The new 1080p-capable Apple TV is powered by what Apple claims to be a single-core A5 SoC.
According to the report, the A5 used in the third generation Apple TV is an improved version of the previous A5 used in both iPad 2 and iPhone 4S last year.
The site Chipworks has dissected the A5 and discovered that technically, the processor is actually a dual-core chip, but one of them’s a dud.
“Either Apple is only utilizing one core or they are binning parts. Parts binning is a common process in semiconductors where devices are segregated (binned) based on meeting a subset of the overall requirements, in this case they could disable the “bad” core, this increases the usable die per wafer, lowering the cost,” the site speculates.
In addition, this chip was manufactured using a new technology process. Unlike other Apple processors, that of the third Apple TV was manufactured using using Samsung’s new 32 nm high-k metal gate, gate first, LP CMOS process technology
Consequently, the new A5 chip is 41% smaller than its predecessor.