The next generation of ARM mobile processor cores, the Cortex-A76, can push beyond a clock of 3GHz, according to a new announcement from Samsung. That would be enabled by an ongoing partnership between the companies utilizing Samsung Foundry’s 7nm Low Power Plus (7LPP) and 5nm Low Power Early (LPE). The first of those is expected to enter initial production by the end of 2018. However, the finalization of the company’s extreme ultraviolet lithography process technology isn’t expected to be ready until early 2019. That timeline would seem to suggest that ARM’s new processor platform built on the solutions – the Arm Artisan physical IP platform – won’t be completely ready until at least 2019. With that said, if Samsung and ARM are able to achieve specs at above 3GHz in a mobile processor core, that would be a relatively big step forward for mobile.
New progress in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning on-chip are a big part of that according to Samsung’s vice president of Foundry Marketing Team, Ryan Sanghyun Lee. A.I. has taken a central role in how many Android device manufacturers are seeking to differentiate themselves from the competition. Coupled with machine learning, it’s being used to take better photographs, extend battery life, and optimize performance. The boosted clock would also introduce new heights in mobile computing without the use of any A.I. at all. In fact, an octa-core 3GHz mobile SoC might begin to approach the power of modern laptops and desktops. Mobile graphics will not be quite at that level yet, of course, but leaps forward on that front may not follow too far behind.
At any rate, the progress builds on earlier collaborations between ARM and Samsung Foundry which resulted in other components to ARM’s Artisan physical IP platform, such as HD logic architecture and new memory compilers. That also includes 1.8V and 3.3V general-purpose input/output (GPIO) libraries and a few hardware-based features. For example, ARM’s POP IP allows core-hardening that should reduce the amount of time it takes to bring end products to market. In fact, combined with the newly shown performance of the new platform, SoCs built on that should be usable in everything from mobile devices to “hyperscale datacenters,” according to ARM.