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ARM expands core line-up for smartphones, IoT

Posted: 12 Nov 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ARM? smartphone? IoT? processor? MCU?

ARM has recently announced its latest cores for smartphones and the Internet of Things (IoT). The Cortex A-35 brings 64bit capabilities to entry-level handsets while the ARMv8 Cortex-M architecture enables hardware-based security on the smallest 32bit MCUs with minimal impact, even on real-time operations, the company indicated.

The A-35 is a low-end 64bit core, targeting an entry-level smartphone segment ARM expects to grow eight per cent a year to reach one billion devices by 2020. ARM believes the power efficiency of the core also will attract use in a wide range of embedded systems including STBs for online video.

The smallest A-35 configuration with an 8K L1 and no L2 cache would fit into a 0.4mm2 die in a 28nm process and consume less than 90mW when running at 1GHz and just 6mW at 100MHz. Designers can pack up to four cores in a CPU cluster with L1 and L2 caches as big as 32K and 1MB, respectively.


The A-35 uses an in-order, eight-stage pipeline with limited dual-issue ability.

The core uses an eight-stage pipeline with limited dual-issue capability, advance branch prediction techniques as well as new low power modes and improvements in memory performance. "We ended up rethinking the whole pipeline to be able to achieve improvements in efficiency," said Kinjal Dave, a product manager in ARM's CPU group.

In a 28nm process an A-35 is generally 25 per cent higher in performance, 32 per cent lower power and 25 per cent more efficient than a Cortex A-53, ARM's midrange 64bit core. When running 32bit software at 1.2GHz, the 64bit A-35 core sports 16 per cent more performance and 10 per cent less power consumption than the 32bit A-7 core. The A-35's Neon floating point unit delivers twice the single-precision and five times the double-precision performance of the A-7.

Several companies have licensed ARM's A-35 core. The company expects system level products using such chips will debut by the end of 2016.


ARM estimates of A-35 performance compared to the existing A-7 core.

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