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ARM Unveils Next-Gen Processor, Claims 5x Speedup 283

Posted by timothy
from the and-hammer dept.
unts writes "UK chip designer ARM [Note: check out this short history of ARM chips in mobile devices contributed by an anonymous reader] today released the first details of its latest project, codenamed 'Eagle.' It has branded the new design Cortex-A15, which ARM reckons demonstrates the jump in performance from its predecessors, the A8 and A9. ARM's new chip design can scale to 16 cores, clock up to 2.5GHz, and, the company claims, deliver a 5x performance increase over the A8: 'It's like taking a desktop and putting it in your pocket,' said [VP of processor marketing — Eric Schorn], and it was clear that he considers this new design to be a pretty major shot across the bows of Intel and AMD. In case we were in any doubt, he turned the knife further: 'The exciting place for software developer graduates to go and hunt for work is no longer the desktop.'"
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ARM Unveils Next-Gen Processor, Claims 5x Speedup

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  • Docks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@NospAm.hotmail.com> on Friday September 10, 2010 @05:01AM (#33531764) Journal
    It would be a great time to develop a standards-based dock/charger platform so we could drop our phones/tablets into an adaptor and have them display on a large monitor and accept standard USB peripherals.

    That would really shake up the Wintel alliance.

  • by PCM2 (4486) on Friday September 10, 2010 @05:04AM (#33531778) Homepage

    How much more mainstream can it get? ARM is everywhere. It's in your iPhone -- probably every single phone out there, actually -- in tablets, in NAS boxes, in DVD players... countless applications. If you mean it should compete with Intel CPUs for PC processors, on the other hand, one impediment may be that ARM is (at least at present) a 32-bit architecture.

  • by Nursie (632944) on Friday September 10, 2010 @05:07AM (#33531794)

    I thought most of the interesting stuff took place on the server?

    Well either way, I wish them luck. Having competition and diversity in the processor market is a very good thing and forces everyone to step up to the mark, benefiting everyone.

    And if they've managed to keep the power envelope down then even better.

  • by Tapewolf (1639955) on Friday September 10, 2010 @05:07AM (#33531796)
    32-bit addressing was seriously impressive in 1987, compared to Acorn's then-current machine with 32KB, including video memory. But now even smartphones are starting to come with 512MB, 1GB of memory. Does ARM have a strategy for getting past 4GB?
  • by forkazoo (138186) <wrosecrans&gmail,com> on Friday September 10, 2010 @05:22AM (#33531860) Homepage

    32-bit addressing was seriously impressive in 1987, compared to Acorn's then-current machine with 32KB, including video memory. But now even smartphones are starting to come with 512MB, 1GB of memory. Does ARM have a strategy for getting past 4GB?

    From what I understand, the A15 will support 40 bit physical addressing. So far, I'm not certain if that's segmented, or sane. I heard a claim that in a multicore setup, different cores might be configured with distinct memory controllers so that the various cores need not address strictly the same 40b worth of memory, enabling some sort of NUMA setup. Dunno if that will ever happen in practice. 1 TB RAM is likely to be sufficient for the commercially relevant life of the CPU.

  • Re:Docks (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bgarcia (33222) on Friday September 10, 2010 @05:39AM (#33531914) Homepage Journal

    It would be a great time to develop a standards-based dock/charger platform so we could drop our phones/tablets into an adaptor and have them display on a large monitor and accept standard USB peripherals.

    Not USB. I want a BlueTooth keyboard & mouse.

    I'll accept an HDMI monitor connection for now (some phones have HDMI already), but eventually that should be wireless as well.

    When that happens, I'll have no need for a laptop.

  • by dbIII (701233) on Friday September 10, 2010 @05:54AM (#33531968)
    If it has 16 cores and doesn't use a lot of power it will be on the server or at least in RAID cards.
  • by Old Flatulent 1 (1692076) on Friday September 10, 2010 @06:03AM (#33532016)
    Right now my Samsung 5000 series LED tv runs an arm with busybox linux as the firmware. It is only a matter of time before TVs become fully internet capable and use usb 3 for storage. I also have seen demos of touch screen remotes that have qwerty capability for your TV. So the only thing missing is a simple cursor system and presto you have it all. Seeing that arm processors are becoming this powerful the market for all in one home entertainment devices is there. If Microsoft does not see this coming and continues to have mediocre support for arm based devices then embedded Linux will continue to dominate the living room. Three of my home entertainment devices are already based on the Linux kernel!
  • by udippel (562132) on Friday September 10, 2010 @06:11AM (#33532048)

    'The exciting place for software developer graduates to go and hunt for work is no longer the desktop.'

    Why, actually, why??
    I am really really looking forward to a desktop with low power footprint. There is no need here to run MS-crapware; no Crysis or other high-resource gaming.
    Gimme a nice desktop, low-low power, that boots to Debian on ARM, and I throw mine out of the window. And I already have a 80+ PSU, single row of RAM, dual-core EE AMD. It still has a 45W TDP; plus AMD does not sell the Energy Efficient (EE) any longer except to OEMs; at least in this country.
    Throw out the 24-pin plus 12 V power supply, let's do everything on 12 V, give it 6 USBs, Sata, HDMI/DVI, Ethernet and WiFi. A mini ARM.
    And, yes, I want to be able to add a hard disk of my own, maybe a DVD- or BlueRay-Drive, so add some space.

  • by node 3 (115640) on Friday September 10, 2010 @06:13AM (#33532054)

    How much more mainstream can it get?

    I think he means in terms of being something consumers are aware of, like they are with Intel and AMD. Yeah, I think the contrast is being exaggerated more than a little bit here, as a lot of people don't really know about Intel or AMD, and vice versa it's not like nobody knows about ARM, but there definitely is a difference in mindshare here.

    If you mean it should compete with Intel CPUs for PC processors, on the other hand, one impediment may be that ARM is (at least at present) a 32-bit architecture.

    I can't speak for AC, but I think ARM netbooks would do the trick. Unfortunately, the longevity of the netbook market isn't exactly clear, and ARM netbooks implies Linux, which is even more uncertain a consumer market than Windows netbooks is.

    But yeah, phones and tablets, ARM is where it's at for now.

  • by gbjbaanb (229885) on Friday September 10, 2010 @07:12AM (#33532280)

    I'm thinking of the marketplace these would be targetted at.

    Sure, hard-core gamerz will not want one if it doesn't run the absolute latest super-graphics games that require 2 PSUs and 4 Gfx cards for their neon-light equipped gaming rigz. but, ignoring them....

    My account manager always has his (old) smartphone glued to his ear when i see him. And he uses his PC for email and the odd word document. That's easily replaced with a smartphone, one that could connect to a big monitor and keyboard while still being portable would be perfect for him - and the rest of the sales and managerial types out there. That's a good 50% of all PC sales I think.

    The rest of home users want something that lets them do 'netbook' style stuff - web, email, text, social networks, youtube. Well, that's covered and I think PC sales are dropping for home users already.

    Business users - again, most of them do email, web and some odd LoB apps. The latter are a problem, unless they become web-apps, which is where the smart money is going nowadays (although that tends to be for easy deployment and management of the apps), once entirely webapps, there's not reason most people need a PC at all.

    I think the future is for mobile devices, not PCs. The dinosaur that is Microsoft is dead, its just that the signals havn't reached its brain yet. Just like IBM many years ago, and others since.

  • by gmarsh (839707) on Friday September 10, 2010 @07:25AM (#33532326)

    Marvell OpenRD-client:

    http://www.globalscaletechnologies.com/t-openrdcdetails.aspx [globalscal...logies.com]

    Has an ARM9 at 1.2GHz, half a gig of RAM, sound, VGA video, lots of USB, SD card reader, 2 GbE ports, eSATA and a spot for a 2.5" hard drive in it. Mine draws 10W from the wall. And it happily runs Debian.

    My only beef is the video (XGI Z11) has absolutely horrible driver support, so don't expect the thing to play Blu-ray.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, 2010 @07:29AM (#33532348)

    I'm currently working with several concurrency development groups within the SUNY system; we are partnered with Oracle, Google, and IBM as well as a few others. Upon mention of ARM not a single co-worker has been able to resist going into rant mode about the lack of reasonably quick CAS and LL/SC implementations. Further, barriers and fences apparently take so long to establish that to fake a CAS you are looking at three to six hundred cycles compared to about a dozen for current generation i7's and SPARCs (optimistic CASing). Can anyone speak to the implementation of the features on this new chip?

  • by GuyFawkes (729054) on Friday September 10, 2010 @07:35AM (#33532366) Homepage Journal

    Have run all of these, in anger, in production, at one point or another.

    I still have an extremely soft spot for the RAQ2, 64 bit MIPS processor.

    Image link - http://dev.gentoo.org/~vapier/pics/mipsel-raq2/inside-main-board.jpg [gentoo.org]

    Nota Bene, NO HEAT-SINKS OF ANY KIND, and yet these puppies could saturate a 10 Mbit connection (of course this was the days before flash and stuff) and the whole mainboard used about 10 watts, most of which was the RAM, the biggest power eater was the IDE HD.

    Downside was it was MIPS, which is a lot like the downside of the Acorn ARM based A series and Risc-PC series, eg not x86 compatible, ergo not mainstream.

    Now that ARM is used is zillions of other devices, ARM is no longer the backwoods, everywhere except in "a computer" eg desktop or server.

    Which means ARM on the desktop or ARM on the server won't suffer so badly for not being x86... it will still suffer, but not so badly.

    RAQ3 went away from MIPS to x86, IMHO because of this accessibility and availability of x86 code, not because it was technically superior to MIPS... one RAQ3 wasn't more powerful than two RAQ2 in any sense except power consumption and thermal rejection.

    In practical terms x86 has gone nearly as far as it can go, both in terms of light speed and die size, and thermal dissipation per cubic mm, so the alternatives are catching up, not so much because of sheer lifting power, but because of thermal dissipation per cubic mm they still have "development room" left to play around in.

    The next 5 years or so are going to be interesting, as this "development room" is explored and used up, and especially so if anyone comes out with a robust cross architecture compiler / translator.

  • by MemoryDragon (544441) on Friday September 10, 2010 @07:49AM (#33532422)

    Problem is the memory mapped IO, add 2 gigs of graphic card data mapped into memory and you have a problem...

Whenever people agree with me, I always think I must be wrong. - Oscar Wilde

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