While many high-end smartphones and tablets may soon be getting ARM Cortex-A15 MPCORE processors, ARM Holdings Plc (LON:ARM) just announced a mid-range target solution, the Cortex-A12.
The new CPU core design is meant to deliver a 40 percent performance bump over Cortex-A9 (released in 2008) designs. It also includes an improved GPU, the Mali-T622, which packs support for the Mali-V500 video engine and OpenGL ES 3.0 standard.
Devices with Cortex-A12 cores are expected to ship by mid-2014.
ARM’s chief marketing officer Ian Drew comments:
Mobile users expect a range of devices at different price points and for a mid-range mobile experience to include some high end mobile features. With a billion smartphones predicted to ship in 2013 and tablets projected to out-ship notebook PCs, device-makers can now provide quality, high-performance mobile products with the features that matter the most, at a range of price points. The market is evolving at an amazing rate and there is now a choice of solutions for semiconductor companies and for mobile device-makers. Our suite of optimized IP expands the choice for the mid-range mobile market.
Targeting the 28-nm node (versus a 40 nm target for Cortex-A9), a Cortex-A12 die is expected to be 30 percent smaller than a Cortex-A9. The new design, which supports four cores in its default configuration, will include ARM’s big.LITTLE power-saving technology and new virtualization features.
ARM is currently in a dogfight with Intel Corp. (INTC), the world’s largest personal computer and server chipmaker. Sensing a shift towards mobile — a space currently ruled by ARM — Intel is stepping up efforts for its Atom processor to compete with ARM chips in power and price, driven by industry-leading process technologies. ARM, however, is fighting back looking to leverage advantages of its mobile-centric architecture to keep its x86 rival at bay.
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