ARM Sheds New Light on High-End Cortex-A72 CPU

At yesterday’s annual Tech Day event, ARM shared more details about their upcoming Cortex-A72 architecture. Set to replace the current A57 performance chips, this new replacement is set to be faster, more efficient, and doing it all with a smaller die. While the A72 is the high-performance successor, it’s still largely based on the previous A57 design.

Starting off, ARM is making big claims against the previous generation A15 cores. For the same workload in a smartphone, ARM is expecting to reduce power consumption by 75% or keep the same power levels and increase performance by 3.5 times. Of course, part of the gains are due to process improvements but about 66% of those gains come from the architecture. Of course, the A72 is also a 64bit design. Most of the changes are deep down in the chip, ARM having gone through and optimized everything. Branch prediction is improved by about 20% over the A57 and pretty every compute unit got latency reductions in the 25 to 50% range. Combined, these changes should yield about a 16 to 30% IPC increase at the same power as the A57. This lead is set to grow since the reduced die size also helps the A72 achieve higher clock speeds than before.

While beating the previous generation ARM processors is expected, the bigger question is how these improvements will fare against Intel’s Broadwell and Cherry Trial chips. Pitting a 2Ghz Core-M5Y10C against a 2.5Ghz Cortex A72, the ARM chip manages to hold it’s own. Once power is limited though, the A72 manages to pull ahead as Core-M starts throttling. Of course, we don’t know the specifics of the test, but its good food for thought nonetheless. If ARM is able to keep up their pace, Intel will soon be seriously challenged, and not just in the mobile space.

For now though, consumers will have to wait for the A72. It will be up to ARM partners like MediaTek, Qualcomm and Samsung to implement their own A72 designs. While ARM has done much to improve over the A57, it remains up to their partners to make sure it all works out, an issue highlighted by the Snapdragon 810. Earliest chips are set to ship later this year, pointing to release in mobile devices for 2016. Who knows, maybe the A72 might make it in time for the next Nexus phone?

Thank you Anandtech for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Arstechnica

MediaTek Wants to Get under the Hood of Chromebooks

MediaTek wants to take Intel’s place in Chromebooks and expand its reach beyond Android-powered smartphones and tablets. Up until now, MediaTek has been the leading chip manufacturer for Android devices.

Kevin Jou, vice president and chief technology officer at MediaTek, stated that MediaTek’s new high-performance chip, the Helio X10, already has support for Chromebook OS. Google’s low-cost alternative to Windows PCs seems to be growing a lot in popularity and since the Chromebooks require Internet connectivity for most of its applications, it would make sense for MediaTek to grab a piece of the pie.

At the moment, Chromebook applications do not require a lot of processing power to run its cloud-based applications. However, together with MediaTek’s eight-core Helio X10 solution, we could see a lot of potential in Chromebooks, including support for 4K videos and 64-bit architecture support for apps.

The Helio X10 comes with four Cortex-A57 cores set to handle a lot of demanding tasks in applications and four Cortex-A53 for the less demanding operations, such as audio playback. In terms of benchmarking, the Helio X10 is currently competing with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810, considered to be one of the fastest mobile chips on the market.

Thank you PC World for providing us with this information

AMD Reveals Its Opteron A1100 ARM Server Processors, Codename “Seattle”

Today AMD unveiled its Opteron A Series development kit which sports the new Opteron A1100 processor. Unlike every recent AMD processor ever made the Opteron A1100 is unique for one specific reason: it isn’t x86, it is ARM. To date ARM has failed to gain traction in the server market, but AMD hopes to change that by being the first major company to try and push ARM in the server market. AMD’s first development platform is based on a 4 to 8 core Cortex A57 CPUs – these CPUs offer full ARMv8 instruction set support and are 64 bit. The specifications of AMD’s “Seattle” platform are as follows:

  • Micro-ATX motheboard
  • Up to 16GB of DDR3 memory with conventional DDR3 DIMMs, or up to 4 SODIMM, UDIMM or RDIMM modules (DDR3 and DDR4 support up to 1866MT/s)
  • 8 SATA III 6Gbps ports
  • Dual Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • PCIe 3.0 x8 or dual x4
  • Standard ATX PSU support
  • Crypto and data compression co-processors

The price of AMD’s Opteron A Series kit is a hefty $3000, but this is new technology so the cost will likely come down more in the future. For now this is purely an experimental move by AMD as the precursor to something more complete in the future.

End users can apply for early access to AMD’s new dev-kit here.


Source: AMD (YouTube)

Image courtesy of AMD

Russian Government Ditching AMD and Intel In Favour Of Its Own ARM Processors

The fallout from the NSA scandal has been overwhelming: initially the NSA and many technology firms in the USA hoped things would just blow over. Many months on and the battle is still raging with NSA-related fallout gracing the headlines every day and being the topic of many international government meetings. The latest development comes from Russia where the Russian government administration is planning to shift away from AMD and Intel CPU based computers. The Russian government publicly announced that it would be creating new Russian-made computer processors dubbed “Baikal”, which is the world’s largest and deepest freshwater lake located in Russia.

The Baikal processors will be based off a 64 bit ARM design and will gradually phase out Intel and AMD processors in the government and state owned systems. The Baikal CPUs are designed by T-Platforms in cooperation with Rostec and Rosnano. The Baikal processors are expected to use the Cortex A57 design and run at 2 GHz, the processors are expected to arrive in 2015. The move by Russia is a gradual one, there is no immediate plan to levy any import bans against Intel/AMD devices neither is there a plan to destroy existing Intel/AMD devices already being used in the public sector. However, the move does signal an increasing global distrust towards U.S technology companies which will continue to be an expensive hindrance until the NSA reforms its ways for good.

Source: Itar-Tass, Via: Phoronix

Image courtesy of ARM

AMD Unveils Server Roadmap: Steamroller Coming Early 2014, ARM Late 2014

AMD has just revealed to us today their updated 2013 to 204 server roadmap. AMD’s server roadmap is often an indication of the consumer CPU market in that new architectures tend to hit the server platforms about 3-6 months before the consumer platforms. That said what is quite interesting about this new roadmap from AMD is we can clearly see the introduction of the new Steamroller architecture from 2014. This is based on a 28nm process and has 4 cores. Furthermore AMD is implementing its HSA application support that it has been working on for quite some time since joining the HSA foundation.

While Steamroller is coming in 2014 it appears we have to wait to beyond 2014 to get a release on “more than 4 core” Steamroller Opteron CPUs. This suggests that Piledriver based Opterons will be the mainstay of the AMD high performance server portfolio until at least 2015. Another interesting development revealed by the roadmap is that of the codename “Seattle” CPUs. This is AMD’s first venture into the world of ARM and their Seattle CPUs are based on the ARM Cortex A57 architecture and will probably be multicore CPUs up to four cores. Furthermore these won’t just be CPUs but SoCs (system on chip) meaning it is likely AMD will be integrating its Radeon or FirePro class graphics onto these ARM SoCs.

Image courtesy of AMD