ARM wants to double its CPU speed with the new Cortex A72

ARM logoWe're still not far into 2015, but ARM has already announced a trio of new products that will begin making their way into commercial phones and tablets next year. There's the Cortex A72 CPU, a 64-bit ARMv8 design that's around twice as fast as the current Cortex A57 and 3.5 times faster than Cortex A15; a new Mali-T880 GPU that's around 1.8 times as fast as the current high-end Mali-T760; and a new Corelink CCI-500 interconnect that promises to double the amount of system bandwidth in SoCs.

All of these designs are available for chip makers to purchase now.

ARM Cortex-A72

These performance estimates are pretty vague and don't come with any numbers from actual benchmarks or apps—early announcements like this rarely include as much context as we'd like. Still, if these performance claims are in the ballpark, ARM is continuing to push the performance of its CPU and GPU designs into the low end of Intel's territory, just as Intel's low-power products are beginning to make some headway against ARM chips. Intel is basically giving chips away to gain ground, but the performance and power consumption are about where they need to be in any case.


Most of the (non-Apple) ARM chip makers use one or more of ARM's CPU designs in at least some of their SoCs. Qualcomm has historically used some smaller, slower Cortex cores in lower-end Snapdragon 200 and 400-series products. Upcoming Snapdragon 600 and 800-series chips will use a combination of higher-end Cortex A57 and A53 cores, though the company's premium chips have historically relied on a custom-designed CPU architecture and will return to a new custom architecture next year. Nvidia, likewise, uses custom designs in the 64-bit Tegra K1 and Cortex designs in the 32-bit K1 and all its other SoCs.

CoreLink CCI-500

Other companies—Samsung, MediaTek, RockChip—rely entirely on ARM's CPU designs (and they lean pretty heavily on its GPUs, too). ARM's improvements in performance and power consumption set the pace for these companies' chips and, by extension, the devices they're installed in. Expect them to start announcing their first Cortex A72-based SoCs within the next few months.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: ARM, CPUs

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