Chip designer ARM is probably best known for the processors that power smartphones and many tablets. But Apple’s next-gen MacBook laptops are expected to be powered by ARM-based chips, and many current-gen Chromebooks (and some Windows tablets) also have processors based on ARM designs.

Now ARM has introduced a new type of CPU designed specifically for laptops. The ARM Cortex-A78C is part of the same family as the Cortex-A78 CPU that was unveiled this spring. But it’s designed specifically for high-performance, always-on mobile devices such as laptops.

ARM Cortex-A78C has more cache than other members of the family, and supports up to 8 “big” CPU cores on a single chip, which should offer better multi-threaded performance than a smartphone-class Cortex-A78 chip, which would top out at 4 “big” cores and 4 “LITTLE” cores based on Cortex-A55 architecture.

According to ARM that, combined with 8MB of L3 cache memory and other improvements should lead to better performance for gaming or workloads that involve large datasets.

It’s likely that the new CPUs will be a little more power-hungry than their cousins that use a big.LITTLE design. But ARM-powered laptops already tend to get pretty long battery life, so I suspect PC makers (and customers) would be willing to sacrifice a little run time for a significant enough boost in performance.

ARM doesn’t actually manufacturer and sell its own processors, so it’ll be up to third-party companies to license the new designs and use them in upcoming laptops or other mobile devices.

via ARM 

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7 replies on “ARM unveils Cortex-A78C CPU for always-on laptops”

  1. ARM are by far the smartest tech company known. To have a business model where they don’t need to take on the phyiscal manufacturing process and charge £millions to their clients is amazing. Their IOT and mobile market share is larger than anyone, and now they are moving into desktop and will start replacing servers soon as well. They are simply dominating. It is such a shame that the English allowed them to be brought up by a chinese company (who are now selling it but keeping the IOT business). If the chinese came in to buy Google or facebook or Apple, I bet the US gov would have stopped it.

    1. Get your facts straight man…the current owner is Softbank which is Japanese, furthermore NVIDIA may well buy them but then again regulators may well stop it…I for one would be surprised if this goes ahead as is…

  2. My main interest in ARM for PCs is that I hope it’s popular enough to make it into handheld pocket friendly UMPCs with LTE plus decent performance and battery life.

  3. Coincidently in the same day Apple annonces event for ARM powered laptops :). So far there is a few Chromebooks
    with Mediatek(MT8173C) and Rockchip (RK3399 and RK3288) and Windows laptops with Qualcomm.
    Meanwhile in China are annonced laptops with Zhaoxin (x86) and Loongsoon (MIPS).

    Save to say there will be options to choose from 🙂

  4. This could be a significant architecture once 7nm becomes inexpensive. It’s just a matter of time. Even raspberry pi got inexpensive quad a72 when the process costs came down. Until then it’s tough to compete against x86 and Apple.

    1. I use a Pinebook Pro (RK3399 hexa-core ARM). It lacks punch for things like complex photo edits, but is pretty responsive. Given the price and screen, it works well for a lot of things. The RAM limits of the ARM CPUs available right now at the low budget end limits what has seemed reasonable. It is hard to hear the benefits of a laptop-like device at a $1300 price point, given the losses in performance with conventional power programs and ARM.

      Getting good performance out of ARM requires a deep set of well-chosen components. Dump EMMC, have your programs written well for RISC, make the UI and window management handle swapping tasks well… It spirals costs of development and hardware.

      1. WoW you have very limited experience to base your argument off. Take the iPhone/iPad which are starting to bench mark faster than the apple laptops now. They are based on ARM. The fact is APple is moving their desktop devices to ARM because it brings enough power to the system these days.
        It’s funny when I see people buying the latest mobile phone to send text messages and scroll through social media all day long. All that wasted power in their device.

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