Sunday, March 25, 2012

Take three on the new iPad's heat issues

GSM Arena conducted some heat tests on the new Third Generation Apple iPad which pretty much confirms the findings of Consumer Reports. The new iPad runs much hotter than the iPad 2 and can get toasty under intensive use.

GSM Arena tests

Tests conducted with ambient temperature of 22°C 

Idle Display on:

iPad 2 - 29.7°C
New iPad - 34.6°C

Running processor intensive applications:

iPad 2 - 30.3°C
New iPad - 35.9°C

Running graphics intensive applications (1024 x 768 applications):

iPad 2 - 31.7°C
New iPad - 38.3°C

Running graphics intensive applications (2048 x 1536 applications - Infinity Blade II):

iPad 2 - Not tested
New iPad - 44.4°C

Consequences of the the higher operating temperatures:

1. With substantially higher operating temperatures the new iPad wont be as durable as the older one. In the same way that opening a door cause wear and tear on a door hinge, heat results in wear and tear on electronics. The more heat, the faster an electronic component is likely to fail.

2. Higher operating temperatures also causes batteries to deteriorate faster. While both the iPad 2 and the new iPad are rated as having the same 10-hour battery life, the new iPad battery will deteriorate faster the the iPad 2. 

I would not recommend buying an iPad 3 right away. I would wait for feedback from other Philippine users. The Consumer Reports and GSM Arena tests were conducted with an ambient or room temperature of 22°C.  That average temperature in Metro Manila is 27.7°C. Whether the new iPad will stand up well to local conditions remain to be seen. 

On the other hand, if you had your sights set on the iPad 2, you get a Php5,000 discount on the WiFi models, a higher Php6,000 discount on 3G models and get to defer payments over 6-12 months. The new iPad does not run faster. If anything it is a tad bit slower. Check out the side by side comparison hear. Pretty much all the additional speed brought by the graphics processing unit and additional RAM are needed to be able to run the high resolution 2048 x 1536 display. At the same time the iPad 2 would seem to be the better engineered model.

If you plan to use an iPad for viewing high resolution photos or HD video, the higher resolution screen might be worth the additional heat. For other uses, like web browsing or eBook reading, the higher resolution display only really offers additional eye candy. For gaming it is a toss up. Games should look better an the higher resolution display, but this use is also when the heat issue becomes a bigger problem.

Isn't more hear inevitable with more power?

The A5x chip on the new iPad still uses the same 45 nanometer process as the previous A5 and A4 chips. The Nvidia Tegra 3 uses a 40 nanometer process while Qualcomms S4 uses the 28 nanometer process. Less nanometers means less power requirements, so more power can be produced at lower wattages.

We do expect to see a new Apple chip either in the next iPhone or the next iPad built using a new A6 chip with built on a 28-32 nanometer process. This will provide the needed power to run the new iPad's 2048 x 1536 display, without needing so much power and consequently, it will run much cooler.

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