The fastest processor Apple makes right now is called the A5X. It’s a dual core chip that has a ridiculously powerful graphics processor onboard because it needs to support the ultra high resolution display of the new iPad. Texas Instruments, being a chip designer themselves, has made a video that shows their upcoming OMAP 5 product beating the A5X in a benchmark by a margin of 12%. What are the differences between the Apple’s chip and TI’s chip? Apple uses a pair of ARM Cortex A9 processors whereas the OMAP 5 uses a pair of next generation ARM Cortex A15 cores. On the graphics side, the A5X uses the PowerVR SGX543MP4, meanwhile the OMAP 5 uses the PowerVR SGX544MP2. In other words, Apple uses an older GPU, but packs more cores onto their chip, while TI uses a newer GPU, and thus has to use less cores to get the equivalent performance.
Truth be told, we don’t know why TI even bothered making this video. The A5X has been in the new iPad since it first hit stores March, while the OMAP 5 isn’t expected to ship until early 2013. Do you know what else is going to come out in 2013? An even newer iPad, which will likely have all the bells and whistles to make it competitive with what’s expect to be on the market during that time.
Where are you going to see the OMAP 5 being used? Likely in Windows RT tablets, better known as Windows 8 tablets that utilize the ARM architecture. We don’t know enough about Windows 8, enough about Metro, or enough about which manufacturers are going to use the OMAP 5 to say whether or not it’s good. We’ll be better equipped to answer those questions at the end of the year.
It’s great that TI’s out there innovating and all that jazz, but there’s this whole other thing called time to market. Maybe they should focus on cracking that nut first.