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ARM processors geared for mid-range mobile devices

Posted: 05 Jun 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:CPU? GPU? smartphone? tablets?

UK-based processor IP licensor ARM debuted its main and graphics processor pairing plus a video rendering core at the annual Computex event in Taipei. The Cortex-A12 processor core and the Mali-T622 GPU address the mid-range performance ground between its Cortex-A9 and A15 levels of performance and provide such features as virtualisation, big-little processing and GPU-compute aimed at price points for mid-range mobile devices, ARM said.

The 32bit Cortex-A12 processor provides a 40 per cent improvement in performance over the A9 on an instructions per clock basis compared to the A15's 60 per cent margin, according to Stefan Rosinger, a CPU product manager at ARM. Typical clock frequencies achievable in the 28-nm processes are of the order of 2.3GHz, he said.

Rosinger said he expects the A12 to be paired with the Mali T622 graphics processor unit, a step down from ARM's top of the range Mali T628 GPU in performance but also in die area. ARM claims that the A12-T622 combination is the "most area- and cost-efficient solution." ARM is also introducing the Mali-V500 video processing core. The Mali-V500 is a multi-core video solution, scaling from a single core capable of 1080p/60 frames per second encode and decode to multiple cores supporting 4K video at 120 frames per second.

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Figure 1: Where ARM's mid-range processor IP suit fits in the projected market for smart mobile device shipments (smartphones and tablet computers). Click on image for larger view.

The CPU-GPU processors have been designed with the 28nm node in mind and have support from Globalfoundries for its 28-SLP process and from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. for its 28HPM process.


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