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Wednesday, 31 October 2012 09:41

ARM releases new chip designs

Written by Nick Farrell



Low energy server and smartphone chips to go


Fabless chip maker ARM launched processors to power the next generation of smartphones and servers.

The Cortex A-50 series 64-bit low powered server chips are designed mostly to hack off Intel as the company invades its turf. For a while ARM has steered clear of 64-bit even though it powers a lot of business servers. The chip can deliver up to three times the performance of today’s superphones and extend today’s superphone experience to entry-level, the company claims. The A-50s are compatible with the extensive ARM 32-bit ecosystem and integral to the rapidly evolving ARM 64-bit ecosystem.

ARM claims that the Cortex-A57 is its most advanced high-performance applications processor, while the Cortex-A53 is the most power-efficient ARM chip on the market. It adds that the Cortex-A53 is also the world’s smallest 64-bit processor. The chips can operate independently or be combined into an ARM big.LITTLE processor configuration, combining high performance with power efficiency. Both are supported by the ARM CoreLink 400 and new CoreLink 500 series system IP fabric solutions.

According to the company, HP and Dell are showing keen interest. ARM clearly hopes that by the time AMD pulls finger it will have a nice niche carved out for it. Chief Executive Warren East told reporters at an event in San Francisco that ARM-based servers may account for a fifth of data centres by 2020. To do that, he will have had to have stolen a large chunk of Intel's business, which is quite possible.

East said that getting to the CIOs of banks is quite a step but he was seeing these types of people totally plugged into the notion of ARM-based servers, and looking at not so much whether, but how and when. Calxeda has shown that ARM technology can reduce power consumption by over three quarters in servers, East said.

Already ARM's new 64-bit Cortex A-50 series partners include AMD, Broadcom, Calxeda, HiSilicon, Samsung and STMicroelectronics, the company said, and the first chips are expected to be in the shops by 2014.

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