Panasonic GH2 teardown! Inside the GH2

The Panasonic GH2 has been completely disassembled, analysed and torn down by Chipworks. Incredible!

The GH2 has 8Gb (note: gigabits, not gigabytes) of DDR2 RAM, double the Nikon D7000’s RAM. 8 gigabits = 1GB (gigabytes).

Chipworks sell detailed reverse engineering analysis to customers, such as microscopic photos of CPU dies and x-rays of image sensors.

The model numbers of core hardware LSIs is also useful for Vitaily Kiselev, the Russian hacker.

In the case of the GH1 he requested audio chip model numbers so he could find detailed documentation relating to the chips, in order to better understand how to manipulate them.

The further analysis is sold at quite a high rate by Chipworks. It would be interesting to see what they found in the detailed technical teardown of the GH2’s innovative sensor and image processor.

Image sensor

“The die markings indicated that the image sensor is the MN34070, also manufactured by Panasonic, with a 16.0 Mp effective resolution. This contrasted the Sony IMX071 found in the D7000 DSLR, which featured a 16.2 Mp effective resolution. Furthermore, the Panasonic MN34070 CMOS image sensor, back-mounted to a windowed PWB, has a 3.8 µm pixel size and ISO range of 160 – 12800. So with the image processor and sensor confirmed to be of Panasonic origin, this well reviewed camera is shown to be all home grown.”

“This is going to be a 3-part story, because after comparing the devices inside and the image sensors, we figured that the next logical thing for us to do would be to put the image processors under the microscope and compare the processing power. This means a look at the die and a cross-section to compare the process generation.”

Image processor

“Flipping the board over we found the Elpida S4B800 8Gb low power DDR2 SDRAM with die markings Elpida JAPAN HB01C041PB-6E. But wait…no processor? It seemed that the logical place to look for the image signal processor (ISP) was under the memory chip similar to other systems that use this PoP package-on-package configuration.”

“And indeed, the image signal processor was discovered to be the Panasonic MN89522 with die markings MN89522 / 031X1F01. Typically we only see this PoP packaging in smart phones, but given the need to move image files as fast as possible between DRAM and processor, it makes sense that a PoP is used. It saves board space and improves performance. Nice job Panasonic!”

Source: Chipworks via Image Sensors World