ARM launches series of IP cores for 5G smartphones

May 26, 2020 //By Peter Clarke
ARM launches series of IP cores for 5G smartphones
ARM has announced a series of IP cores for use in 5G smartphones with at least some of the IP targeting 5nm FinFET manufacturing process.

These include the Cortex-A78 CPU core, Mali-G78 GPU core and the Ethos-N78 machine learning core. The company claims 20 percent, 25 percent and 25 percent performance gains over previous IP cores. In the first two cases these improvements include improvements due to manufacturing process while in the last case its just an area improvement versus the Ethos-N77.

So in the case of the Cortex-A78 that is a 3 GHz A78 on 5nm FinFET versus a 2.6 GHz A77 on 7nm FinFET process. That would suggest that more than half the improvement is coming from the manufacturing process. ARM says the Cortex-A78 provides 50 percent energy savings over 2019 devices at the same performance as Cortex-A77.

A fourth announcement is the Cortex-X custom program which allows an additional tier of performance but is only available to customers who sign up to the Core-X program. The first result of this program is the Cortex-X1 with an 8.3 percent increase in peak performance over the Cortex-A78, ARM claims.

The Cortex-X1 is expected to find use in flagship smartphones or those with large displays. Samsung would appear to be one customers that has joined the Cortex-X program.

"Samsung and ARM have a strong technology partnership and we are very excited to see the new direction ARM is taking with Cortex-X Custom program, enabling innovation in the Android ecosystem for next-gen user experiences.” said Joonseok Kim, vice president of SoC design team at Samsung Electronics, in a statement issued by ARM.

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