Apple’s A8X in the iPad Air 2 looks like it’s a triple-core chip
Apple very much does not like to get into a spec-measuring contest when it comes to its mobile technology. While Android OEMs may be quick to talk clock speed, SoC cores, GPUs, and RAM, Apple tends to be far less forthcoming with technical details; you may have noticed that our recent spec breakdown for the iPad Air 2 was forced to leave several key component fields blank, or make some educated guesses, as Apple had not formally disclosed such information. But even before the tablet hits wide release, we’re already seeing some early benchmarks surface for its hardware, and as they arrive they’re helping to complete the picture of the Air 2 – and it looks like this iPad has an unusual triple-core design.
Beyond the standard dual-, quad-, and octa-core SoC designs, we’ve already seen the introduction this year of hexa-core chips, so why not one more outlier? The iPad Air 2 is the first device to use Apple’s new A8X SoC, and while the A8 we’ve seen in phones like the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus is another dual-core component, the A8X reportedly steps things up with the addition of a third processing core.
As a result, multi-core benchmarks show a big leap over iPhone 6 performance, while only more subtle gains when operating in single-core mode. We also pick up confirmation that the iPad Air 2 packs 2GB of RAM, up from the single gigabyte in last year’s model.