ARM promises Cortex-A50 chips with 3X performance increase by 2014

ARM promises Cortex-A50 chips with 3X performance increase by 2014
ARM announced today its upcoming Cortex-A50 series of chips, promising to triple the performance of today’s fastest mobile chips, while also offering dramatic improvements to battery life. They also announced a set of chips aimed squarely at the enterprise server market – the timing of AMD’s earlier announcement on producing ARM-based server chips was clearly not a coincidence. Not surprisingly ARM’s timeline matched AMD’s as well, as they expect to ship the first A50-based devices to ship in 2014.

ARM indicates that those performance increases will come from multi-threading improvements, a shift to 64-bit processing, and perhaps most importantly a die-shrink, as the A-50 series chips will be made with transistors that are a mere 20nm across. As with any die-shrink, that will lead to faster and more efficient circuitry. The backwards-compatible 64-bit processing is also interesting, as it allows chips to “seamlessly transition from a 32-bit to a 64-bit execution state”, so in the next few years phone and tablet chips will be ready for a shift to 64-bit computing (and concurrent increases in RAM size), paving the way for ever more complex mobile OSes.

ARM announced two chips as the lead products of the A50 series, the Cortex-A53 and the Cortex-A57. The A57 will be the high-end performance chip, and we can expect to see them in some of the most beastly mobile devices in 2014 (and probably server clusters as well). The A53 will be held to around the same computational power as todays Cortex-A9 processors, but they will be much smaller in size and use about 1/5th of the energy. The size-shrink might make them more useful for wearable computers (ala Google Glass) and other embedded devices, and more battery life is always welcome.

So the future looks bright for ARM-based chips in the coming couple of years. Intel is also charging hard with even more aggressive die-shrinks, so it will be interesting to see how the two chip juggernauts fair in the coming few years. One thing we can count on: the rapid pace of innovation will lead to ever more powerful mobile devices for the foreseeable future!

source: ARM via Engadget

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