Google announced its custom SoC (system on chip), the first Google-made chip “Google Tensor” that is going to power the expectant Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. The name derives from Google’s machine learning chip “Tensor processing unit.”
Apple announced its own Apple Silicon chips in November 2020 at WWDC. They replace the long-going Intel chips and are also set to replace the AMD Graphic processor in Macs. The Apple Silicon made its first appearance in the original iPad. Right now, only MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini are the ones with the M1 chip but it’s expected the entire Mac lineup will be getting boosted with the new advanced technology.
CPU and Architecture
Based on the rumors of Whitechapel (codename of Tensor chip), it will be made on a 5 nm process using ARM Architecture. With the collaboration of Samsung Semiconductor’s SLSI Division, it will be an octa-core chipset. It will have a 3 cluster setting with TPU (Tensor processing unit). It might have 2 Cortex – A78 cores, 2 Cortex – A76 cores and 4 Cortex – A55 cores. The Tensor chip might have a machine learning module, a smaller version of TPU, ISP (Image sensor processor), and IP (intellectual property) blocks.
The Apple Silicon chip mainly uses the ARM Architecture. M1 chip is the first SoC to use the 5 nm technology with 16 billion transistors. It has an 8 core CPU with two types: high efficiency and high performance.
The efficiency core has wide execution features, 4 MB L2 cache, 64 KB data cache.
The performance core has ultra-wide execution features, 128 KB data cache, 192 KB instruction cache, 12 MB L2 Cache. It is the most energy-efficient out of all PCs and improves its power per watt performance by three times.
The Tensor Chip is said to use the Mali G-78 GPU that is based on Valhall architecture of ARM. It might be the same chip as the one in the Exynos version of the Samsung Galaxy S21 series.
The MI chip has 8 or 7 core GPUs with 128 execution units. It has integrated chips that facilitate less power and higher performance.
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Tensor has the new Titan M2 security chip. Google proclaims that the “Pixel 6 will have the most layers of hardware security in any phone” which is based on hardware components and security systems.
The security on the M1 chip, however, has come into the spotlight for a hardware malware where two applications can exchange data without using any normal operating feature. While developers have assured it isn’t a serious issue, it isn’t ideal for the software or the image of the company.
What does the future hold now?
Google has said the Tensor chip will help to bring forward AI and machine learning to Pixel users. It is set to bid Qualcomm goodbye. The Arm processor also uses less energy. This happens to mark a huge step forward for the tech giant as it steps into the Indian market and competes with other giants like Apple and Samsung while gaining more company control. Google has stated the Tensor chip will help in text to speech with no internet, real-time language translation for captions, and other better computational technology. However, as of now, we don’t know much about it, so we just have to wait for the foreseeable future.
Apple has its own graphical API called Metal used in macOS and iOS devices that is a game-changer for mobile VR. Battery life is another highlight for the advanced chip with long hours of performance before recharging. Bloomberg reported Apple has been working on silicon with 10 cores (8 performance and 2 efficiency) with 16 or 32 graphic processors, support up to 64 GB RAM. The name hasn’t been revealed yet and we might have to wait till the end of 2021.
Apple will likely start producing more machines for the next batch of chips that will arrive by end of 2021 or 2022.