New ARM processor cores are making significant progress

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ARM is also targeting the smartphone market with two new microarchitectures, and the company's Cortex-A78 and Cortex-X1 processor core designs have also been unveiled, radically transforming its business model. The company continues to pursue the “golden mean” approach that promises good performance with low consumption so far with the A78, while the X1 core focuses on making the most muscular iron possible, even at the expense of energy craving and size. Not only can the core bring spectacular performance advances in the smartphone market, but it can even embed the expansion of ARM devices in the PC segment.


The Cortex-A78 the third iteration of the microarchitecture family, building on the previously known A76 and A77 templates. The core carries on the design philosophy we have learned so far from the company, with a strong emphasis on balancing performance, consumption and size. With the A78, the company promises up to a 20 percent improvement in performance, with the same 1-watt per-seed consumption as its predecessor – in addition to the development of facial contours, it also benefits from the 5-nanometer manufacturing process.

The new A78 core is able to achieve values ​​equal to the peak performance of its predecessor A77 at 36 percent lower power consumption. It is also worth mentioning that the processor core is still compatible with the well-known Cortex-A55 cores, in a big.LITTLE layout in DynamiIQ clusters.


aimed at maximizing. The design was made under the wings of the Cortex-X Custom Program: the next generation of the already well-known Built on ARM Cortex Technology program, which allowed the company’s customers to collaborate with the ARM team at an early stage in processor design to tailor designs to their own needs. The best-known participant in the program was Qualcomm, which then listed the cores in its processors, created in collaboration with the chip designer, under its own brand. The Cortex-X Custom Program carries on the same concept, providing even more detailed options for its customers to customize their processor cores.


With the newly announced X1 chip, the same IP is now available to all ARM customers, while the company is open to later to develop individual iterations as well. As Anandtech points out, the basic design of the X1 is very similar to that of the Cortex-A78, an important difference being that it focuses on almost only the first member of the aforementioned power-consumption trio.


At the same frequencies, the X1 it promises a 22 percent performance improvement over integer operations over the Cortex-A78 – a figure that is already around 30 percent compared to its predecessor Cortex-A78. In the case of machine learning, Cortex-X1 strikes a milky circle on both cores, which promises 100 percent progress over both the A77 and A78. As the paper points out, a SoC with X1 cores could bring a very spectacular development to the smartphone market, bringing up to a 37 percent performance increase over the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 and similar high-end tiles today.

Of course, this is accompanied by a greater appetite, The Cortex-X1 is expected to consume 1.5 times more than the A78 cores, or will be significantly larger, although ARM has not yet announced how much floor space can be expected. In any case, the company has revealed that processors for smartphones are at least unlikely to have more than two X1 cores on a chip.


In the case of Qualcomm, it would not be surprising if a Cortex -X1, with three A78 and four A55 cores would equip its later Snapdragon processors. In connection with the announcement of the new cores, Samsung also sought to underline its close collaboration with ARM – which means that there is a good chance that the Korean giant will also crash into the X1 cores, which could then pop into its own Exynos chips. Of course, the first chips with Cortex-A78 and Cortex-X1 cores have to wait, the first copies of which will probably only reach smartphones or even notebooks in 2021.


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