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Apple TV upgrade packs smaller A5 chip, not A5X

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The new smaller die-size A5 chip
The new smaller die-size A5 chip

The Apple TV has just received a mid-cycle component upgrade, which sees the set-top box pack a smaller A5 chip rather than the expected A5X processor.

Back in January, FFC documents for an update to the latest Apple TV, known as “AppleTV3,2”, revealed the Apple TV would be getting an updated A5X chip for its mid-cycle upgrade.

However, MacRumours has discovered that this, in fact, isn't the case. When the blog got its hands on the new Apple TV and broke it apart, there was a distinct lack of an A5X chip and a significantly smaller A5 processor featured in its place.

When first brought out in 2011 for the original iPad 2, the A5 chip was 10.09 x 12.15mm in size, whilst the first die-shrunk A5 chip for the third-generation Apple TV and updated iPad 2 came in at 41 per cent of the original’s size at 8.19 x 8.68mm.

The new tiny A5 chip measures just 6 x 6mm, and could suggest that Apple has changed to a 28-nanometer process from the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), instead of the current 45-nanometer. This would be a massive development for Apple, as this would be the first iOS device not to be produced by Samsung.

The South Korean company is also rumoured to be moving to a 28-nanometer process within its factory in Austin, Texas, where it makes chips for Apple. However, the company will not be capable of producing such tiny die-sizes on a mass scale until much later this year.

It has also been mooted that Apple will be bringing TSMC on board for the A6X chip, currently used in the iPad 4 and iPad mini.

So far, it has yet to be seen whether the new smaller A5 chip provides any more power draw than the previous size, especially as this isn’t really an issue for Apple TV, which is already fed from an AC power supply.

What do you think of Apple TV? Are you waiting for more information regarding the much-rumoured Apple iTV? Let us know via the TrustedReviews Facebook and Twitter pages or the comment boxes below.

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