It's hard not to love Moore's law, isn't it? Global Foundries and ARM revealed some details on the upcoming Cortex-A9 CPU architecture during GTC, and boy does it look like a hardware nerds dream. Thanks to a massive die shrink coupled with other architectural optimizations, word has it that the A9 will boast huge performance gains and significantly less power draw.

The majority of the benefits come simply from the die shrink. Modern chips (such as the ubiquitous Snapdragon CPU's) are based on the ARM Cortex A8 series, which is manufactured on either a 65nm or 45nm process. The A9, on the other hand, checks in at just 28nm; diminutive indeed. To simplify things, smaller transistors provide three main benefits:

  1. Obviously, shrinking them means you can fit more into the same size chip. More transistors means there's more room for things like a second core and/or more cache.
  2. There's less current leakage, which means less heat is output and less power is consumed. As a result, you can crank up the clock speed... and crank up the clock speed they have - the cores run anywhere from ~2 to 2.8 GHz.
  3. Lower production costs per chip (although building new fabs for the smaller process is incredibly expensive for companies).


Texas Instruments has already licensed the chip, and 20nm chips are expected to appear in 2013. While no date has been provided, I'd say based on that info, it's possible (but certainly not definite) that we'll see the A9 in 2011.

[Source: Brightside of News]

[Via: PhoneArena]

Aaron Gingrich
Aaron is a geek who has always had a passion for technology. When not working or writing, he can be found spending time with his family, playing a game, or watching a movie.

  • Will Nelson

    YAY!! Just in time for my contract to run out XD rofl

    • David Ruddock

      To clairfy, the A9's we'll see in 2011 (maybe even very late this year) will be of the 40nm (TSMC-40G) process in the power-optimized model for phones and small form-factor devices.

      The current frequency rating (standard) for that model is 800MHz-1GHz per core. Which is still crazy for a phone.

      The 2GHz 40nm cores are going to be for larger (possibly large tablet or laptop) devices, because the amount of area and heat dissipation they need exceeds the reasonable form factor for a phone, and they're also way more power hungry.

      TI, NVidia (Tegra 2), and Qualcomm will all be using the power optimized 40nm model for their multi-core devices probably through 2011.