Engadget: ARM’s Cortex-A50 chips promise 3x performance of current superphones by 2014, throw in 64-bit for good measure
We knew this was coming, not least because someone let the cat out of the bag (or at least a paw) last night. Nevertheless, it’s only today that we’re getting the full picture of ARM’s “clean sheet” v8 architecture, and you know what? It’s pretty astounding. Top billing goes to the Cortex-A57, which is said to deliver “three times the performance of today’s top smartphones” without guzzling any additional power. Alternatively, the chip could be designed to deliver the same performance as a current smartphone or tablet but make the battery last five times as long — which would make that Surface RT just about five times nicer than it is already. How’s all this possible? Read on for more.
ARM says the boost is the result of greater parallel processing, a more efficient interconnect between the cores and memory, and various other architectural tweaks. If you chuck in a few bonuses — like the A57’s backwards-compatible 64-bit processing, a next-gen GPU, and the fact that it’ll be mass-produced with 20nm transistors — then ARM tells us that the real-world improvement in next-gen devices could well be higher. We can expect to hold these devices in our hands as early as 2014, at which point the A57 will also appear amid a “sea of cores” within datafarms.
Finally, we also need to take a look at the Cortex-A53, which will be geared towards low power consumption. Whereas the top-end Cortex-A57 will be more powerful than the current flagship Cortex-A15 (the chip it will eventually replace), the A53 will only be able to match the older Cortex-A9. However, it will still be able to handle 64-bit, and more importantly it’ll compensate by being absolutely tiny. ARM says it will be just a quarter of the size of the A9, even when built with same-sized transistors, which could be a boon for big.LITTLE chips that switch between A57 and A53 cores depending on their computational load. If you really can’t wait a couple of years, check out the official slides above and the PR below.