The 1080p Apple TV features a new A5 processor that features two cores, expect Apple says that the new Apple TV features just one core, leading to speculation about what has become of the second core.
As well as incorporating two cores, the new A5 chip used in the 1080p Apple TV features an Application Processor that uses a smaller, more efficient 32nm die process. This means the new chip is almost 41 per cent smaller than the earlier A5 chip, used in both iPad 2 and iPhone 4S, which used a 45nm process. (More below)
Having opened up the Apple TV and made this discovery, Chipworks offers its own analysis of why Apple isn’t utilizing the second core. “Either Apple is only utilizing one core or they are binning parts,” claims the site.
Chipworks explains that "parts binning is a common process”, suggesting that sometimes devices are binned for “meeting a subset of the overall requirements”. In the case of the Apple TV, Apple may have decided to “disable the “bad” core, this increases the usable die per wafer, lowering the cost”, they suggest.
Another reason to turning off one core could be to reduce the power consumption of a device, suggests Apple Insider, but the Apple TV lacks the power constraints of battery-powered mobile devices.