Arm has published its client CPU cores roadmap (opens in new tab) and disclosed its plans for the next couple of years.
The company highlighted two of its next-generation general-purpose cores for client systems and pledged a 30% performance uplift over the next couple of years. Arm also said that starting from 2022 all of its Cortex-A ‘big’ cores will only support 64-bit mode and will not be able to run legacy 32-bit applications.
Arm’s Cortex-A-series ‘big’ processor cores have come a long way in terms of performance and capabilities since the smartphone boom began in the late 2000s. In the last four years alone, Arm’s Cortex-A ‘big’ cores improved their peak integer compute performance by nearly 2.5 times (based on the SPECint_base2006 benchmark), according to the company. Such significant performance increases are not common in the x86 world these days.
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Arm is not standing still and says that its upcoming codenamed Matterhorn and Makalu will provide a performance uplift of up to 30% from the current Cortex-A78 (5nm/3GHz) to the future Makalu generation in 2022.
Modern smartphones can of course take advantage of every bit of performance available today, but contemporary Arm-based smartphone SoCs tend to have a substantial number of special-purpose accelerators (which sometimes come from Arm itself) to save power.
As a result, while pure compute horsepower is important for handsets, the performance uplift over the newest-generation Cortex-X1/Cortex-A78 cores will be truly appreciated by various SoCs designed for applications like notebooks and hybrid laptops, such as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx.
The significant performance increases on a yearly cadence by Arm might be a threat to mobile SoCs from AMD and Intel in certain market segments now that Microsoft’s Windows 10 fully supports emulation of x86 and x86-64 (x64) on Arm systems.
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