ARM announces new ARM Cortex-A72 processor

More performance, less energy

ARM is announcing its next generation ARM Cortex-A72 processor based on the 64-bit ARM v8-A design. ARM claims that the new chip delivers as much as 50 times the performance gain compared to processors from just five years ago, or 3.5 times the performance gain of the ARM Cortex-A15 processor.

The new ARM Cortex-A72 is also 75 percent more energy efficient and is slated to launch late 2015 or early 2016.

Nandan Nayampally, ARM's VP of marketing in the CPU Group, says that the A72 chip design has been released to licensees, so that it will be up to the licensees when they will manufacture the chips for use in mobile devices. Ten licensees have committed to creating chips based on the Cortex-A72 architecture, including HiSilicon, MediaTek, and Rockchip.

Though ARM executives are designing the new ARM Cortex-A72 for mobile phones, the performance improvements, thinness of design, and battery efficiency will make the chip suitable for use in other form factors as well, including tablets and laptops.

Performance

The ARM Cortex-A72 utilizes a TSMC's 16nm FinFET processor and is scalable to higher frequencies for a variety of different form factor designs.

The chip boasts a new CoreLink CCI-500 interconnect that delivers up to a 30% increase in processor memory performance compared to the older CoreLink CCI-400. As a result, users will get a more responsive UI, better multitasking performance, and an improved video experience.

The Mali T880 graphics processor on the Cortex-A72 delivers 80% better performance compared to the older Mali T760 GPU while being 40% more energy efficient. ARM is claiming that the combination of the Cortex-A72 with the Mali T880 delivers a console-class gaming experience on mobile.

With the ARM Cortex-A72, ARM executives are saying that your mobile phone could "become the only compute device you carry," as it is suitable for content production and creation.

ARM CMO and EVP of marketing Ian Drew says that the Cortex-A72 will be capable of "creating new content that businesses will use."

As an example, Drew points out that mobile phones powered by ARM architecture will not only be able to capture images, but can also process those images and send the renderings wirelessly to a 3D printer.

Additionally, the A72 could be used as part of ARM's premium mobile suite for even greater battery gains by pairing with a Cortex A53 processor in the big.LITTLE architecture design. With the big.LITTLE design, the processor will gain an additional 40-60% reduction in energy consumption on top of the 75% energy efficiency that the A72 already delivers compared to the last generation of mobile processors.

Applications

ARM is targeting a variety of different uses for its chip. As the mobile phone increasingly becomes the sole computing devices that many consumers rely on, phones utilizing the Cortex-A72 chipset will be used for 4K video capture, console-class gaming, fluid handling of productivity suites, and natural language processing natively on a phone.