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Apple iPhone 14 / Pro series equipped with CK Storage NAND

There have been a number of recent media reports that some of the iPhone 14 Pro uses memory chips (flash memory) from CK Storage, and the cited credentials are an early disassembly review video by Bo from Wafer Works.

In the latest video of the iPhone 14 Pro, WaferTech’s Bo says: “The biggest change is this hard drive, which is the same size as the one used in the SE3 from CK Storage. We also thought at first that it was also from CK Storage, but it’s actually Toshiba.”

And WaferTech’s Bo said in a video about the iPhone 14 Pro Max teardown: “Remove this motherboard sticker and underneath is the hard drive. From the numbers marked on the SE3, we couldn’t tell that the small hard drive on the SE3 was from CK Storage, and we were so excited when we took the 14 Pro apart that we thought the small drive was from CK Storage. In my heart I hope they all are, but what about the reality.” The video was followed by a software query that showed the hard drive manufacturer to be Toshiba and not CK Storage.

So it seems that the iPhone 14 series phones using CK storage chips may be an oops, so how did such an oops happen?

Chip identification: Appearance
If you want to identify a chip, the first thing to do is to look at its appearance. Appearance is mainly divided into two aspects, packaging and screen printing.

The package of the chip simply refers to the outermost layer of the chip product shell, and the identification of the chip from the packaging point of view is to see the size of the shell and the specific shape.

LGA 3647 Intel Xeon CPU and LGA 2011 Intel Xeon CPU, for example, these two series of CPUs obviously use different packages. lGA 3647 uses a significantly larger package and is closer to rectangular. IGA 2011 package size is smaller and closer to square.

But you can only guess by the package to identify the chip, there are too many chips in the same package. Take the LGA 2011 Intel Xeon CPU for example, the E5-2660 is in this package and the i7-4960X is in this package as well.

And to MOSFETs, MCUs, and memory chips in these areas, such a variety of chips using a package phenomenon is more common.

For example, Toshiba launched five new MOSFET gate driver chips in June this year, these five new MOSFET gate driver chips, although the specific performance parameters are different, all use the “WCSP6G” package.

The reason why chip manufacturers will be a variety of chips in the same package for sale, is mainly for design reuse. For CPU, often a motherboard can support multiple models of CPU. for other chips that do not use the slot and need to be soldered, you can share a set of peripheral circuitry or PCB design for multiple chips.

The screen print of the chip is the code printed or engraved on the surface of the chip, which generally contains the chip manufacturer’s trademark, product model, performance parameters and other information.

The Intel Xeon series CPUs, for example, have a copyright mark, processor model, CPU speed, serial number, and other information on the Intel Xeon series CPU “silkscreen”. In addition, since many of Intel’s chips are sold directly to consumers, the specific generation information of these silkscreens is also given on Intel’s official website.

For companies like Intel, silkscreen information will be written more clearly and in detail, but some of the chips are dedicated to the internal use of other companies, as the corresponding chip information does not need to provide by lay people, so the silkscreen information is not as detailed. For professionals, if they want to get detailed information about the chip, they only need to check the chip specifications provided by the manufacturer.

Take the memory chip used in iPhone 14 Pro, for example, it is a line of alphanumeric combinations, plus a QR code used for internal identification, not even the manufacturer’s mark. In other words, without the relevant manufacturer’s internal documents it is difficult to determine which manufacturer the chip actually came from.

In addition, for the storage chip industry, different chip manufacturers in order to product compatibility to launch the same package of chip products are very normal.

And this oops incident is because the silkscreen on the chip can not be queried, only by the package style to determine the chip is Changjiang storage. After all, a variety of chips using the same package is common, so such a judgment is very easy to roll over.

Chip identification: Software
Many software can detect the device hardware, and the information of the chip used, in the absence of deliberate modifications, the software identification results are quite accurate.

For PCs, we can easily check the configuration information of the computer with third-party software such as AIDA64, HWiNFO, CPU-Z, and Master Lu.

In addition to third-party software, device manufacturers also provide corresponding software for detecting and upgrading their own brand of hardware.

Take the hard drive in the computer, for example, Intel, Samsung, Toshiba, and Western Digital have launched the corresponding management testing software for their own hard drive products.

For example, Intel Memory and Storage Tool (Intel MAS) can detect information about the Intel hard drives installed on your computer.

There is similar software for cell phones that can perform such functions, such as Ice Assistant. In the case of this iPhone SE3, for example, a query on Ice Assistant showed that the supplier of the phone’s hard drive is Hynix.

So identifying the chip through software is actually one of the easiest and most accurate ways to identify it (without human modification). However, this software identification method requires the phone to be turned on and activated before it can be used. Apple strictly requires that the phone should not be activated in advance, so this identification method is not feasible for those who want to do the evaluation of the phone in advance.

1, Apple does not allow the phone to be activated in advance, otherwise, it will lead to the corresponding punishment. But if you don’t turn on the phone and activate it, it seems to be feasible to just take it apart and see. (Not from a legal point of view, but only from a technical point of view.) Some of the earlier released teardown review videos actually do the same thing.

2, in the case of disassembly to see, can only be identified by the appearance of the chip (i.e. package and silkscreen). Since Apple will not disclose the relevant documents on the naming of the silkscreen, some chips can not be identified by the silkscreen.

3, for the chip industry, look-alike does not necessarily have a blood relationship. Only based on the package “looks like” to identify the chip is easy to roll over.

4, Software identification, is one of the important means to identify the chip, in the absence of deliberate modification of the identification results are very accurate.

5, in the case of chip silkscreen, can be checked, through the chip silkscreen can also accurately identify the chip model. (Except in the case of chip silkscreen is modified)

6, the chip screen print is modified mainly by polishing the original chip screen print and printing with a new screen print or directly replacing the chip package to achieve.


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Threza Gabriel
Threza Gabriel
TechGoing is a global tech media to brings you the latest technology stories, including smartphones, electric vehicles, smart home devices, gaming, wearable gadgets, and all tech trending.

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