Report: ARM chips expected to reach 3 GHz next year

By on July 23, 2013, 5:30 AM
qualcomm, globalfoundries, arm, cpu, soc, performance, chip

ARM chips, used in the majority of tablets and smartphones, are set to receive a clock speed boost as chip makers TSMC and GlobalFoundries have revealed that 3 GHz processors are on the agenda. Both manufacturers are working on delivering 3 GHz ARM chips sometime next year to be later incorporated into various SoCs (system on a chip) such as Qualcomm's Snapdragon line.

Currently the fastest clock speed seen on an ARM chip is 2.3 GHz on the top performing Krait 400 CPU cores inside the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset. The Krait 400 is a custom CPU core developed especially for Qualcomm chipsets, and is based in part on ARM's Cortex-A15 processor design which is used in other chipsets such as Nvidia's Tegra 4 and Samsung's Exynos 5 line.

To bring ARM chips up to the 3 GHz mark, TSMC and GlobalFoundries are said to be utilizing a smaller production process, shrinking down to 20nm from 28nm in most current-generation chips. The smaller process not only allows chips to run faster, but usually makes designs more efficient, so each core in a SoC can be less power hungry and more friendly towards increasingly strained battery technology.

The speed boost should also help ARM chips compete with Intel Atom 'Bay Trail' processors, which should be appearing in a range of tablets -- especially a range of upcoming x86-based Windows 8.1 devices -- towards the end of this year. Intel, and to a lesser extent AMD, are making a push for their low powered chips to appear in the next range of phones and tablets, so ARM chip makers are obliged to keep innovating to match the incoming competition.




User Comments: 11

Got something to say? Post a comment
Arris Arris said:

"To bring ARM chips up to the 3 GHz mark, TSMC and GlobalFoundries are said to be utilizing a smaller production process, shrinking down to 20nm from 28nm in most current-generation chips. The smaller process not only allows chips to run faster, but usually makes designs more efficient, so each core in a SoC can be less power hungry and more friendly towards increasingly strained battery technology."

Still waiting on improved batteries for SmartPhones. I'll be impressed if 3Ghz chips don't drain the phones power quicker.

1 person liked this | Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

3 GHz eh? Maybe aftermarket cooling companies should be designing AIO liquid coolers for them. Remember how the last race ended in the push for GHz with Intel's P4? Hot & power hungry.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

3 GHz eh? Maybe aftermarket cooling companies should be designing AIO liquid coolers for them. Remember how the last race ended in the push for GHz with Intel's P4? Hot & power hungry.

They got there hot, and then took many years to cool down But it still stipulated the progress big time

Nima304 said:

Innovation, I absolutely love it. Even if a 3GHz ARM chip consumes more power than the older chips, I'm sure most of you, if not all, wish this sort of innovation was present in the CPU and GPU market.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Still waiting on improved batteries for SmartPhones. I'll be impressed if 3Ghz chips don't drain the phones power quicker.

Aren't we all... but I think we need to accept that battery tech has hit a plateau. I don't think the newer chips will drain the batteries faster. Thats' the point of 20nm over 28nm. If there's not an overall improvement they won't put the chips in phones. My question is... do we need a faster processor? I think 20nm running at 2.3Ghz would mean even better battery life, which could allow for a brighter screen perhaps.

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

Lol Are you really comparing mobile SoC's to x86 desktop CPUs? Aye yi yi.

JC713 JC713 said:

Very interesting. Battery life will be a concern with this though. I think liquid cooled phones will become the norm soon.

penn919 said:

Innovation, I absolutely love it. Even if a 3GHz ARM chip consumes more power than the older chips, I'm sure most of you, if not all, wish this sort of innovation was present in the CPU and GPU market.

Well, there's nothing particularly "innovative" about shrinking the design and increasing clock speeds.

Arris Arris said:

Aren't we all... but I think we need to accept that battery tech has hit a plateau. I don't think the newer chips will drain the batteries faster. Thats' the point of 20nm over 28nm. If there's not an overall improvement they won't put the chips in phones. My question is... do we need a faster processor? I think 20nm running at 2.3Ghz would mean even better battery life, which could allow for a brighter screen perhaps.

A ~1GHz jump going from 28nm to 20nm, I don't see that all coming from the die shrink. I really doubt the power consumption will be even better than current gen unless they make a whole heap of other power improvements at the same time, then sure, I'd be happy with that.

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

To get you this battery life you loose some speed too. Dual Cores and Quad Cores versions really not running at the full speed if you want to save on the battery.

Guest said:

Well you can always install custom rom and downclock to 1ghz, or/and turn off all but 1 core

anyway its a great news for cold countries

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.