ARM has unveiled at Computex a set of new processors - the new Cortex-A75 and Cortex-A55 processors, alongside the new Mali-G72 graphics processor - to provide the power for mobile devices to cope with advanced artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) technologies.
The ARM Cortex-A75 is the new flagship-tier mobile processor design, with a claimed 22 percent improvement in performance over the incumbent A73. It is joined by the new Cortex-A55, which has the highest power efficiency of any mid-range CPU ARM's ever designed, and the Mali-G72 graphics processor, which also comes with a 25 percent improvement in efficiency relative to its predecessor G71.
The new chips have been designed to tackle the challenges of onboard AI and machine learning.
They are the first Dynamiq CPUs from ARM. Dynamiq describes a flexible set of design options for silicon vendors like Qualcomm. Where previously ARM allowed for designs that paired a cluster of so-called big CPUs and a matched number of little CPUs, the new design makes it possible to spec a single, mixed-up cluster composed of both big and little CPUs, to a maximum of eight. Thus, chip makers have the flexibility to offer chips focused offering a mix of long battery life, cost efficiency, and a high ceiling of single-threaded performance.
ARM's Dynamiq changes include a redesigned memory subsystem and tweaks to how CPU caches work. This is doubling of memory streaming performance on the A55 relative to the A53 preceding it. In most applications, the new mid-range core will be 10 to 30 percent better than previously, offering up to 15 percent better power efficiency and 18 percent better single-thread performance. But as we previously said, the new chip designs will be 10 times more configurable.
In addition, the new designs benefit from an improved branch predictor that uses neural network algorithms to improve data prefetching and overall performance.
The Cortex-A75 makes double-figure performance improvements across the board, with ARM claiming it's on average 22 percent better than the A73, with 16 percent higher memory throughput, and a 34 percent improvement in its Geekbench score. Single-threaded performance, according to ARM, is up by 20 percent, purely by improving the instructions-per-clock efficiency. The A75 chip is roughly 2.5x the size of the A55, and its intended uses are for infrastructure, automotive, and rich mobile applications.
The new Mali GPU has 32 shader cores, 25 percent higher energy efficiency, and a 20 percent better performance density. ARM claims the new chip is showing itself to be 17 percent better than the G71 in ML benchmarks. The design optimizations from the company are tailored to accelerate inference engines rather than training engines.
The Cortex-A75 and A55 designs were released to ARM's partners at the end of 2016. ARM says a "realistic time window" for new mobile devices powered by its latest designs would be the first quarter of 2018.