ARM details Cortex A15 chip

September 9, 2010 // 9:31 a.m.

Tags: #arm #arm-cortex-15 #arm-cortex-a15 #arm-eagle #arm-server #cortex #cortex-15 #cortex-a #cortex-a15 #eagle #intel #lpae #smp #x86

ARM has released details of the 28nm Cortex processor it recently taped out at GlobalFoundries, and it's a pretty impressive piece of kit.

The chip, which ditches the Eagle name in favour of the more professional Cortex A15 MPCore Processor moniker, will be licensed to customers immediately for production in 32nm and 28nm variants at speeds of up to 2.5GHz - but let's look at something we didn't know.

First up is a raft of new features over existing Cortex A-series CPUs: the hardware virtualisation extensions have been on the cards for a while, but the soft-error recovery, Long Physical Address Extensions (LPAE) support for addressing memory locations up to 1TB and SMP cluster coherency functionality all point to the fact that this chip will be heading to many-core servers as well as slates, tablets, and smartphones.

While it was previously thought that the 2.5GHz processor would only be available in a dual-core version, ARM has confirmed that the Cortex A15 will be available in single- to quad-core variants "within a single processor cluster."

Other new features include support for Thumb-2, which the company claims "delivers the peak performance of traditional ARM code while also providing up to a 30 per cent reduction in memory required to store instructions," NEON Advanced SIMD for multimedia functionality, and the Jazelle RCT, which provides a three-fold reduction in code size for bytecode languages.

Full details of the new processor for the technically minded can be found over on the ARM website.

ARM's latest chip certainly shows that the company is looking outside of its traditional market, and with server manufacturers increasingly looking towards many-core low-power solutions for the requirements of cloud computing clusters, it could spell trouble for Intel.

Do you think that ARM's latest processor is everything you dreamed it could be, or does LPAE support still not make up for a 32-bit heart? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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