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Apple A11 Bionic: iPhone chip uses its own GPU and Deep Learning

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017 | Gadgets

Apple has unveiled the A11 Bionic, the new system-on-a-chip plugged into the iPhone 8 (Plus) and the iPhone X. The SoC differs significantly from the A10 Fusion of the iPhone 7 (Plus) as Apple reworked all major function blocks new has added. Above all, the own graphics unit surprised.

        
    A11 Bionic (Picture: Apple)
The A11 Bionic no longer uses a licensed GPU from Imagination Technologies, but an Apple-designed one. The manufacturer had announced in the spring of 2017, no more to use PowerVR graphics units of the British GPU developer. However, we had not expected Apple to use its own hardware at this year's iPhone generation. The graphics unit uses three cores – possibly clusters with arithmetic units – and is expected to count 30 percent faster than the GPU in the A10 Fusion. At the same speed it should only require half of the energy.

To support the graphics unit, Apple installed six instead of four CPU cores. The A10 Fusion has two fast hurricane and two efficient zephyr cores, but iOS is seen as a two-pack. Only one of the two dual-core blocks can count. At A11 Bionic the two Monsoon and the four Mistral cores run parallel. The multithreading performance is expected to increase by 70 percent, with the two Monsoon alone increasing by 25 percent compared to the two Hurricane cores.

With a system-on-a-chip, Obendrein is a neural engine for machine learning. The dual-core computing unit creates 600 Giga-Ops with unknown precision and is used for Face-ID. The SoC consists of a total of 4.3 billion transistors and is most likely produced in a 10 nm FinFet process at the TSMC. At the A10 Fusion, there are 3.3 billion transistors with the 16FF + mentioned production of TSMC.

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