One of the main criteria when selecting the type of tablet is used in the chipset. We pay most attention to the timing and number of CPU cores, not realizing that inherent in our SoC device is a complex combination of multiple systems with distinct parameters. Let's try to look more closely at this issue in order to consciously move in the world of mobile systems.

SoC

For starters try to see what the SoC (system on Chip), the heart of most commercially available tablets. Well, this is defined as a complete electronic system usually located on one semiconductor substrate and enclosed in one housing. Key components included in modern SoC are: CPU or the CPU, GPU or graphics processing unit, memory controller, WiFi, video decoder, 3G/4G modem, GPS, USB controller, and much, much more.

Diagram of Exynos 4210 / Samsung

It should be noted that all of the components of the SoC, due to their complexity, almost never come from the same manufacturer. SoC systems are smaller, more energy efficient, reliable, and easier and cheaper to mass produce than conventional solutions based on multiple chips. For this reason, have become very well on mobile devices such as tablet PCs, smart phones and portable game consoles.

CPU

Processors used in most tablets (virtually all of the IOS and Android) are built in a RISC architecture, designed by ARM Holdings, which sells a license for their production to other companies. These systems come in many varieties of architecture and family of cores. Processors in budget tablets are still sometimes based on old ARM9 and ARM11 families, while the vast majority of the better performers has a processor core family of Cortex-based architecture ARMv7.

Construction of the ARM Cortex-A15 / ARM

They come in several varieties: A5, A8 and A9. Cortex-A8 are used in older single-core processors, and Cortex-A9 in today's most popular dual and quad. Premiere of the first devices with the processor core based on the latest Cortex-A15 has not yet taken place, but the market waiting for them to live, since they can bring about a revolution in terms of performance.

GPU

Another important component is contained in the SoC (GPU stands for Graphics Processing Unit), the layout and design. Currently the tablet market systems count four manufacturers: ULP GeForce from NVidia, designed by ARM Mali (who design the same CPU), blockers of Qualcomm and PowerVR from Imagination Technologies. While the GeForce and blockers are used only in the SoC from the manufacturer, the Mali and PowerVR chips are widely used in the market – the first budget mainly tablets and Samsung devices, while the second is the heart of such all versions of iPad. All modern GPUs support OpenGL ES 2.0, which is the official three-dimensional graphics interface in Android, iOS and Symbian.

The projected increase in power by Nvidia mobile GPU / pic Anandtech

GPUs, like the CPU may be of multi-core. The weaker of them are based on one core, while the stronger are the four cores (or PowerVR Mali400MP4 SGX543MP4) for up to 12 (ULP GeForce). Quite difficult to determine which GPU is the fastest because it depends heavily on cooperating with the CPU, clock speed, system, drivers, and methods of measurement.

The lithographic

A very important feature of the SoC is a process in which they were produced. Without going too much into technical details, we can say that the mapping is the process of lithography masks designed integrated circuit on silicon wafer surface, commonly called "wafers". Traditionally, the mask image is obtained by irradiation of the photosensitive layer imposed on carbon coated with a thin layer of silicon wafer and then removing not hardened in the process of irradiation of this layer. Exposed in this way dioxide layer is then etched to expose the silicon surface image of the mask.

Wafer with naświetlonymi systems / pic Tom's Hardware

Of course, most desirable for exposed mask images to be minimized, and the resolution obtained in this process are already tens of nanometers. The smaller the value, the system will require less energy to work and also take up less space inside the enclosure, or it can be to put more transistors, thereby improving performance. Currently, the latest SoC chips are produced in the technology of 28-32 nm, although the Tegra chips 3 or A5x (heart of the new iPad) are still produced in the processes of 40-45 nm. Fight for reducing the size is still ongoing – Samsung recently announced that next year he wants to start a production line for 20 nm technology, and even 14 nm.

Most SoC

The following table I made an attempt to summarize the most popular in the market today SoC along with their basic parameters, and examples of tablets in which they are used. The list does not pretend to be encyclopedic notes and certainly contains some inaccuracies which I will try to steadily improve. I am also aware that not all the systems mentioned here, just the most popular on the day of publication, so please bear with us and submit a proposal to extend the list of comments and / or the necessity of making corrections.

Manufacturer Model Process Premiere CPU GPU Tablets
Nvidia Tegra 2 40nm Q1 2010 1 – 1.2 GHz
Dual-core
ARM Cortex-A9
ULP GeForce
8 cores
333 MHz
Acer Iconia Tab A100, A200 and A500, Asus Slider, LG Optimus Pad, Asus Eee Pad Transformer, Motorola Xoom, Lenovo Idea Pad K1, Sony Tablet S and P, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 8.9, Notion Ink Adam, Toshiba Thrive
Tegra 3 40nm Q4 2011 to 1.4 GHz
Quad-Core
ARM Cortex-A9
ULP GeForce
12 cores
Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime, K2 IdeaTab Lenovo, Acer Iconia Tab A510, Acer Iconia Tab A700, ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity 700 WiFi, the ASUS Transformer Pad 300, Toshiba Excite 10
Samsung Exynos 3 Single 45nm 2010 800-1000 MHz
Single-core
ARM Cortex-A8
PowerVR
SGX540
Samsung Galaxy Tab
Exynos 4 Dual
(4210)
45nm Q1 2011 1-1.4 GHz
Dual-core
ARM Cortex-A9
Mali 400MP4 Note Galaxy Samsung, Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7, Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 Plus
Exynos 4 Quad 32nm Q1 2012 1.4 GHz Mali 400MP4 Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
Qualcomm

MSM8255T
Scorpion
45nm 2011 1.4 -1.5 GHz Single-core
ARM Cortex-A8
Blockers 205 HTC Flyer
MSM8260
Scorpion
45nm Q3 2010 1.2-1.5 GHz
Dual-core
ARM Cortex-A8
220 blockers Asus Eee Memo Pad
MSM8660
Scorpion
45nm Q3 2010 1.2-1.5 GHz Dual-core
ARM Cortex-A8
Blockers 220 Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE
MSM8260A
Krait
28nm Q1 2012 1.5-1.7 GHz Dual-core Blockers 225 Asus Padfone
MSM8960
Krait
28nm Q1 2012 1.5-1.7 GHz
Dual-core
Blockers 320 Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 700 (3G/4G)
OMAP OMAP3622 45nm 2010 1 GHz
ARM Cortex-A8
PowerVR
SGX530
Nook Color, Lenovo IdeaPad A1
OMAP3630 45nm 2009 600 MHz ~ 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex-A8 PowerVR
SGX530
Archos 70, Archos 101
OMAP4430 45nm Q1 2011 1-1.2 GHz
Dual-core
ARM Cortex-A9
PowerVR
SGX540
304 MHz
Blackberry Playbook, Archos9 80, Archos9 101, Nook Tablet, Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, Archos9 80 Turbo, 101 Turbo Archos9, Toshiba, AT 200, Amazon Kindle Fire
Apple A4 45nm Q1 2010 1 GHz
Single-core
ARM Cortex-A8
PowerVR
SGX 535
iPad
A5 45 and 32nm Q1 2011 1 GHz
Dual-core
ARM Cortex-A9
PowerVR SGX543MP2 iPad 2
A5X 45nm Q1 2012 1 GHz
Dual-core
ARM Cortex-A9
PowerVR SGX543MP4 iPad 3
Rockchip RK2818 65nm Q4 2010 600-800 MHz
ARM9
Mali-55 Prestigo MultiPad PMP5070C, tPAD-Trak 7122, Manta MID01
RK2918 55nm Q1 2011 up to 1.2 GHz Single-core
ARM Cortex-A8
Vivante GC800 Plug Impact, R93 Goclever Tab
AllWinner A10 55nm Q4 2011 1-1.5 GHz
Single-core
ARM Cortex-A8
Mali 400MP
300MHz
Novo Elf Ainol, Ainol Novo Aurora, Bmorn 99, Goclever Tab A73
Amlogic AML 8726-MX 40nm Q1 2012 1.5 GHz
Dual-core
ARM Cortex-A9
Mali 400MP2
300MHz
Ainol Novo Elf 2, Ainol Novo Aurora 2
Telechips TCC8902 65nm 2010 800 MHz
Single-core
ARM11
Mali 200 GoClever TAB T70, tPAD Trak 780
TCC8923 65nm 2012 800 – 1200 MHz
Single-core
ARM Cortex-A5
Mali 400