Arm today announced its 2023 mobile processor core designs: Cortex-X4, A720 and A520, which are based on the Arm v9.2 architecture and support only 64-bit instruction sets and are no longer compatible with 32-bit applications. Arm says these cores offer significant performance and efficiency improvements, as well as enhanced Arm says these cores offer significant performance and efficiency improvements, as well as enhanced security and scalability.
Cortex-X4 is Arm’s flagship core, or mega-core, which delivers an average 15% performance improvement over last year’s X3 core while reducing power consumption by 40% at the same frequency.
The physical size of Cortex-X4 has been increased by less than 10%, making it the most efficient Cortex-X core ever. 2MB of L2 cache size delivers higher performance, as well as increasing the number of Arithmetic Logic Units (ALUs) from 6 to 8, adding an additional branch unit (3 total), adding an additional multiply-accumulator unit, and pipelining floating point and square root operations.
The Cortex-A720 is Arm’s performance core, with a 20% increase in core efficiency and improved performance at the same power as last year’s A715. The A720 core is a balance of performance and power, with four to six of these cores typically used in the chip. The A720 core also features front-end improvements such as shorter pipeline lengths, optimized branch prediction, and streamlined floating-point division and square root operations.
The Cortex-A520 is Arm’s efficiency core, offering a 22% improvement over last year’s A510 core for the same performance. The A520 core also optimizes branch prediction on the front end and removes or scales back some performance features.
In addition to CPU cores, Arm has also updated the Dynamic Shared Unit (DSU-120), a module that integrates multiple CPU cores with an L3 memory system, control logic and external interfaces to form a multi-core cluster. The DSU-120 has several improvements over the DSU-110, such as support for up to 14 CPU cores (up from 12) and up to 32MB of L3 cache.
Arm says these new CPU cores are designed to respond to the changing needs of the mobile device market, which seeks not only higher performance but also better efficiency, security and scalability. With Android’s increasingly stringent requirements for 64-bit applications, Arm believes the 64-bit transition is “mission accomplished” and that 32-bit applications no longer need to be supported.
These new CPU core designs are expected to appear in new chips late this year or early next year, and MediaTek has already said it will use the technology in its next-generation products.