Check out the A7 processor's cross-section. Every little hump (through which you see that yellow line) is a transistor. By measuring the total distance between ten of these transistors, we can estimate a chip’s manufacturing process—essentially how tightly the manufacturer can pack in all that processing power.
The techs at Chipworks took out their [nano]meter stick and measured the distance between these transistors, which at first seemed very similar to the A6.
But wait! It turns out that the A7′s “gate pitch” — the distance between each transistor — is 114 nm, compared to the A6′s 123 nm.
Those 9 nm are a big deal. Looking to improve on their current 32 nm process, Apple decided to make the A7 with the same 28 nm process as the eight-core Samsung Exynos 5410, the current flagship CPU for Samsung’s own Galaxy line.
So what does that translate to? Applying some mathematrickery (28^2 divided by 32^2 = 784/1024), this seemingly small change equates to having the same computing power, but in 77% of the original area. And given that the A7 processor is larger in area than the A6, that means even more processing power to lead a healthy, smartphone-laden lifestyle.
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