User:Kirb/sandbox/Apple silicon

From The Apple Wiki

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[edit source]

The Apple silicon product line begins some time prior to Apple having made any in-house silicon designs - in fact, it begins shortly after the inception of ARM itself, when Acorn Computers, Apple, and VLSI Technology formed the ARM Ltd. joint venture in 1990. Ostensibly, this was to develop a processor that would power the Newton, Apple's first low-power device. Despite the cancellation of the Newton project after Steve Jobs's 1997 return to the company, ARM Ltd. continued operations.

Following the cancellation of Newton, Apple investigated other use cases for ARM-based product designs. This led to the inception of the iPod, iPhone, and iPad.

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 9 January 2007, Apple announced the iPhone, the first product to make use of Samsung Electronics S5L-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 the Santa Clara-based semiconductor design company P.A. Semi for $278 million. 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 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 use an SoC design 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[edit source]

Early ARM Processors[edit source]

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

DEC StrongARM.jpg
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[edit source]

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 75 MHz 90 MHz 80 MHz 75 MHz
Core design ARM7TDMI x 2 ARM7 x 2 ARM7 x 2 ARM7 x 2 DSP56004-based
Used in
  • iPod (1st, 2nd, 3rd generation)

Samsung S5L87xx[edit source]

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.

Samsung S5L8701.jpg S5L8702.jpg S5L8720.jpg 339S0196.jpg
S5L8701 S5L8702 S5L8720 S5L8730 S5L8723 S5L8740 S5L8747
Architecture ARMv4T ARMv6
Process ? ? 65 nm ? ? ? ?
Clock speed ? ? 533 MHz ? ? ? ?
Core design ARM940T ARM926EJ-S ARM1176JZF-S ARM1176JZF-S ARM11 ARM11 ARM11
Used in

Samsung S5L89xx[edit source]

The Samsung S5L89xx series was designed in cooperation with Samsung. While Apple began branding the chips as "A"-series starting with A4, they continued to be entirely Samsung-designed until A6, when the Apple-designed Swift ARMv7 core was used.

S5L8900.jpg S5L8920.jpg S5L8922.jpg Apple A4 Chip.jpg Apple A5 Chip.jpg Apple-A5-APL2498.jpg Apple-A5-APL7498.jpg Apple A5X Chip.jpg Apple A6 Chip.jpg Apple A6X chip.jpg Apple A7 chip.jpg Apple A7 S5L9865 chip.jpg
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 ARM11 Cortex-A8 Cortex-A9 Cortex-A9 x 2 Cortex-A9 Cortex-A9 x 2 Swift x 2 Cyclone x 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 x 2 PowerVR SGX554 x 4 PowerVR SGX543 x 3 PowerVR SGX543 x 4 PowerVR G6430 x 4
GPU clock speed 103 MHz 200 MHz 250 MHz 200 MHz 266 MHz 300 MHz 450 MHz
Used in

A-Series Chips[edit source]

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 A8 system-on-a-chip.jpg Apple A8X system-on-a-chip.jpg Apple A9 APL0898.jpg Apple A9 APL1022.jpg Apple A9X.jpg Apple A10 Fusion APL1W24.jpg Apple A10X Fusion.jpg Apple A11.jpg Apple A12.jpg Apple A12X.jpg Apple A12Z.jpg Apple A13 Bionic.jpg Apple A14.jpg Apple A15.jpg Apple A16.jpg
T7000 (A8) T7001 (A8X) S8000 (A9 Samsung) S8003 (A9 TSMC) S8001 (A9X) T8010 (A10) T8011 (A10X) T8015 (A11) T8020 (A12) T8027 (A12X) T8027 (A12Z) T8030 (A13) T8101 (A14) T8110 (A15) T8120 (A16)
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)
Big core design Typhoon x 2 Typhoon x 3 Twister x 2 Hurricane x 2 Hurricane x 3 Monsoon x 2 Vortex x 2 Vortex x 4 Lightning x 2 Firestorm x 2 Avalanche x 2 Everest x 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
Little core design Zephyr x 2 Zephyr x 3 Mistral x 4 Tempest x 4 Thunder x 4 Icestorm x 4 Blizzard x 4 Sawtooth x 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
GPU design PowerVR GX6450 x 4 PowerVR GX6850 x 8 PowerVR GT7600 x 6 PowerVR GT7850 x 12 PowerVR GT7600 Plus x 6 PowerVR GT7600 Plus x 12 Apple G? Apple G11P Apple G11G Apple G? x 4 Apple G? x 4 Apple G? x 5 Apple G? x 5
GPU clock speed 533 MHz 450 MHz 650 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
Used in

M-Series Chips[edit source]

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

M1 Series[edit source]

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

M2 Series[edit source]

Apple M2.jpg Apple M1 Pro.png Apple M1 Max.png
T8112 (M2) T6020 (M2 Pro) T6021 (M2 Max)
Architecture ARMv8.5-A
Process TSMC N5P
Big core design Avalanche x 4 Avalanche x 6 or 8 Avalanche x 8
Big core speed 3.504 GHz 3.667 GHz
Little core design Blizzard x 4
Little core speed 2.424 GHz
GPU design Apple G? x 8 or 10 Apple G? x 16 or 19 Apple G? x 30 or 38
GPU clock speed 1.39 GHz
Neural Engine cores 16
Memory LPDDR5-6400
Used in

S and T-Series Chips[edit source]

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.

Apple S1 module.png Apple S1P module.png Apple S2 module.png Apple T1 APL1023.jpg Apple S3 module.png Apple T2 APL1027.jpg Apple S4 module.png Apple S5 module.png Apple S6 module.png Apple S7 module.png Apple S8 module.png
S7002 (S1) T8002 (S1P, S2, T1) T8004 (S3) T8012 (T2) T8006 (S4, S5) T8301 (S6, S7, S8)
Architecture ARMv7k ARMv8-A (arm64_32)
Process 28 nm ? 16 nm 7 nm (TSMC N7) 7 nm (TSMC N7P)
Core design Cortex-A7 Cortex-A7 x 2 Hurricane x 2
Zephyr x 2
Tempest x 2 Thunder x 2
Clock speed 520 MHz ? ? ? 1.59 GHz 1.8 GHz
GPU design PowerVR Series5 PowerVR Series6 ? ? x 3 Apple G11M ?
Memory LPDDR3 LPDDR4 ? ? ? ? ?
Baseband Qualcomm Snapdragon X7 LTE (MDM9635M) Intel PMB9955
Used in

W and H-Series[edit source]

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.

Apple W1 343S00130.jpg Apple-W2-338S00348.jpg Apple W3 338S00464.jpg Apple H1 343S00289.png Apple H1 343S00404.png
W1 W2 W3 H1 H2
Bluetooth 4.2 5.0, later 5.3 5.0 5.3
Used in

Assorted coprocessors[edit source]

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.

NXP LPC18A1.jpg NXP LPC18B1.jpg Apple U1.jpg
LPC18A1 (M7) LPC18B1 (M8) U1
Purpose Motion coprocessor Ultra-wideband controller
Architecture ? ARMv7E-M
Process ? 16 nm
Core design NXP design Cortex-M4
Used in

Other[edit source]

  • T8028: This unreleased SoC is referenced in XNU source code[1], and is based on T8020.

See Also[edit source]

References[edit source]

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