ARMv9 in detail, up to 30% more performance for 2022 flagships

ARMv9 in detail, up to 30% more performance for 2022 flagships

ARMv9 in detail

We told you about the first new real architecture presented by the English company after more than 10 years in March of this year and it is finally time to know in detail what will be ARMv9, the basis on which the SoCs for the top devices will most likely be made range of 2022.

ARM, currently being acquired by Nvidia, is a company that creates hardware architectures that can then be used by third-party manufacturers for the construction of SoCs, CPUs and GPUs of various kind. Apple M1 is a good example of chip based on ARM architecture but so are Qualcomm products such as Snapdragon 888 and Snapdragon 778G or Samsung Exynos and Huawei Kirin SoCs.

The Cambridge company has announced the new hardware architecture that will replace ARMv8 last March, now ARMv9 has been told in detail and there are many new features that we must take into account in anticipation of future smartphones arriving in 2022. It is very likely, in fact, that ARMv9 will become the starting point for future top-of-the-range chips for next year.

Making up ARMv9 we find the brand new Cortex-X2, successor to the ultra-high performance Cortex-X1 core included in the latest chip of the Snapdragon 8xx series that we have now come to know. Corex-X2 gains an additional 30% performance increase over the previous generation of Android smartphones. ARM promises 40% better performance in single-threaded workloads than mainstream laptop chips of 2020, although it does not specify which processor this comparison was made with.

This ultra-high performance computing unit is flanked by three “big” cores called ARM Cortex-A710, which in turn promise 30% higher performance than the Cortex-A78 that preceded them. Both Cortex-X2 and Cortex-A710 are able to guarantee twice as high performance in machine learning activities. Finally, the highly efficient cores are now called the Cortex-A510 and achieve a 35% increase in performance, with a 20% improvement in efficiency and a 3x boost in machine learning performance.

The new cores aren't the only change announced for ARMv9 CPUs though. Starting in 2023, ARM has announced that all core architectures built will be 64-bit. It doesn't matter if it's big cores, LITTLE or Cortex-X and not even the price range of the CPU, everyone will say goodbye to 32-bit.

ARM has also unveiled four new GPUs from the Mali family. Mali-G710 will be the top of the range and has been designed with high-end smartphones and Chromebooks in mind, promising a 20% increase in performance and a 35% increase in machine learning-based tasks such as image enhancement. The Mali-G610 is set to offer the same features as the Mali-G710 but at a slightly lower price.

Mali-G510, the mid-range GPU, promises a 100% performance improvement over the previous generation with 22% improved efficiency and 100% more performance in the ML. Finally, the Mali-G310, the entry level, offers a 6x performance improvement in texturing procedures, 4.5x Vulkan performance improvement and 2x Android UI content improvement.

The CoreLink NI-700 and CI-700 combine the new generation CPU and GPU. ARM claims these components have support for new ARMv9-A features such as memory tagging extension, improved security, and improved bandwidth and latency.

New CPU and GPU architectures are sure to see the light in next year's products, just like the Cortex-X1 core was used in the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chip that moves the products to the top of the category in 2021.

More information about CPU and GPU in the dedicated pages on the ARM website .

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ARM's first v9 CPUs are built for computers, not just phones

a person sitting on a stage

Now that ARM has unveiled its first new chip architecture in a decade, it's ready to show the CPU designs that will take advantage of those improvements. The company has unveiled a host of new Cortex CPUs (and companion Mali GPUs) that it hopes will power laptops, other computers and wearables in addition to the next wave of smartphones.

The flagship is the ARM Cortex-X2, a CPU core meant to scale from 'premium' smartphones to laptops. It reportedly offers a 30 percent performance boost over current high-end Android phones, although ARM didn't provide more details.

You'll also see gains for more mainstream uses. The Cortex-A710 is the first ARMv9 'big' core (meant for big.LITTLE chips) and is about 10 percent faster than the Cortex-A78 while delivering 30 percent greater efficiency. Cortex-A510, meanwhile, is the first new 'LITTLE' high-efficiency core in four years and should offer 35 percent better overall performance and triple the speed for machine learning. ARM claims the A510 is nearly as fast as high-performance chips from a few years ago, making it a viable option for watches and smart home tech in addition to lower-end phones.

ARM is finally dragging the rest of the industry into the 64-bit era, too. It's promising that all 'big' and 'LITTLE' cores will be 64-bit by 2023, and its partners are helping put an end to 32-bit apps before 2021 is over. There's a good chance you've been using 64-bit phones and apps for a while, but this should push stragglers to catch up.

Like the Cortex CPUs, the Mali GPUs are aimed at more than just phones. The flagship Mali-G710 is about 20 percent faster for intensive tasks (35 percent for machine learning) and is aimed at Chromebooks in addition to high-end phones. The Mali-G610 offers similar features at a lower price, while the Mali-G510 gives mid-range phones and smart TVs a 100 percent speed boost (including for machine learning) and 22 percent efficiency gains. At the low end, the Mali-G310 brings ARM's Valhall architecture to basic GPUs for the first time, boosting performance for everything from starter smartphones to wearable devices.

a person sitting on a stage: ARM Total Compute Solutions © ARM ARM Total Compute Solutions

New CoreLink CI-700 and CoreLnk NI-700 interconnects tie together the CPU, GPU and network processing with support for ARMv9 features as well as higher bandwidth and lower latency.

As usual, it will be a while before you see shipping products using ARM's new technology. Chip makers will have to build their own products around these designs, and it'll take a while after that before phones, PCs and other devices use the new processing power. It's already clear what ARM expects, though — it's anticipating a future where its architecture is more pervasive across the computing landscape, with phones just one part of a much larger strategy.

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