Technology

ARM promises laptop-level performance in 2019

ARM

The ARM chip design company unveiled its latest high-performance processor design, the Cortex-A76 . The company says the new design is 35 percent faster than the current Cortex-A75, making performance comparable to Intel's Skylake i5 processors.

ARM allows both the design of chips and the instruction set used by chips. Apple smartphones and tablets use the ARM instruction set with custom home Cupertino designs. However, most other smartphones and tablets use processors that are either unmodified ARM designs (eg, Mediatek) or slightly customized ARM designs ( such as the latest Qualcomm processors ). Chips using the new design are expected to hit the market in 2019.

The additional performance of the new design should help bridge the gap with Apple's custom designs – in most cases these are the fastest ARM chips on the market – and the x86 processors. Intel. S addressing CNET, Mike Filippo chief architect of ARM processors, said that the new design "would do well" against Apple and would roughly match the Intel Core i5-7300. This processor is a two-wire and four-wire chip operating between 2.6 and 3.5 GHz using Intel's Kaby Lake architecture. With more cache, Filippo says that even the 17 parts should be at hand.

To put this in context, the i5-7300 was launched in the first quarter of 2017. Intel's chips in 2019 should be a little faster (although the delay is not clear, given the persistent difficulties of the company by making its 10nm manufacturing process work well ), but an i5 from 2017 is unambiguously at the level of performance "good enough" for a wide range of users laptops. In addition, this performance should be achieved at a lower energy cost than the Intel 15W chips; The ARM performance estimates assume a manufacturing process of 7 nm.

This combination of performance and power consumption is expected to make the new chips attractive to Microsoft Windows Always Connected . Current Windows ARM machines use the Cortex-A73 design in Snapdragon 835 from Qualcomm. They offer exceptional battery life, but performance has been significantly lower than that of Intel systems. The Cortex-A76 is about twice as fast as the A73, which helps correct this performance deficit without harming the excellent battery life.

To achieve this performance, the new design is bigger and stronger than its predecessor. A76 can fetch and decode four instructions per cycle compared to three of A75. The A76 also has four whole units (three single, one complex) compared to the two in A75. In all of its instruction units, the new design can send eight instructions per cycle. With two-number floating-point units and SIMD, the result is a chip with significantly increased execution resources. This should result in much better performance with a single thread.

Filippo says that the design of the A76 was brand new and that big performance gains should continue over the next few years.

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