The quest to move from a 7nm manufacturing process to a 5nm manufacturing process has begun in 2019. Yes, Huawei holds the bragging rights of being the first manufacturer to develop a 5nm processor. The Taiwanese company TSMC has also started working on 5nm EUV fabrication methods for the future chipsets. So, soon to join this league is Apple with its next A14 Bionic SoC as Apple is one of TSMC’s most loyal customers. Now, let’s talk about leaked features, specifications and benchmarks results of Apple’s upcoming A14 chip.
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Apple A14 Bionic SoC for iPhone 12 Lineup
TSMC has been working on 5nm fabrication from April 2019. Even back then assumptions were already made about Apple implementing 5nm EUV on the A13 Bionic chip. But Apple went with the 7nm fabrication on the A13. Some test samples of 5nm SoCs were sent out to Apple from TSMC in September 2019.
A DigiTimes report suggests TSMC will begin the mass production of the new 5nm chips from April 2020. However, there might be an overall delay in the production of Apple’s next-generation SoCs and supply of its components due to the coronavirus epidemic.
The Non-EUV 7nm fabrication on the A13 was a power-consuming one, which resulted in Apple switching to a thicker body with bigger battery size. However, with 5nm fabrication, we will see better power efficiency with the A14 Bionic chip. There is a downside to this new EUV 5nm fabrication, and that is the cost to achieve it. So rest assured, the price of the upcoming iPhone 12 will reach new heights in order to make up for the manufacturing cost of the new SoC.
Apple takes pride in the fact as the manufacturers of the fastest mobile processors, as we have seen in the iPhone 11 launch. They will try to get their hands on the latest 5nm fabrication technology for their next processor in line.
Integrated 5G Modem
All 2020’s iPhone 12 models will support 5G networks. To enable 5G connectivity, Apple will use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X55 5G modem but will use its own 5nm-based A14 Bionic processor. The Snapdragon X55 5G modem is a single-chip multi-mode solution that will help Apple to build 5G multi-mode phones (Integrated 5G to 2G multi-mode support) for a new era of connected experiences.
Specifications That Matters
|SoC||Apple A14 Bionic|
|Clock Speed||Up to 2.84 GHz (Expected)|
|GPU||Apple Designed 4-core GPU|
|5G Modem||Snapdragon X55 5G modem-RF system|
A13 Bionic powered iPhone 11 scored 5477 points for Single-core on Geekbench 4.1 test, and for Multi-core, the device scored 13882 points. As of now, there is no leaked benchmark information for the upcoming iPhone 12. However, we expect, Apple will be a leader in GeekBench charts with the A14 Bionic chip. As per MacWorld’s report, on Geekbench 5 platform, we might see upto 1600 points for single-core while the multi-score might even cross the 5,000 marks. These scores are equivalent to the 15-inch MacBook Pro’s Intel 6-core CPU scores which means A14 chip might make the iPhone 12 as powerful as a MacBook Pro.
Apple specifically works on its processors, to develop their software, according to the hardware and achieve the highest possible performance through well-optimized software and hardware configurations. What Apple does with this new fabrication method remains a mystery though, and we will probably have to wait for this year’s iPhone 12 series launch to see this SoC in action. However, this year we are looking at 15 billion transistors as TSMC’s 5nm node will offer improved transistor density than its predecessor 7nm node.