The recipe for success as a mobile chip maker reminds me of a formula that one of my journalism teachers often recited. He would implore us to provide more information in less time and less space. How does that relate to mobile processors, you ask?
Each new generation needs to be faster (provide more information) than its predecessor while consuming less energy (less time) on a smaller manufacturing process (less space).
That’s exactly what ARM’s new Cortex-A72 processor and Mali-T880 GPU promise to accomplish.
The reference design, due to arrive in smartphones sometime next year, supports the 64-bit ARMv8-A instruction set, incorporates FinFETs (3D transistors) and will support big.LITTLE multi-architecture configurations. The package is said to be 50 times faster than chips that shipped just five years ago and 3.5 times faster than the Cortex-A15 – all while consuming 75 percent less power.
The Mali-T880 GPU, meanwhile, is said to be 1.8 times faster than last year’s mobile devices and can offer a 40 percent reduction in energy for the same workload.
All said and done, the additional power and energy savings will be put to good use. For example, A72-equipped devices will be able to capture 4K video at 120 frames per second. Today’s handsets can only do that at up to 1080p.
ARM says it already has more than 10 licensees for the Cortex-A72. More information on the matter will be revealed later this year, we're told.