200 nm 350 - 500 MHz
MPC7410 180 nm 400 - 533 MHz
MPC7440 550 - 667 MHz
MPC7441 700 - 800 MHz
MPC7445 800 MHz - 1.25 GHz
MPC7450 733 - 800 MHz
MPC7451 667 - 800 MHz
MPC7455 800 MHz - 1.42 GHz
MPC7457 130 nm 800 MHz - 1.0 GHz
MPC7447 1.0 - 1.33 GHz
MPC7447a 1.0 - 1.67 GHz

PowerPC G5 (PowerPC 970 Series)

Model Process Clock speed Used in
970 130 nm 1.6 - 2.0 GHz
  • iMac G5 17" (1.6, 1.8 GHz)
  • iMac G5 20" (1.8 GHz)
  • iMac G5 17" (ambient light sensor) (1.8, 2.0 GHz)
  • iMac G5 20" (ambient light sensor) (2.0 GHz)
970FX 90 nm 1.8 - 2.7 GHz
  • iMac G5 17" (iSight) (1.9 GHz)
  • iMac G5 20" (iSight) (2.1 GHz)
  • Power Macintosh G5 PCI (1.8 GHz, 1.8 GHz × 2, 2.0 GHz × 2)
  • Power Macintosh G5 PCI-X (2.0 GHz × 2, 2.3 GHz × 2, 2.5 GHz × 2, 2.7 GHz × 2)
  • Xserve G5 PCI-X (2.0 GHz, 2.0 GHz × 2, 2.3 GHz × 2)
970MP 1.6 - 2.5 GHz
  • Power Macintosh G5 PCI (1.6 GHz)
  • Power Macintosh G5 PCI-X (1.8 GHz, 1.8 GHz × 2, 2.0 GHz × 2)
  • Power Macintosh G5 Dual-Core (2.0, 2.3 GHz, 2.5 GHz × 2)

List of Intel Processors

Intel Macs frequently were available with several Intel processor configurations. Where a Mac has multiple processor options, they are listed together. The processors are listed from the one(s) included in base configurations, to the highest "build-to-order" configuration. Not all processor specifications completely match those listed on their Intel ARK page, as manufacturers are able to make minor tweaks to the configuration of a CPU. In some cases, Intel produced custom processor models for Apple's exclusive use. Where possible, the table below links such CPUs to CPU-World, a crowdsourced database of processor specifications.[4]

Series Microarchitecture Codename Device CPU Models
Pentium 4 NetBurst Prescott
Pentium M P6[note 2] Dothan
Core P6 Enhanced[note 2] Yonah
Core Merom
  • Intel Core 2 Duo P7500 @ 1.60 GHz, dual-core[note 3]
  • Intel Core 2 Duo P7700 @ 3.06 GHz, dual-core[note 3]
Xeon Woodcrest
Clovertown
Core 2 Wolfdale
Penryn
Core 2 Xeon Harpertown
Core i Nehalem Lynnfield
Westmere Clarkdale
Arrandale
Xeon Bloomfield
Westmere EP
Core i Sandy Bridge
Ivy Bridge
Sandy Bridge
  • Mac mini Server (Mid 2011)
Ivy Bridge
Sandy Bridge
Ivy Bridge Ivy Bridge
  • Mac mini Server (Late 2012)
Xeon Ivy Bridge-EP
Core i Haswell Haswell
Devil's Canyon
Haswell
Broadwell
Skylake Skylake
Xeon Skylake W
Core i Skylake
Kaby Lake
Amber Lake
Coffee Lake
Xeon Cascade Lake
Core i Sunny Cove Ice Lake Y
Ice Lake U
Skylake Comet Lake

See Also

References

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e Double data rate (DDR) memory speeds are measured in megatransfers per second (MT/s). To determine the clock speed in MHz, halve the number indicated. For instance, LPDDR4X-4266 is 2133 MHz.
  2. ^ a b P6-based processors do not support Intel 64. As such, they can only run 32-bit macOS and apps.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m This processor is a custom model designed by Intel for Apple. The linked Intel ARK entry (if any) is for the processor it is based on.

The Apple Wiki would like to thank Henriok, who produced the majority of Apple and Motorola/Freescale SoC renders used in this article, releasing them into the public domain.