ARM has developed a new generation of mobile chips that will empower smartphones and tablets of tomorrow with machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities, along with claimed significant increases in power efficiency and performance. The company's new Cortex-A75 CPU core for premium, high performance device requirements and Cortex-A55 processors for mobile power-efficient workload processing will also both be the first to feature ARM's DynamIQ technology, which gives design partners like Qualcomm more flexibility in how they pair CPU clusters.
Prior to ARM's DynamIQ design, Qualcomm and others could employ big.LITTLE designs that paired a cluster of high-performing CPUs with the same number of efficiency cores. For example, Qualcomm's flagship Snapdragon 835 SoC consists of four high performance "big" cores that can be clocked up to 2.45GHz with 2MB of L2 cache, and four lower power "little" cores that can be clocked up to 1.9GHz with 1MB of cache.
With DynamIQ, ARM's licensing partners do not have to stick to a balanced design like they do now. There can be up to eight CPU cores, but instead of mainly using a 4+4 configuration as is common now, an SoC can consist of a single big CPU core with seven little CPU cores (or any other combination adding up to eight). Such a design would allow for excellent single-threaded performance with longer battery life and a lower cost.
"The flexibility of DynamIQ big.LITTLE is at the heart of the system-level approach distributed intelligence requires. The combination of flexible CPU clusters, GPU compute technology, dedicated accelerators, and the new ARM Compute Library work together to efficiently enhance and scale AI performance. The free, open-source ARM Compute Library is a collection of low-level software functions optimized for Cortex CPU and Mali GPU architectures," ARM explains.
Beyond the flexibility in cluster design, ARM claims its Cortex-A75 CPU is up to 50 percent faster than its Cortex-A73 (multi-threaded and SIMD performance), offering 16 percent higher memory bandwidth and 20 percent better single-threaded performance. While nothing is yet confirmed, it has been rumored that Qualcomm's unreleased Snapdragon 845 will employ Cortex-A75 cores.
Stepping down a peg, the Cortex-A55 boasts a 2.5x improvement in energy efficiency compared to its predecessor (Cortex-A53), along with twice the memory performance and 10X the scalability.
"SoCs based on Cortex-A53 came to market in 2013 and since then ARM partners have shipped a staggering 1.5 billion units, and that volume is continuing to grow rapidly. That’s an extremely high bar for any follow-on product to surpass. Yet, the Cortex-A55 is not your typical follow-on product. With dedicated AI instructions and up to 2.5x the performance-per-milliwatt efficiency relative to today's Cortex-A53 based devices, the Cortex-A55 is the world’s most versatile high-efficiency processor," ARM added.
Finally, ARM's new Mali-G72 GPU builds on the success of its predecessor, the Mali-G71, with a 1.4x percent performance lift in-device and a 25 percent gain in energy efficiency. ARM's new second generation Bitfrost GPU core also includes a bunch of optimizations for machine learning workloads and has the horsepower to push mobile VR solutions and HDR mobile gaming for more immersive experiences.
ARM's partners have been working with the new DynamIQ designs since the end of last year. Products based on ARM's Cortex-A75, Cortex-A55, and Mali-T72 components will likely hit retail in the first quarter of 2018.