ARM announced recently their new product lineup that is aimed at the mid-range smartphone and tablet market. We already know that the Cortex-A15 is targeting high-end devices but for the mid-range device that’s going to cost around $200 the company is offering the Cortex-A12 cpu, Mali-622 gpu, and the Mali V-500 video processor.
The Cortex-A12 is designed to be the successor of the Cortex-A9 and has a 40 percent improvement on speed compared to the A9. It can also be used in a big.LITTLE implementation. The big.LITTLE technology is a way of coupling low power processors with high power processors with the intention to create a multi-core processor which can automatically switch between processor types depending on load demand. This allows for better power management.
Some of the features of the Cortex-A12 include
- ARMv7-A Cortex Architecture
- Multicore 1-4X SMP within a single processor cluster
- Multiple coherent processor clusters through AMBA® 4 technology
- TrustZone security technology
- NEON™ Advanced SIMD
- DSP & SIMD extensions
- VFPv4 Floating point
- Hardware virtualization support
- Large Physical Address Extensions (LPAE)
Because the A12 uses the ARMv7A architecture, which is also what is used by the A9, it is software compatible with other Cortex processors and will work with various operating systems such as Android, Windows and Linux straight out of the box.
TrustZone is a security related feature used in a wide range of applications such as digital rights management and online payments. NEON is a feature that is used to accelerate multimedia programs. DSP and SIMD is used to enhance the DSP capabilities of the processor and will benefit VoIP apps as well as audio and video codecs.
The Mali-622 GPU is smaller compared to the Mali-T604 and is 50% more energy efficient. It supports Renderscript Compute, OpenGL ES 3.0, DirectX 11 and OpenCL 1.1. This GPU can be used in a dual core setup and is able to handle 4x Full Scene Anti-Aliasing with negligible performance drop.
ARM also announced the Mali-V500 which is a multicore video solution that can reduce system bandwidth requirements by as much as 50 percent. It is able to handle encoding and decoding videos at 1080p/60 with a single core. It also supports 4K ultra high definition at 120 frames per second.
According to Ian Drew, chief marketing officer and executive vice president, ARM “Mobile users expect a range of devices at different price points and for a mid-range mobile experience to include some high end mobile features. With a billion smartphones predicted to ship in 2013 and tablets projected to out-ship notebook PCs, device-makers can now provide quality, high-performance mobile products with the features that matter the most, at a range of price points. The market is evolving at an amazing rate and there is now a choice of solutions for semiconductor companies and for mobile device-makers. Our suite of optimized IP expands the choice for the mid-range mobile market.”