ARM has announced two new CPU architectures for mobile chip design firms, which are expected to launch next year. This is the technology platform that will shape the performance of the most powerful Android flagships in 2021.
With the two designs Cortex-A78 and Cortex-X1, ARM adopts a new strategy compared to previous years which only announced one design for high performance, one for saving energy. The A78 core is aimed at balancing the performance per watt of power consumed, while the X1 drops all limits to pursue the highest performance.
Cortex-A78: optimal for gaming
According to the numbers that ARM shares, compared to its predecessor A77, the A78 has a much more impressive performance. With the same 1W consumption per core, A78 gives 20% higher performance than A77 thanks to an increase in clock frequency from 2.6GHz to 3.3GHz, as well as a production process that moves from 7nm FinFET to 5nm FinFET. The A78 is designed to handle heavy-duty tasks, while not increasing power consumption.
A78 is also designed to save energy despite constant performance. According to ARM, the A78 consumes 50% less power than the A77. The clock speed drops from 2.3GHz to 2.1GHz but the performance is unchanged. This will help the phone have better battery life in the context of 5G network consuming a lot of battery. Especially, if you only use the average and gentle task, do not play games or record videos, the machine will give a very long time to use without feeling slow.
Another benefit is the strength of the A78. Compared to A76 and A77, the A78 core can maintain performance at the highest level for a longer period of time, minimizing very uncomfortable throttle. The A78 size is also smaller than 5%, helping manufacturers optimize the space inside the smartphone.
Cortex-X1: Performance is number 1
This is the first product of the CXC program. The full name of this program is Cortex-X Custom, with the aim of achieving the highest level of performance possible for the product to target, thanks to ARM in close cooperation with the customer.
Chip designers such as Qualcomm and Samsung, after purchasing licenses, are present at the early stages of designing new microprocessor architectures, making custom configuration requirements at will, ARM will respond. according to. Qualcomm is said to be the first to take full advantage of this new license.
Cortex-X1 will have a leap 30% performance compared to the previous A77, corresponding to 23% stronger than the A78 above. This will be a huge step forward in the performance of the ARM Cortex series in the ability to handle raw tasks. With AI performance, processing power is said to also double.
The trade-off for superior performance is the large core size and more power consumption. CPU architecture will also have to change accordingly, it is difficult to exploit up to four cores X1 as usual. Instead, it looks like we’ll only have one X1 core with the other A78 cores.
Compared to the A76 quad-core architecture, this cluster design adds 15% more area to achieve single-threaded performance far beyond current chipsets. At the same time, the cache design also changes accordingly. L2 cache increased to 1MB and bandwidth doubled, L3 cache to 8MB.
Competing Apple A series
Follow Android AuthorityThis year’s ARM changes are relatively large, allowing Snapdragon to compete directly with Apple’s A series chipset. An 8-core chip with a single-core X1 architecture, three A78 average cores and four energy-efficient A55 cores, will balance the performance and battery of Android smartphones well.
However, the CXC program mentioned above poses a challenge: only those who are willing to pay more can access the highest performance level of ARM Cortex. The most reliable company is Qualcomm because it makes money selling SoCs to Android vendors. And Samsung and Huawei are still unclear, maybe they will just choose Cortex-A78 to save costs.