Arm unveils new Cortex-A77 CPU and Mali-G77 GPU set to boost next-gen mobile devices

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

Compared to the Cortex-A76 processor found in many of today’s smartphones, the upcoming Cortex-A77 brings a 20% instructions per clock (IPC) performance improvement. Its area efficiency means costs are lower, while its machine learning performance is also boosted.

In addition to smartphones, Arm said the chip can be used in always-connected devices and will arrive in readiness of 5G wireless networks and the increasing number of 5G-capable devices.

“Cortex-A77 is built with the next generation of smartphones, laptops and other mobile devices in mind. It stands ready to take advantage of new and emerging opportunities that will fundamentally improve the user experience on devices, such as the 5G rollout beginning this year, the growth of augmented reality (AR) and a number of advanced machine learning (ML) use cases,” wrote Arm.

Arm’s new Mali-G77 GPU, the first based on its Valhalla design, comes with a 40% performance improvement over the current-gen Mali-G76. It offers 30% better energy efficiency, a 60% improvement to machine learning performance, and 30% more performance density compared to its predecessor.

The company added that since announcing its Project Trillium machine-learning compute platform last year, Arm has more than doubled the energy efficiency of its new ML processor while scaling performance up to 8 cores and 32 TOP/s.

“For developers, the CPU is more critical than ever as it not only handles general-compute tasks as well as much of the device’s ML compute which must scale beyond today’s limits. The same holds true for more immersive untethered AR/VR applications, and HD gaming on the go,” it added.

As Arm is cutting ties with Huawei—its chip designs contain “US-origin technology”—the first SoCs to feature the Cortex-A77 and Mali-G77 will likely be next year’s flagship Snapdragon, rather than the Kirin 985.

Permalink to story.

 

MattS

TS Evangelist
Always great to hear about mobile computing getting better but aren't we coming to a point where we were with Pc's in there early stages?

Hardware is outperforming software greatly imo.

Also it would be great if we had some more mobile chips integrated in small form factor laptops even though we know about the current drawbacks with the ARM architecture on pc.. The battery and the performance u still get out of such system is good enough for most general users.
 
  • Like
Reactions: xxLCxx
Also it would be great if we had some more mobile chips integrated in small form factor laptops even though we know about the current drawbacks with the ARM architecture on pc.. The battery and the performance u still get out of such system is good enough for most general users.
AMD has enough trouble convincing hardware makers to include their 100% Windows compatible CPUs and chipsets in laptops. Yes, that attitude is left over from the horrid A# APU days and it changing thanks to the current Intel chip shortage but it shows how much effort (and sometimes externalities) it takes to get hardware makers to try something new. ARM has a much more difficult task to break in as they aren't 100% x86/x64 compatible.

In the end it's all about money however and it'll take a few generations before ARM chipsets for laptops approach the efficiencies 30+ years of x86/x64 development. Additionally Microsoft will need to code a different branch of Windows, which will only be in their best interest if more people buy ARM over Core i3/Ryzen 3/Pentium.

One other teensy weensy detail: high end phones which contain these top end, laptop comparable ARM-based CPUs come at a very high cost, $800-1200 and above. Some of this cost is the miniaturization required for the phone format but I'm assuming that some of this cost comes directly from the high-end handheld ARM CPU itself. That will drive up the cost of these laptops over their cheap Core i3/Ryzen 3/Pentium competitors.
 
  • Like
Reactions: nrstha

MattS

TS Evangelist
In the end it's all about money however and it'll take a few generations before ARM chipsets for laptops approach the efficiencies 30+ years of x86/x64 development. Additionally Microsoft will need to code a different branch of Windows, which will only be in their best interest if more people buy ARM over Core i3/Ryzen 3/Pentium.
Can two platforms co-exist though? IMHO two platforms isn't something ideal. Lets be honest who wants to develop applications for 2 different platforms on different code basis?(Linux vs Windows already demonstrates the lack of development in those cases.)

Is there any middle ground which can be found were ARM can continue functioning on the current platforms? I mean aren't they already functioning on the x86/64 Windows? Yes theres performance degradation but the system is "usable".
 
Last edited:

GregonMaui

TS Booster
[QUOTE="One other teensy weensy detail: high end phones which contain these top end, laptop comparable ARM-based CPUs come at a very high cost, $800-1200 and above. Some of this cost is the miniaturization required for the phone format but I'm assuming that some of this cost comes directly from the high-end handheld ARM CPU itself. That will drive up the cost of these laptops over their cheap Core i3/Ryzen 3/Pentium competitors.[/QUOTE]

Like the Qualcomm Snapdragon and the Apple A series? I haven't read a lot of complaints about pricing. You do know that Intel does not give their chips away?

the CISC vs RISC argument has been raging for 30 plus years. It took the mobile market where the advantages of RISC are overwhelming to get the research and investment dollars necessary to advance the platform enough to be competitive with CISC. The Apple A series is currently faster than low end Intel chips, with this next step of advancement, ARM may be gaining on mid-tier as well. (and don't go there on thermals, put an A series or Qualcomm in a desktop cooled environment and there is not a thermal issue).

It is not insignificant that Intel chip design stagnated for years (until the last several iterations which really upped performance), and ARM and AMD began nipping at their heels. Hooray for innovation and competition. Boo to monopolistic behavior.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jimster480 and mosu

Evernessince

TS Evangelist
In the end it's all about money however and it'll take a few generations before ARM chipsets for laptops approach the efficiencies 30+ years of x86/x64 development. Additionally Microsoft will need to code a different branch of Windows, which will only be in their best interest if more people buy ARM over Core i3/Ryzen 3/Pentium.
Can two platforms co-exist though? IMHO two platforms isn't something ideal. Lets be honest who wants to develop applications for 2 different platforms on different code basis?(Linux vs Windows already demonstrates the lack of development in those cases.)

Is there any middle ground which can be found were ARM can continue functioning on the current platforms? I mean aren't they already functioning on the x86/64 Windows? Yes theres performance degradation but the system is "usable".
Two or more platforms can and will continue to exist. You aren't going to see ARM overtake x86 bar some complete change of the way it works ARM is designed from the ground up for power savings and it makes compromises on latency and instruction execution times to do so. In addition, ARM is a RISC architecture, meaning that complicated instructions require brute force, meanwhile x86 has instructions that can take those tasks (like video encoding for example) and accelerate them (in this case AVX). By having these instruction sets, x86 can accelerate certain tasks more then 10x what you could do normally executing them. Mind you, ARM can accelerate tasks but you'd have to use the much less powerful instructions available to an ARM CPU.

Like the Qualcomm Snapdragon and the Apple A series? I haven't read a lot of complaints about pricing. You do know that Intel does not give their chips away?

the CISC vs RISC argument has been raging for 30 plus years. It took the mobile market where the advantages of RISC are overwhelming to get the research and investment dollars necessary to advance the platform enough to be competitive with CISC. The Apple A series is currently faster than low end Intel chips, with this next step of advancement, ARM may be gaining on mid-tier as well. (and don't go there on thermals, put an A series or Qualcomm in a desktop cooled environment and there is not a thermal issue).

It is not insignificant that Intel chip design stagnated for years (until the last several iterations which really upped performance), and ARM and AMD began nipping at their heels. Hooray for innovation and competition. Boo to monopolistic behavior.
Please link to the benchmark showing the Aple A series beating Intel.

The only benchmark I know that does cross platform testing is GeekBench and they have already been laughed out of the room for how terrible their software is. Linus Tovald, the creator of linux, pointed out issues with their testing methodology and major differences in programming path optimization.

The specs for the Apple A11 Bionic is a max clock of 2.39 GHz. Even Intel 15w chips surpass that and 15w is far below even low end desktop parts.
 
  • Like
Reactions: nrstha
Edit: I can't find anything so consider it a figment of my imagination for now. Maybe someone or even I will come across it sometime…

Either Tom's or Anandtech did a cross platform comparo with what few non-Geekbench tools they had available when I think the A11 came out and long story short, the Apple A chip performed at about 2/3rds of the Intel chip, whose wattacge I can't recall. It may have been one of the 7W passively cooled models. Apples to— well, apples. I'll try to find this article because my memory could be seriously off about this.
 
Last edited:
Like the Qualcomm Snapdragon and the Apple A series? I haven't read a lot of complaints about pricing. You do know that Intel does not give their chips away?
Good point, I have no idea what the QS855 goes for and the A12 is in-house so cost is impossible to define.

And laptop chips, the prices. Kaby Lake 2C4T 54W desktop chip - $64. Kaby Lake-equiv. Amber Lake 2C4T 7W laptop chip - $281. Yow.