ARM looks to challenge Intel in the laptop market with its Cortex-A76 chip

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

Based on its DynamIQ technology, the new ARM Cortex-A76 CPU “delivers laptop-class performance while maintaining the power efficiency of a smartphone,” according to the company.

ARM says the A76 boasts a 35 percent performance increase compared to last year’s Cortex-A75 and is 35 percent more power efficient. It also brings four times more compute performance for AI and machine learning tasks and is expected to double the performance of current ARM-based laptops.

A lot of the gains come from the higher 3.3GHz clock speeds, as well as the larger L3, which is now 4MB instead of 2MB.

If the figures are accurate, the Cortex-A76 could result in ARM-based Windows 10 machines that actually challenge Intel/AMD-powered device. ARM’s lead processor architect, Mike Fiilippo, told CNET it has around the same performance as an Intel Core i5-7300, and could match an i7 CPU if configured with more cache memory.

In addition to powering laptops and Chromebooks, the CPU has applications for smartphones, home devices, single-board computers, and the automotive industry. The Cortex-A76 is set to arrive in devices sometime next year.

ARM also announced the new Mali-G76 GPU, which offers 30 percent more performance density, 30 percent more energy efficiency, and a 1.5x increase in mobile gaming performance.

Finally, there’s the Mali-V76 VPU, which doubles the decoding performance of ARM’s previous video processing unit, allowing it to support 8K video decoding at 60 fps or four 4K videos at 60 fps. It can also support up to sixteen 1080p streams, enabling the creation of 4x4 video walls, which ARM says is increasingly becoming an absolute essential in the Chinese market.

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Raytrace3D

TS Addict
I have a feeling that once ARM grabs hold of this market, they will eventually dominate it. Competition is good but for some odd reason I'm resistant to change. I'm sure my fears are unfounded. Maybe it's just because it's not an x86 CPU and I'm prejudiced. :)
 

yeeeeman

TS Maniac
They won't dominate it because you forget about software. ARM is starting from scratch on Windows. Emulation will take at least 5-10 years to reach current X86 processors performance and by that time, Intel and AMD will have made several degrees of magnitude of improvements...
Also, they say 7300HQ performance. That is a 4/4 cores/threads at 2.5Ghz. They only base their assumptions on performance simulations since they don't have yet the actual chip. When you factor in emulation penalties which can range from 25% up to...whatever, this isn't looking very rosy.
I don't wanna go into processor architecture and CISC vs RISC details, but ARM arch shines in simple cases like Android, set top boxes, low res consoles (see Nintendo). Phones load webpages so quickly because they do not load full websites. Also youtube and all stuff that is on mobile is tweaked and slimmed down to suit a simpler arch and instruction set.
When you go and look at what a PC can do (very complex games, complex video/audio/image processing) you will see that CISC is better suited for it.
X86 CPUs have passed though these stages of uArch development in the beggining of 2010s, whereas ARM is doing it now. So please, don't dream about things that simply cannot happen.
 
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Danny101

TS Guru
There's a bit that can mitigate performance issues. One, Windows for ARM can be scaled down with only essential elements and that includes Windows S mode. Two, the creation of a different set of compilers that are ARM centric and that can translate between the usual Windows programming languges and the ARM instruction set. These will not be like the x86 powerhouses but they don't have to be for internet browsing, video streaming, and basic business software.
 

thews86

TS Booster
Lets get a third competitor on the desktop market as well! I think it would really push performance and innovation, something Intel has been slowing for monopolization purposes.
 

dj2017

TS Maniac
"The big picture: Intel and Qualcomm announced a partnership to bring the full Windows 10 OS to ARM devices back in December 2016."

Intel and Qualcomm to bring Windows on ARM?

A funny little mistake that makes Intel look suicidal. :p
 
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Bp968

TS Booster
They won't dominate it because you forget about software. ARM is starting from scratch on Windows. Emulation will take at least 5-10 years to reach current X86 processors performance and by that time, Intel and AMD will have made several degrees of magnitude of improvements...
Also, they say 7300HQ performance. That is a 4/4 cores/threads at 2.5Ghz. They only base their assumptions on performance simulations since they don't have yet the actual chip. When you factor in emulation penalties which can range from 25% up to...whatever, this isn't looking very rosy.
I don't wanna go into processor architecture and CISC vs RISC details, but ARM arch shines in simple cases like Android, set top boxes, low res consoles (see Nintendo). Phones load webpages so quickly because they do not load full websites. Also youtube and all stuff that is on mobile is tweaked and slimmed down to suit a simpler arch and instruction set.
When you go and look at what a PC can do (very complex games, complex video/audio/image processing) you will see that CISC is better suited for it.
X86 CPUs have passed though these stages of uArch development in the beggining of 2010s, whereas ARM is doing it now. So please, don't dream about things that simply cannot happen.
While I dont disagree with your conclusion I do with your terminology. ARM is far from being a RISC processor and X86 stopped being a CISC ages ago. The way pipelining works and out of order execution works just doesnt line up with the CISC/RISC terminology anymore.

Your pretty spot on with the emulation problems. But MS has apparently gotten the performance hit to far below 25% when using apps designed for windows 10. I suspect there will still be problems with high performance apps designed for x86 (photoshop, autocad, games, etc). We shall see. Intels issues with 10nm might very well change the nature of the game.
 

Danny101

TS Guru
If the tech can get to the point where there's always four layers: 1)Direct to Metal, 2) Middleware-Translator, 3) Operating System, 4) Programs and Apps, then shore up the speeds, efficiency, and security at each layer. Microsoft will need two layers of Windows: One for programmers that doesn't change and is universal; the other that is either x86 or ARM specific with the correct API's. This can be workable for enough parity. x86 will likely run ahead, but not so much that ARM is a bad choice.