Along with its 5th Gen mobile GPUs, ARM has also introduced its upgraded CPU cores. The company unveiled Cortex-X4, Cortex-A720, and Cortex-A520 v9 CPUs. It also launched a new DynamIQ Shared Unit, the DSU-120. These solutions will make it into the next-gen smartphone processors later this year.
ARM is going 64-bit-only with its latest CPUs
The latest CPU cores from ARM only support 64-bit computing. The company has ditched 32-bit support this year. This has been coming ever since Google mandated Android developers to update their apps with 64-bit binaries in 2019. The Android maker further set the tone for this impending transition last year by launching the Pixel 7 series as the world’s first 64-bit-only phone. ARM has now ensured that the next-gen smartphones will do away with 32-bit computing.
That’s not the only notable change, though. We are in for a major performance boost as well. The Cortex-X4 arrives as the most powerful ARM CPU yet, while simultaneously bringing some power gains as well. The “X” series CPUs are usually power-hungry due to their extremely high peak frequency. Hence chip makers only use one or two of these cores in their solutions, with “A” series CPUs making up the majority of those chips.
The Cortex-X4 offers a 15 percent performance improvement over last year’s Cortex-X3. It is also 40 percent more power efficient. For a similar performance as last year’s CPU, the Cortex-X4’s power consumption will be much lower. An L2 cache size of 2MB also helps improve real-world performance. The new solution is marginally larger, though. ARM says it’s less than ten percent larger in physical size than its predecessor.
Elsewhere, the ARM Cortex-X4 adds two more Arithmetic Logic Units (ALUs) for a total of eight. It also features an additional branch unit (three in total), an extra Multiply-Accumulatator unit, and “pipelines floating point and square root operations”. There are many other changes in the back end to bring these performance and power gains. Of course, running the new CPU at its peak speed would draw more power. OEMs will probably throttle the chip for improved power efficiency.
Cortex-A720 and Cortex-A520 bring notable improvements too
The Cortex-A720 is ARM’s latest mid-core that brings a balance of power and performance. The company touts a 20 percent reduction in power consumption at the same performance level as last year’s Cortex-A715. This CPU core is optimized for improved system-level power efficiency, ensuring longer battery life.
The Cortex-A520, on the other hand, is all about efficiency. The low-performance CPU core brings a 22 percent power improvement over the Cortex-A510. It’s built on the same merged-core microarchitecture but still boasts the lowest power per area ARM v9.2 core. It significantly reduces computing power for low-intensity tasks, enabling longer battery life in consumer devices.
Finally, ARM has a new DSU (DynamIQ Shared Unit) that supports up to 14 cores per cluster (up from 12) and 32MB of L3 cache (via XDA). The company has focused on efficiency here as well. Since the DSU facilitates how ARM’s CPU cores interact with each other and share data, these improvements will benefit the entire chipset. All of these latest ARM CPUs should be found in the next-gen smartphone chipsets such as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3.