Chip designer ARM Holdings has released another piece in the jigsaw that is its processor puzzle with the announcement of a new mid-range design.
Called the Cortex A12, it’s said to be a modern take on the older Cortex A9 with better power consumption. The quad-core design is faster than the budget Cortex A7 but not as quick as the Cortex A15 we’re seeing in Nvidia’s Tegra 4 and the super-quick Samsung Exynos 5-series.
Reports are the A12 should deliver as much as 40% more zip over other currently popular A9 examples such as the Rockchip RK3188.
In fact, it also conforms to ARM’s big LITTLE dual processor design strategy, allowing designers to get both performance and lower power consumption by using the two processors as needs dictate. However, it remains to be seen whether its a feasible proposition in the tight mid-range $200-350 price bracket. Still, ARM is saying that early tests are showing a 2x improvement in overall efficiency with an A12/A7 strategy.
Among the A12′s more impressive features is virtualisation – normally a sandboxing concept reserved for higher-end/higher-performance chips such as Intel’s Core series.
The Cortex A12 will also deliver improved battery performance thanks to its smaller 28-nanometre production scale, down on the 40-nanometre scale originally used for the A9. It also puts it on the same scale as the lower-power A7 option.
New Mali-622T Graphics core
Meanwhile, ARM has also trotted out its latest high-performance graphics core in the Mali-T622, taking over from the Mali-T604. The T622 comes with the usual mobile gaming bells and whistles but this one is more about mainstream use. First up, its another 28-nanometre die shrink, which ARM says delivers 50% better power efficiency. It’s also up for ARM’s parallel GPU Compute. It’ll be available in single- and dual-core options.
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