Arm Rolls Out Next-Gen Smartphone Chip Tech

UK chip designer Arm on Monday rolled out its next-generation technology for high-end smartphones, with Taiwanese chip maker MediaTek saying it would be using the Cortex-X4 core for its next-generation mobile processor.

At Taiwan’s Computex exhibition Arm also introduced its TSC23 mobile system-on-a-chip, which includes the Armv9 Cortex-X4 CPU core, the balanced Cortex-A720 cores, the low-power Cortex-A520 and the Immortalis-G720 graphics processing unit.

The Cortex-X4, Arm’s “workhorse” core for high-end smartphones, adds 15 percent of performance over the Cortex-X3 while consuming 40 percent less power for the same task, Arm said.

Image credit: Arm

High-end smartphones

The Softbank-owned company said the performance would mean noticeable improvements to on-device experiences such as UI responsiveness and application launch time, while enabling next-generation AI and machine learning applications.

The Cortex-A720 cores are for balancing energy use and performance and are 20 percent more efficient than the previous A715 cores, Arm said.

Finally the Cortex-A520, for performing low-power tasks such as all-day productivity and background tasks, is its best-performing high-efficiency core to date with 22 percent more power efficiency than the previous A515 core.

Arm said it took the unprecedented step of taping out the Cortex-X4 on TSMC’s N3E process, which it said was intended to help test out new manufacturing technology for the final customers who will actually be manufacturing the chips.

Image credit: Arm

AI acceleration

“This ensures that our ecosystem is ready to maximise the PPA [power, performance, area] benefits of our processor technologies once they are taped out,” Arm said in a statement.

Arm noted the recent fervour around generative AI tools such as ChatGPT and said AI processing capabilities have been doubling every two years on smartphones.

It said it is supporting developers to take advantage of AI and machine learning workloads by enabling its hardware with increased ML capabilities via its open-source software libraries.

MediaTek’s announcement is part of its strategy to compete with Qualcomm in chips for high-end smartphones.

New York listing

Qualcomm has been in a legal battle with Arm since last year over chip licensing agreements.

Arm said in March it planned to list on the New York Stock Exchange, and not in London, while maintaining its heaquarters in Cambridge.

The company registered a draft registration statement for its IPO with the US Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this month.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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