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A closer look at the A13 Bionic SoC powering Apple's new iPhone 11 models

Fastest mobile SoC? We'll find out in a few days. (Source: The Verge)
Fastest mobile SoC? We'll find out in a few days. (Source: The Verge)
The new A13 Bionic is still a hexa-core CPU chip, but, thanks to TSMC's latest 7 nm EUV manufacturing process, this SoC now integrates 8.5 billion transistors. It also features a new quad-core GPU plus an octa-core NPU, and all of its components are on average 20% faster and 30% less power-demanding compared to the previous version.

All of Apple’s freshly announced iPhone 11 models come powered by the A13 Bionic SoC, and the company now claims that this is the fastest mobile chip on the market; however, we might have to wait a few days for this claim to be proved by Geekbench results, as the new handhelds are scheduled to go on sale on September 13.

While many of Apple’s claims could be considered far-fetched, the company is usually on point when boasting about the A Bionic SoCs. Apparently, the A13 Bionic makes no exception in this case, even though it “only” integrates a hexa-core CPU. Apple made sure the new SoC is less demanding on the batteries, yet considerably faster than the previous version, and all this was made possible via the use of TSMC’s 7 nm EUV manufacturing process that increases transistor density (8.5 billion), as well as power efficiency. Thus, the A13 Bionic’s two high-performance Lightning cores clocked at 2.65 GHz are supposed to be 20% faster with 30% lower power requirements, whereas the other four Thunder high-efficiency cores deliver 20% higher performance with 40% lower power requirements. This improved efficiency is allowing the new SoC to achieve staggering theoretical speeds of more than 1 trillion operations per second.

Apple also fine-tuned the integrated GPU with its four cores, which are now 20% faster and require 40% less power. Of course, the new SoC wouldn’t have been the fastest without some sort of AI tech, so Apple also included a reworked Neural Engine with eight cores that are 20% faster and 15% less power-demanding. The improved AI power is used to enable advanced photo and video editing tools.

Speaking of improved power efficiency, Apple said that the regular iPhone 11 may benefit from an additional hour of battery life compared to the iPhone XR. Similarly, the iPhone 11 Pro should last up to four additional hours compared to the XS model.

Judging by Apple’s previous release schedule, the A13 Bionic will most likely be featured in some upcoming high-end iPad models, and the next gen iPad Pro variants expected to launch in late 2019 should include a more powerful A13X Bionic chip.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 09 > A closer look at the A13 Bionic SoC powering Apple's new iPhone 11 models
Bogdan Solca, 2019-09-11 (Update: 2019-09-11)