Amazon’s Kindle Fire vs. Apple’s iPad 2


With the $199 Kindle Fire out of the gate, the inevitable questions pops into mind: Which is faster overall, the Amazon or Apple tablet?

The comparison isn’t really fair because Amazon skimped on internal components, which was key to its breakthrough $199 price point. An iFixit teardown reveals Texas Instruments’ OMAP 4430 chip inside the device, also  found inside Research In Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.

For starters, iPad 2 boots much quicker than the Amazon tablet – again, due to its more efficient dual-core processor and optimized software. Browsing the web? No surprises here either, Safari on iPad 2 stormed ahead, performing noticeably faster than Amazon’s Silk browser which offloads page rendering to the Amazon cloud. One thing to remember: In this test, Kindle Fire was loading Flash content which of course is not supported on Apple’s device.

The iPad 2’s graphics unit, praised for its nine times performance jump, helps with scrolling, which is pretty choppy most of the time on Amazon’s device. One surprising finding is that Kindle Fire streams Netflix smoother than iPad 2, most likely due to the new version of their Android client which is not yet available for Apple’s platform.

This is not the most scientific test in the world, mind you. Again, as 9to5Google noted in its quick review, there’s really no comparing Kindle Fire to iPad 2, be it on the price, overall polish, performance or shininess. As for the speed, mainstream buyers may not be interested in raw specs anymore and Amazon has priced this thing out of the range of the Samsungs and BlackBerrys of this world so it’s more of a competitor to Android tablets than to Apple.

Read more

iFixit tears down iPhone 4S, 512MB RAM confirmed, new Qualcomm MDM6610 chip discovered

The teardown is in progress. Notes of interest:

  • The extra .05W/hrs battery increases talk time by an hour but for some reason (likely additional background processes with notifications), standby time is reduced from 300 to 200 hrs
  • Pentalobe Screws, again?”
  • The A5 processor is rated at 1GHz (like iPad obv.) but is underclocked for battery saving purposes. That doesn’t mean an update (or hack) in the future could boost speed to iPad levels.
  • The iPhone 4S logic board bears a close resemblance to its stateside CDMA counterpart.
  • The Qualcomm chip updated from MDM6600 to MDM6610. There isn’t much out on the 6610 right now but we’re investigating.
  • It looks like there really is only 512MB of RAM. AnandTech says:

The second confirmation iFixit’s teardown gives us is the size of the A5’s on-package memory: 512MB. A quick look at the image above yields the Samsung part number: K3PE4E400B-XGC1. Each highlighted E4 refers to a separate 2Gb LPDDR2 die. The A5 features a dual-channel LPDDR2 memory interface, thus requiring two 32-bit die to fully populate both channels. The final two characters in the part number (C1) refer to the DRAM’s clock period, in this case 2.5ns which indicates a 400MHz clock frequency (F=1/T). My assumption here is Samsung’s part number is actually referring to clock frequency and not data rate, implying there are a pair of LPDDR2-800 die in the PoP stack. It’s not entirely uncommon to run memory at speeds lower than they are rated for, a practice we’ve seen in graphics memory in particular for as long as I can remember, so I wouldn’t take this as proof that Apple is running at full LPDDR2-800 speeds.

We’re updating as things develop.

iFixit tears down Thunderbolt cable, reveals active parts

As with just about any new Apple product release, iFixit has torn apart the Thunderbolt cable. Why a boring cable?  iFixit has revealed that the new Thunderbolt cable actually has active chips inside, making transfers  faster.

We found two Gennum GN2033 chips in the connector, one on each side. They were flanked by other, much smaller chips that surely added to the cable’s cost: two chips labeled S6A 1JG on one side, and chips labeled 1102F SS8370 and 131 3S on the other. Of course, there were tons of little resistors (providing impedance as needed) all around the larger chips.

Thunderbolt’s release on MacBook Pros and iMacs should be followed by new Macs coming soon. Inside the cable chip housing below Read more