ARM unveils 16nm Cortex-A72, Mali-T880 designs

February 4, 2015 // 10:19 a.m.

Tags: #16nm #arm #arm-cortex #armv8 #cortex #cortex-a15 #cortex-a57 #cortex-a72 #finfet #mali #mali-t880 #pete-hutton #processor #semiconductor #soc #system-on-chip #tsmc

Cambridge-based low-power processing specialist ARM has announced the launch of its latest processor design, the 64-bit ARM Cortex-A72, promising a 3.5-times performance boost over its previous-generation 32-bit Cortex-A15 design.

Based on a 16nm process node with FinFET+ three-dimensional transistor layout, the Cortex-A72 builds on the company's 64-bit ARMv8 microarchitecture with the promise of a significant performance boost or reduction in power draw for equal performance - or, of course, a combination of the two. Some 3.5 times faster than the company's 32-bit Cortex-A15 design and a claimed 50-times faster than its leading-edge designs from five years ago, the Cortex-A72 is designed to replace the existing 64-bit Cortex-A57 design in devices launching in 2016.

'Our new premium mobile experience IP suite with the Cortex-A72 processor delivers a decisive step forward from the compelling user experiences provided by this year’s Cortex-A57 based devices,' crowed Pete Hutton, executive vice president and president of ARM's products group, at the unveiling. 'For multiple generations, together with our partners, we have delivered the leading-edge of the premium mobile experience. Building on this, in 2016 the ARM ecosystem will deliver even slimmer, lighter, more immersive mobile devices that serve as your primary and only compute platform.'

The Cortex-A72 design, ARM claims, will run at speeds up to 2.5GHz in mobile devices and can scale to higher speeds for use in larger form-factor designs such as games consoles, set-top boxes and desktop replacement hardware. While firm figures have yet to be released, the company has stated that it can match the performance of high-end devices launched in 2014 while drawing a quarter of the power or increase performance 3.5 times for the same power envelope.

The Cortex-A72 is to be joined by the Mali-T880 graphics processor IP, designed to replace the company's current Mali-T760 and boasting a 1.8-fold increase in graphics performance and 40 percent reduction in power draw workload-for-workload. The design includes native support for Ultra HD and 4K content and 10-bit YUV colourspace, and will launch alongside the Mali-V550 video processor with support for 4K resolution video encode and decode at 120 frames per second in its full-fat eight-core implementation.

ARM has stated that it already has double-digits of licensees for the new designs, naming companies including HiSilicon, MediaTek and Rockchip. More details of the launches are available on the company's official website.
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