In Austin, Texas to take over Intel’s latest Skylake chips, Arm announced a new mobile CPU core that can deliver performance within 10% of the latest chips . The new Mali G76 GPU and V76 video cores are present in tandems of the new Cortex-A76 which also runs for more than 3GHz in a 7nm node.
The aim is to deliver a performance with one fourth of the area and half the power, which is 90% of the Specint2006 of an Intel mobile Skylake chip or the thermally constrained systems or roughly the same. The redesign of A76 for new mobile system includes packing up to 2-Mbytes L2 cache and 4-Mbyates L3.
Analysts praised the architecture’s forward leap but also doubted that Arm will take a significant share of today’s x86-based notebooks. “We’re looking to close the gap with Intel … this marks the first step in a new family, and it’s the biggest leap we’ve taken in our roadmap,” said Mike Filippo, an Arm fellow and lead architect for the A76.
According to the comparisons which are based on CPUs running at a similar frequency, the A76 should deliver 35% more performance or use 40% less power compared to an A72 core at 10 nm, a 7-nm node . This will be a step up from 15% to 25% increases in annual core upgrades that Arm typically delivers. “We think you’ll see meaningful volumes in laptops,” said Filippo, but some analysts disagree.
The Cortex A72 delivered about 75% of the performance that Intel’s mobile Broadwell processors did. Intel’s chips typically support higher frequencies than Arm’s cores as acknowledged by Arm. TSMC too announced a 4-GHz A72 test chip and it’s expected that only few SoC makers will push their designs to such extreme speeds.
Notebooks based on Arm lack differentiation, said Bob O’Donnell of Technalysis Research. They offer slightly less performance and about the same price as x86 systems which doesn’t marks any big change. Arm portables have longer battery life and often build in cellular modems, O’Donnell doubts if those factors will sway many buyers or not.
Since Arm is preparing a separate core for both wired servers and networking gear, Cortex A76 will aim to expand Arm’s dominance which is already present in smartphones and now in laptops with 4+4 A76/A55 configurations sporting large caches.
Qualcomm is the leading proponent of such designs till date. Companies like Asus, Hewlett Packard, and Lenovo thus said above, announced Arm-based notebooks which will run Windows 10 on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon SoC.