Chip designer ARM has unveiled a new version of the company’s Cortex-A15 design. The ARM Cortex-A15 MP4 Hard Macro is a low power 28nm quad-core chip design that runs at 2 GHz.
What sets the “Hard Macro” designs apart from “Soft Macro” is that the soft macro versions offer chip makers more flexibility to customize various aspects of the chip. On the other hand, by using ARM Hard Macro designs, chip makers can use technology that’s already been tested and bring products to market more quickly.
It’s unlikely that big-name chip makers such as Apple, Texas Instruments, NVIDIA, Samsung, or Qualcomm will choose the hard macro version, since those companies tend to customize their ARM chip designs. But smaller companies could take advantage of the new offering to bring products to market quickly.
The new chip design is the first Cortex-A15, the first 28nm, and the first quad-core member of ARM’s Hard Macro family.
The company says Cortex-A15 MP4 Hard Macro should be able to offer a significant performance boost over Cortex-A15 chips with the same power efficiency as an ARM Cortex-A9 chip. Pretty much all of the top ARM-based processors on the market today are based on Cortex-A9 designs.