Root Cause Of New iPad 3 Overheat Problem – A5X Quad-Core Processor

Earlier this week, I posted an article sharing with you the current dilemma of almost all of the end-users who just bought their very  own Apple’s new iPad 3 – overheating problem. And until to this very moment, the thread from the Apple Support Communities which I’ve mentioned on my previous post is still open and the discussions there is getting hotter and hotter. Yet, still very far from any form of solution nor clarification from Apple itself.  And because of these rumors and so many claims from the end-users of the Apple’s new iPad 3, RepairLabs, made the initiative to find out what’s causing the new iPad 3 to heat up.

iPad 2 versus new iPad 3 Heat Comparison

Courtesy of RepairLabs (left: iPad 3, right: iPad 2)

The image above is from the diagnostic test made by the technicians of RepairLabs testing both iPad 2 and the new iPad 3.

So here’s the summary of the tests RepairLabs made on both Apple iPads.

Initial Boot-up temperature

When both iPad 2 and iPad 3 was turned on, the readings from each iDevices were  24° C (75° F) for the iPad 2 while the new iPad 3 went up to  27° C (80° F). From this readings we can now clearly see the difference between the two temperatures.

Playing movies from Netflix

This is where the real test begins. Both iPads were set to play movies from Netflix and after some 35-40min of continuous streaming, the temperature between the iPad 2 and the new iPad 3 made a big gap.  Apple iPad 2 registered a temperature ranging from 25-26° C whereas the new iPad 3 shoots up to 32-33° C. Now that’s hot!

It is clear now that the new iPad 3 can really become hot after a few minutes of usage. But where is it coming from? The team made extra diagnostic testing by looking for the source of this heating problem.  They went on testing each components of the two iPads. They’ve tested the Retina display and battery of both iDevices and they’ve found out that the new iPad 3 components were indeed hotter than it’s previous iteration. But the real root cause and source of the heating problem of the new iPad 3 was its A5X quad-core processor. During the chip processor testing, these technicians saw the difference between the two processors. A5, which is the ceramic processor of iPad 2 runs  around 27° C while the new iPad 3 A5X quad-core processor was shooting up to  36° C. The assumption why A5X of the new iPad 3 was hotter than iPad 2 A5 it’s because of the kind of material used for these chips. Ceramic was the main component used for the iPad 2 while for the new iPad 3, it’s metallic.  Ceramic materials have a higher tolerance against heat as compared to metallic components. If you’re not convinced then try pouring a boiling water on a ceramic cup and the same thing on a metallic-based cup and see which is hotter.

Personally, I know that this is going to happen and will be noticeable by the end-user. I have a Samsung Galaxy S II GT-I9100 and it has a dual-core processor. And whenever I play a high-resolution game, I can feel the back part of my smartphone gets pretty hot. The reason for citing this it’s because I think this problem is really due to the A5X chip. A faster quad-core processor would mean that it will continuously run while your new iPad 3 is in use just to provide you the best result as fast as possible. This now in turn will make the A5X exhaust more energy just to provide you what you need, hence, heat effect comes into the scene.

Let us wait though on how Apple is going to face and explain to all the reason of this heating problem and hopefully the could come up with a solution.

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Arsie also known as RC, professionally, is a Software Test Engineer (STE) from an outsourcing company based here in the Philippines. At the same time, he is also a freelancer tech blogger who writes any news, updates, current events, tricks, tips, and even reviews in the world of Information Technology. You can contact Arsie through our Eyes4Tech Contact page. Or you can also follow his updates on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.


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