ARM Releases New Processors
October 30, 2012

ARM Pumps Up Its New 64-Bit Processors

Peter Suciu for — Your Universe Online

Mobile devices could soon look to do some heavy lifting as mobile processor maker ARM announced on Tuesday two chips it says will be utilized in a plethora of devices from mobile handsets to high-performance servers. The low-power processors will bring 64-bit computing power to handsets and tablet devices but could also challenge Intel´s dominance in the server space.

The new ARM Cortex-A50 processor series is based upon the ARMv8 architecture and it looks to extend ARM´s leadership in low power performance. The series will initially include the Cortex-A53 and Cortex-A57 processors and offers the benefit of new, energy-efficient 64-bit processing technology, as well as extending existing 32-bit processing.

The scalability of the processor series will further enable ARM partners to create system-on-chips (SoCs) that can address diverse markets.

This could be a smart move for ARM, as it could allow the company to improve smartphone and tablet speeds while reducing power consumption. The key behind this is ARM´s big.LITTLE technology, which has been compared to Nvidia´s 4+1 system, in that both technologies utilize a powerful processor that is linked to a low-power processor, with the more powerful of the two only coming online when necessary. The result is that when the A53 and A57 are linked, the system can be power efficient and can extend the battery life of handsets and tablets beyond what is now possible with the Cortex A9 solutions.

The A53 and A57 further enable smartphone and tablet devices to utilize 64-memory spaces, which could be crucial for those Windows RT devices to compete with true Window 8 devices running on Intel processors.

The Cortex-A57 is ARM´s most advanced high-performance applications processor, while the Cortex-A53 is the most power-efficient ARM application processor, as well as being the world´s smallest 64-bit processor. The two can operate independently or be combined in the aforementioned big.LITTLE processor configuration and both are supported by the ARM CoreLink 400 and the new CoreLink 500 series system IP fabric solutions.

But what does this mean exactly for those who will likely never see the chips, but rather just what they can do?

“Consumers expect a personalized mobile experience, integrating their daily lives, with seamless connectivity providing access to vast amounts of information,” said Simon Segars, executive vice president, processor and physical IP divisions, ARM. “The ARM ecosystem will continue its rate of unprecedented innovation to enable diverse platforms. This will deliver an era of transformational computing, from mobile through to the infrastructure and servers that support consumers´ connected, mobile lifestyles. This will create massive opportunities for market expansion and a revolution in user experiences.”

ARM´s partners are also looking to the advantages these new 64-bit processors can offer.

“ARM´s Cortex-A50 series processors combined with AMD´s unique low-power dense compute fabric, will bring new levels of choice and energy efficiency to the data center compute landscape and ignite a new 64-bit server ecosystem,” said Dr. Lisa Su, senior vice president and general manager, Global Business Units, AMD. “AMD believes our strategic partnership with ARM, in concert with our OEM and critical ecosystem partners, will together help usher in the next era of enterprise computing.”

The new processors from ARM will reportedly ship in 2014.