At present, the mainstream IC design companies in the field of communications, Qualcomm, Heath, Apple and so on, are basically the ARM instruction set, and therefore, each year ARM’s new products, for downstream chip design enterprises, as well as more downstream terminal manufacturers, have a guiding significance. It basically determines the performance of the flagship aircraft in the coming year, how much will be greatly improved.
On the evening of May 26, according tomedia Android Authority, ARM’s annual routine update brought in two new CPUs, a GPU and an NPU.
ARM is an integral part of the IC design industry. In addition to focusing on performance updates, a more critical question is, will this year’s Huawei Heath update continue as planned?
A78 Squeeze toothpaste, but the new product is very powerful
In the CPU section, ARM released a routine update of the A-Series A78, as well as a newly opened product line, the Cortex-X CPU core customization series.
First look at the A78, which, in one sentence, is a toothpaste-squeezed update.
ACCORDING TO ARM OFFICIALS, THE A78 WITH DYNAMIQ (4✖️A78 ✖️A55) AND A77-BASED Q SCHEME (4✖️ A77 ✖️ A55) ARE COMPARABLE TO THE A78’S REDUCTION IN AREA AND 20% PERFORMANCE. However, in terms of comparison, ARM is a bit of a “cheat” compared to the 7nm A78, which gives a 20% performance improvement, much of which is 5nm.
If you compare it to the same performance, the A78’s performance increased by 7% at the same frequency, compared with a 20% increase in performance over the previous generation at the same frequency last year, and a 4% decrease in power consumption under the same conditions.
OK, you see here, you know why the A78 is squeezed toothpaste, compared to last year’s significant performance improvement of the A77, its improvement is mainly reflected in efficiency and power control, not performance.
Notably, ARM’s new product line, the X-Series, known as the “Super Core,” is an X1 core, three A78 cores and four A55 cores, according to official data, with a 30% peak performance improvement with only 15% increase in board area, and x1’s machine learning performance doubles as much as the A77.
What’s more, custom services are also available, and ARM officials say the X-Series is the result of collaborations with various chipmakers, and that the performance differences should be significant after “magic changes” by downstream chip design companies, making it possible for Cortex-X to offer cross-platform applications.
X1 performance has a larger leap, stronger customization capabilities, but also let it can achieve cross-platform experience, in addition to mobile phones, can also be used in tablet, notebook products, in addition, X1 up to 2.8W power consumption, so that the peak performance of gaming phones may also start to open the gap with ordinary mobile phones, manufacturers of thermal technology will start PK.
In short, an extra-large core brings more possibilities downstream.
After the release, XDA reports that Qualcomm’s next-generation flagship processor, the SnapDragon 875, will use the Cortex X1 Super Core plus The CortexA78 large core combination.
In addition, Samsung’s next-generation Exynos flagship Soc, as well as the rumored Google Pixel self-developed Soc, are the combination.
Since The SnapDragon 855, Qualcomm has adopted a three-plex set architecture of “1-3-4” consisting of an oversized core, three large cores, and four energy-efficient cores.
However, this super-sized core on the SnapSnapdragon 865 is a high-frequency A77, and the performance-enhancing Cortex X1 is expected to be a true “super-big core” with the A78 taking on the role of large core with peace of mind.
Compared to the CPU, Mali GPU updates are not much of a surprise, still based on the Valhall architecture, ARM says the Mali-G78 is 25 percent more performance than the G77, 10 percent more energy consumption, 15 percent higher performance density, and less than the previous generation – Mali-G77 compared to G76, a 30 percent reduction in performance consumption.
This performance improvement is also within the normal range, and still does nuns well against Qualcomm and Apple’s own GPU performance.
ARM also brings NPU snupted for AI-related applications, and the Ethos-N78 provides machine learning workloads with up to 2 x more peak performance than the N77, while also improving some efficiency.
All in all, the X-Series still offers downstream manufacturers the possibility of next year’s products, despite the few surprises of the A78. More professional gaming phones? ARM notebooks connected 24/7? Everything will be known next year. Of course, also to do well next year or A78, the super-core X-Series to wait until the year after the preparation, after all, thermal design is still not easy.
If the X-Series is to come next year, the challenge for this year’s IC design enterprise is how to make enough upgrade appeal for the next generation of mobile platforms with little ARM updates.
Breaking the Supply Suspect Cloud
ARM announced a new mobile chip design, downstream manufacturers began to launch a new SoC platform, in the downstream mobile phone manufacturers to launch new machines. Every year the rhythm sits around.
At this sensitive point in time, it’s hard not to pay attention to Huawei.
Kirin’s new product launches are typically held during the IFA in September, while Qualcomm SnapDragon is at the Qualcomm Technology Summit in December, with a six-month gap between product launches.
Last year, the Kirin 990 was able to use ARM’s latest A77 for a variety of reasons, resulting in slightly weaker performance than the SnapSnapdragon 865. As for the reasons for the failure to adopt, Yu Chengdong explained after the launch that Huawei would follow the A77 when the A77 power consumption was too high under the 7nm process and when it was 5nm, and Huawei’s marketing director for wireless terminal chip product management also said on the network that Huawei believed that the A77’s performance and energy efficiency could not be optimal in the 7nm process, so it was not the best choice for the Kirin 990.
Previous news suggested that this year’s Kirin 1020 is likely to skip the A77 and adopt the A78 directly, while in April this year, the Ming-Yuan 18 blogger broke the news that Huawei had indeed received a beta version of the A78 and some of its technology, but ARM had cut off technical support in May, so it is highly likely that the A77 architecture will be used back in the uncertain future unless ARM resumes supply.
Last year, there was news that ARM had broken off Huawei. ARM China responded in an interview in September that it had never cut off Huawei and that cooperation was still ongoing, but that technology companies were facing many uncertainties as The U.S.-China relationship strained.
The good news for Huawei is that it has a permanent license for the ARM V8, the A78 has a limited lift compared to the A77, and even if competitors use the A78, Huawei can only use the A77, and the performance of ARM itself can provide a very limited lead, even in the face of supply cuts, research and development rhythm and other issues, the impact will not be too great (at least not more than TSMC side side).
Huawei needs to be wary that competitors are using the X-Series’s very large core, and there will be a significant gap in performance.
What’s more, it’s more worrying that, as an IC design company, it’s as dependent on ARM as it is on lithographs. The V8’s permanent license will help Huawei carry on for a year or two, so what about the future?
And in addition to chip design, TSMC’s big single, seeking MediaTek, Samsung’s cooperation, Huawei is looking for a variety of ways to break through, any one pass, is not easy.