ARM unveiled its brand-new A76 CPU design at an event in San Francisco today, and while it may not be in your next smartphone, there's a good chance it'll be in the one after that. And it's going to make it a fair bit faster - around 35% faster than ARM's current top-of-the-line core.
If you're not familiar, ARM is the company behind the CPU instruction set used in essentially every modern smartphone (and yes, that includes the iPhone), and it's also behind the core CPU designs used in the vast majority of them. That includes chips made like Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845, with a high-performance processor that is essentially a slight tweak on ARM's current A75 design. The A76 replaces the A75, and ARM says it'll be 35% faster overall and 40% more efficient on similar workloads. That means a good chunk more speed when you need it, and a lot more efficiency when you don't.
ARM says that in laptops, you're going to see similar gains, but the "2x" performance improvement shown in the image below is when compared to A73-powered laptops (e.g., Snapdragon 835 Windows 10 PCs), not A75 - thus the discrepancy.
Of course, these numbers are in a bit of a vacuum, as we're just talking about the CPU core, one of many pieces in a modern smartphone chipset. When those chips are announced - Snapdragon 850, anyone? - we'll get a better sense of how well vendors like Qualcomm are going to be able to extract the gains ARM is claiming.
For years, ARM's reference designs have been dogged by comparisons to Apple's custom CPUs (which utilize the ARM architecture, but are not ARM designs). Apple has consistently managed to build processors that achieve much higher performance per core, and sip power while doing it: iPhones have historically used much smaller batteries than most Android phones (not to mention less RAM). While Apple's most recent design has upped the number of cores (the A11 Bionic is a hexacore design, with four of those being low-power CPUs), it still walks away in CPU benchmarks when compared to the very best from Qualcomm and others.
This new A76 design isn't a quantum leap - don't expect Apple's advantage to evaporate, in other words - but it does seem to offer more significant gains than your typical year-over-year advancement.
ARM also announced the new Mali G76 GPU, though vendors like Qualcomm produce their own GPUs, with MediaTek probably being the largest customer for ARM reference design GPUs. The G76 should be 50% faster in its most capable form (ARM GPU designs scale by number of cores) compared to ARM's current most powerful GPU.
As to when you can expect to see it in a chip? That's more down to the vendors, and typically they need a bit of lead time to take advantage of them. The current-gen ARM A75 was announced a year ago, and Qualcomm didn't announce a part based on it until around six months later. That means, if Qualcomm should choose to adopt the A76 (as opposed to opting for its own custom CPU solution), the earliest you'd probably see it in a smartphone is 2019.
For Small Screens to Large: Introducing a New Suite of IP for Premium Mobile Experiences
May 31, 2018
By Rene Haas, President, IPG, Arm
- Arm Cortex-A76 CPU: New microarchitecture enabling 35 percent more performance year-over-year for increased productivity
- Arm Mali-G76 GPU: Untethered gaming and on-device machine learning (ML) with 30 percent higher efficiency and performance over previous generations
- Arm Mali-V76 VPU: Enabling UHD 8K viewing experiences across more devices
Over the last five years, we’ve seen CPU performance on smartphones increase an average of 20+ percent every year without compromising battery life. However, the same cannot be said for laptops, which have struggled to adapt to a slowing Moore’s Law over the last few years, delivering annual performance gains averaging only single-digit percentages while failing to enable any significant increases in battery life.
This cadence of significant smartphone performance efficiency increases enabled by Arm did not go unnoticed by the Windows laptop ecosystem which now have integrated Arm-based SoCs from Qualcomm into their initial Always-Connected PC offerings. These Arm-based laptops are already paying off with an unprecedented 20-plus hours of battery life and steadily improving performance thanks to ongoing OS and application optimizations.
Yet, the first-generation of Arm-based laptops are just the first step in the aforementioned annual performance cadence for those devices. Today Arm is announcing a new premium client solution suite of Arm computing and multimedia IP that not only provides more opportunities for smartphone innovation, but makes any gap in laptop performance a non-issue with a CPU design that delivers a staggering increase in year-over-year performance.
Our new client IP platform solution for 2019 has generated a level of excitement within our ecosystem which I have never seen during my 5+ years at Arm thanks to the possibilities it offers for increased productivity, immersive AR/VR and gaming, AI/ML, and UHD 8K viewing experiences on more devices. Not to mention, this suite of premium IP perfectly complements our Project Trillium platform, further optimizing machine learning and AI uses at the edge. The elements of the platform are:
Cortex-A76: Powering the journey for laptop-class performance
The new Arm Cortex-A76 CPU, based on DynamIQ technology, delivers laptop-class performance while maintaining the power efficiency of a smartphone. We've already seen the success of the recently launched Arm-based Windows10 PCs, delivering unimaginable 20-plus hours of battery life, a true LTE connected PC, and a trusted Windows app ecosystem. Building on that momentum, the new Cortex-A76 CPU brings choice and flexibility to consumers from a trusted architecture, delivering the 35 percent y-o-y performance gain along with 40 percent improved efficiency.
As the only compute architecture delivering these generation-over-generation gains, it's exciting to watch Arm continue to push performance while still becoming increasingly efficient.
The new Cortex-A76 also delivers 4x compute performance improvements for AI/ML at the edge, enabling responsive, secure experiences on PCs and smartphones. This level of performance, power efficiency, and flexibility changes how consumers engage with their new PCs giving them more power to accomplish what they want to, whenever and wherever they want to accomplish it.
For more in-depth technical details on the Cortex-A76, visit our blog.
Mali-G76: High-performance gaming, cross-platform experiences
The gaming market is expected to reach $137.9 billion in 2018, making it one of the largest revenue markets globally and a key driver in increasing consumer performance demands as they look to satisfy their thirst for high-end gaming on-the-go. The Mali-G76 gives developers and consumers what they want by delivering 30 percent more efficiency and performance density . These generational enhancements provide developers with more performance headroom to bring more high-end gaming titles to mobile app ecosystems and enable them to write new apps that integrate augmented and virtual reality into our everyday lives.
For more in-depth technical details on the Mali-G76, visit our blog.
Mali-V76: Enabling the ultimate UHD immersive experience
As the world moves towards UHD 8K content, we’re ensuring our IP will support encoding and decoding for content on smartphones and other devices. The Mali-V76 supports 8K decode up to 60fps or four 4K streams at 60fps giving consumers the opportunity to stream four movies, record video while video conferencing, or watch four games in 4K. And at lower resolutions, and still at full HD, Mali-G76 will support up to 16 streams of content, creating a 4x4 video wall, a very popular use case in the Chinese market.
For more in-depth technical details on the Mali-V76, visit our blog.
This is only the beginning
Mobility is freedom – freedom from wires, freedom to be flexible in working, freedom from not having to recharge your mobile device after a day’s worth of use, freedom to choose how you want to connect to make sure you are ready for the 5G revolution.
Arm and its strong partner ecosystem are redefining mobile and changing where and how innovation happens across the mobile spectrum, from small to large-screen devices. Together, we transform how we live, work, play, and learn from mobile phones, tablets to PCs across different operating systems–all seamlessly and all connected through 5G. I am excited about this journey and the new suite of IP that will unleash a new wave of unimagined experiences.
For downloadable images and other related content, please visit our media resources page.
Senior PR Manager, Arm
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Arm technology is at the heart of a computing and connectivity revolution that is transforming the way people live and businesses operate. Our advanced, energy-efficient processor designs have enabled the intelligent computing in more than 125 billion chips. Over 70% of the world’s population are using Arm technology, which is securely powering products from the sensor to the smartphone to the supercomputer. This technology combined with our IoT software and device management platform enable customers to derive real business value from their connected devices. Together with our 1,000+ technology partners we are at the forefront of designing, securing and managing all areas of compute from the chip to the cloud.
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