Tuesday, September 26, 2017

This is the Apple TV 4K on the inside: 3 GB of RAM on two external chips on top of a huge fan

iFixit has published its scrapping article of the new Apple TV 4K , showing us in high resolution photos how this machine is inside, compared to the previous generation. Clicking on each image, you can see the version in very high resolution of that image opened in a new flap of your web browser, so you do not lose detail.
The things that catch the eye of this Apple TV 4K is the huge fan, bigger than before, on a heat sink that is what makes this device look so high on the table. It seems quite clear that this model with support for 4K and HDR video and a rather more powerful processor, the A10X Fusion, emits more heat, hence the new fan. Playing 4K video is not easy, although now it seems like almost any modern device can play or record it. In fact, the Apple TV is the only iOS device that has a fan to cool, attached to a huge heat sink.
Huge fan of Apple TV 4K
Another curious detail that we see on the motherboard is that this is the first device with iOS that we remember that has RAM (3 GB in total) split into two external chips; Typically, it is a layer in the SoC of the A10, within the same chip. But when it is not on the same chip, as usually happens for example on the iPad, they use an external chip, very close to the CPU / GPU, on the other side of the motherboard, or immediately next to it. However on this Apple TV, it is separated into two chips, one with 2 GB and the other with 1 GB of RAM. They are the integrated ones framed in yellow in this image of the base plate.
Motherboard 4K Apple TV
This is the same motherboard, on the other side. It seems a lie that in such a small circuit we can have a media player capable of playing 4K video and a relatively powerful mini-game console.
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