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Apple A6 Chip in iPhone 5 Dynamically Clocks from 550MHz to 1.3GHz


When you look at most other smartphones, they’ll tell you that they have a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 running at 1.2GHz or an NVIDIA Tegra3 chip clocking it at 1.4GHz, for example. These numbers are offered openly for our scrutiny. That’s just not the case with Apple, but that doesn’t mean we can’t figure it out. We were told at the Apple A6 chip inside the new iPhone 5 was faster, but it turns out that it’s even faster than the 1.02GHz previously reported. A more recent benchmark has it running at 1.3GHz.

This is not with some sort of jailbroken overclocking hack. Instead, the “new” clock speed comes from an updated version of Geekbench (v.2.3.6) that has been upgraded to better identify the true clock speed of the Apple A6 processor. Earlier tests run with an earlier build of Geekbench showed the A6 running at 1.02GHz. Given this, does this mean that the “real” clock speed is 1.3GHz?

Maybe. Maybe not. It is possible that the Apple A6 chip has been configured to dynamically “overclock” itself or even simply adjust its clock speed within its normal range depending on the current load. According to 9to5Mac, the A6 can “downclock” itself as low as 550MHz too. This would help to provide better battery life, of course, but it can ramp up to 1.3GHz when the performance demands require it. At least we know that it has dual CPU cores and three GPU cores, based on a recent dissection of the A6.

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About Michael Kwan

A freelance writer and tech geek from Vancouver. Find me at michaelkwan.com and follow me on Twitter @michaelkwan.

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