As expected, ARM is launching new CPU and graphics chip designs ahead of the Computex trade show in Taiwan. The new Mali-G72 GPU and Cortex-A75 and Cortex-A55 processors bring improvements to performance and efficiency. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The new chip designs are also the first to support ARM’s new DynamIQ technology, giving chip makers more options for pairing a group of CPU cores to meet their needs.
ARM doesn’t actually manufacture chips. Instead the company designs the tech that’s licensed by companies like Qualcomm, MediaTek, Samsung, and Apple for use in their processors. While ARM-based chips are probably best known for powering smartphones and tablets, they’re also used in smart TVs and automotive systems, as well as a number of industrial and enterprise applications, and even some servers.
Microsoft is also developing a new version of Windows 10 that runs on ARM, which means we could see more laptop and/or desktop computers with ARM processors, and the chip architecture designer says its Cortex-A75 processors provide laptop-level performance.
But the company is also playing up the flexibility of its DynamIQ solution which lets you pair a high-performance Cortex-A75 CPU core (or cluster of up to 4 cores) with a more efficient Cortex-A55 core (or a cluster of up to 8 cores) for a heterogeneous computing solution that can tap the appropriate resources on demand.
Right now we tend to see ARM-based chips using the company’s older big.LITTLE technology in a handful of configurations, such as:
- 8-core chips with 4 big and 4 little CPU cores
- 8-core chips with 8 little CPU cores
- 6-core chips with 2 big and 4 little
- 4-core chips with 4 big, 4 little, or 2 of each
But DynamIQ tech could lead to a blurring of the lines between high-end, mid-range, and budget chips with models using 1+7, 1+4, or other configurations to shake things up.
ARM says the solution could offer huge improvements to performance in machine learning and artificial intelligence and could be used in servers as well as phones, laptops, and in-vehicle systems.
The first actual chips to use Cortex-A75 and/or Cortex-A55 CPU cores should hit the market in early 2018. Rumor has it that Qualcomm’s upcoming Snapdragon 845 processor may be one of the first.