We know what sort of processing power we can expect on many of the next range of mobile handsets, as ARM has announced its latest high-end mobile designs, the Cortex-A78 CPU and the Mali-G78 GPU. ARM might not usually be advertised on the spec sheets of your new smartphone or tablet, but it’s a critical company. It provides the designs that chipmakers like Qualcomm, Huawei, and Samsung use to create the system-on-a-chip designs that power nearly every mobile phone and tablet — and increasingly, laptops like the Surface Pro X.
According to ARM (via The Verge), the Cortex-A78 CPU core design is “unquestionably our most efficient Cortex-A CPU ever designed for mobile,” with a 20 percent increase in “sustained performance” compared to last year’s Cortex-A77 design, while staying within a 1-watt power budget. ARM says that the performance should enable better efficiency for demanding 5G battery drains. It also says that the new CPU design should be particularly suited to computationally hungry foldable devices with multiple and larger screens, speaking to its use for Microsoft’s dual screens devices too.
ARM is also introducing a new Cortex-X custom program for its partners to create their own specialized Cortex CPU in conjunction with ARM for their specific purposes beyond the stock Cortex-A78. The first of those chips is the ARM Cortex-X1, which ARM says will offer up to a 30 percent peak performance improved over the Cortex-A77.
The company has also developed new mobile GPUs. The more superior of the two, the Mali-G78, supports up to 24 cores, which ARM promises will allow it to offer a 25 percent increase in graphics performance compared to last year’s Mali-G77. There’s also their first GPU that falls in a new midrange tier, the Mali-G68, which is meant to help deliver some of the performance and improvements of the Mali-G78 in a more affordable package.
And finally, ARM is also introducing a new Ethos-N78 neural processing unit (NPU), which similarly should offer up a 25 percent performance improvement over the Ethos-N77 translating to better machine learning performance for mobile devices and perhaps a sign of where the market is headed with AI and machine learning on mobile devices.
This will probably sound like mostly gibberish to many of you, but essentially what it means is that processors are going to keep getting faster and being designed to handle the different graphical demands from mobile devices these days, while still being sensitive to battery usage. It probably won’t run Crysis but should be more than comfortable at multi-tasking all of your different mobile apps while you get your Candy Crush and Clash of clans fix in on the side.
We will probably only see devices making use of these new chipsets coming out next year. And considering many devices aren’t even on last years chipsets, when these do get into people hands people should notice a significant difference.
Last Updated: May 28, 2020