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ARM Cortex-A72 Successor Will Be Faster and Smaller

May 20, 2015 - Written By Ahmed Manzoor

A Senior Principal Design Engineer at ARM Holdings has unintentionally leaked some information on the successor of ARM Cortex A72. The successor of the Cortex A72 is codenamed Ares, and will be significantly faster than its predecessor. The A72 Cortex processor was optimized for the 16nm FinFET process technology, which implies that Ares would feature smaller process technology. According to the sources, Ares would be featured with a 10nm smaller core that will be significantly smaller than the current 16nm Cortex A72. According to the Principal Engineer, at ARM Holdings, he will be improving the performance of Ares by increasing the speed of FPU Datapath. FPU stands for Floating Point Unit in a CPU that performs Arithmetic functions on floating numbers. It is basically used in Graphics processing done by the digital signal processing techniques. According to the sources, the successor of A72 Cortex would only draw 1-1.2W of power. It would be a great processor for tablets, premium mobile phones, and other high-end electronic devices.

The Cortex-A72 processor is ARM’s highest-performance and most advanced processor. Based on the ARMv8-A Architecture and launched in early 2015, the Cortex-A72 CPU builds on the wide success of the Cortex-A57 processor across mobile and enterprise markets, and delivers three and a half times the performance of Cortex-A15 based devices in the smartphone power budget, as well as significant reductions in overall power consumption. The improved performance and power-efficiency of the Cortex-A72 processor will redefine the rich connected and context-aware experiences delivered to consumers by premium devices in 2016, scaling from premium smartphones to large and mid-size tablets, clamshell, and convertible form factors. Future enterprise networking and server SoCs will take advantage of the increased performance of Cortex-A72, and leverage its efficiency to increase core count within the power budget to deliver higher throughput.

Ares would take a good amount of time to get in the final stages, if by any chance ARM Holdings succeeds in finalizing the design of Ares by the end of the year, we will still have to wait for another year to see Ares actually powering up a premium smartphone. The wait is because once the design is developed, System-on-Chips manufacturers like Qualcomm, MediaTek, and LeadCore test the newly developed processors incorporated in their SoCs. If the SoCs providers are satisfied with the performance then ARM mass produces the Cortex processor. After that, the processors are shipped to SoCs provider, then comes in the smartphone vendors like HTC, Sony, LG, and Xiaomi, which test the chipsets of different SoC’s provider. When the deal between a SoCs provider and a smartphone vendor is signed, then the chipsets comprising of the Cortex CPU are manufactured. After all this process, the consumer gets the taste of a processor that was developed years back.