ARM shapes A73 processor features for ‘immersive mobile experience’

ARM shapes A73 processor features for ‘immersive mobile experience’

Business news |
By Graham Prophet

The ARM Cortex-A73 core offers increases in sustained performance and efficiency; the Mali-G71 graphics processor offers efficiency and performance gains from its new Bifrost architecture. The IP is optimized for the latest 10nm FinFET process technology.


The Mali-G71 graphics processor unit (GPU) enables a 50% increase in graphics performance, a 20% increase in power-efficiency and 40% more performance per square millimetre of silicon.


The Mali-G71 scales efficiently up to 32 shader cores, twice as many as the previous generation premium IP GPU – the Mali-T880. The uplift means the Mali-G71 surpasses the performance of many discrete GPUs found in today’s mid-range laptops. The product is also fully coherent, helping to simplify software development and efficiency. It is suited to power immersive VR and AR experiences on mobile devices and ARM says that silicon providers including HiSilicon, MediaTek and Samsung Electronics have already taken licenses.


Bifrost, the third-generation ARM GPU architecture, is the foundation of the Mali-G71. The architecture is optimized for Vulkan and other industry-standard APIs, building on innovations from the previous Utgard and Midgard architectures.


ARM adds that at under 0.65 mm² per core (on a 10nm FinFET process technology) the Cortex-A73 is the smallest and most efficient ‘big’ ARMv8-A core. Its advanced mobile microarchitecture enables a 30% uplift in sustained performance and power efficiency over the Cortex-A72. Size and efficiency improvements enhance the ability of silicon providers to use the Cortex-A73 in ARM big.LITTLE configurations. These improvements create further opportunities for designers to scale big cores along with the GPU and other IP in a single SoC. Ten partners have licensed the Cortex-A73 so far, including HiSilicon, Marvell and Mediatek.


Cadence Design Systems, in a parallel announcement, is supporting this core release with rapid adoption kits based on a 10nm reference [design] flow. Cadence says the kits (RAKs) are based on the latest digital implementation and signoff technologies optimized to work with ARM Artisan physical IP and ARM POP IP for ARM Cortex-A73 and ARM Mali-G71.


ARM, Cadence adds, used Cadence digital and signoff tools to design the ARM Cortex-A73 CPU and the ARM Mali-G71 GPU, resulting in a reference flow from which the RAKs are derived; the collaboration enables designers to achieve overall PPA (power/performance/area) goals with Cadence digital, signoff, and system and verification tools optimized for Cortex-A73 based designs.


The collaboration included; ed with ARM to:

– Optimizing PPA implementation by defining a full-flow reference methodology incorporating Cadence digital and signoff solutions;

– developing a 10nm methodology containing Cortex-A73 and Mali-G71 using the Cadence digital implementation and signoff flow

– configuring SoC power and performance using the Cadence Palladium Z1 enterprise emulation platform; and augmenting performance with the Cadence Interconnect Workbench for ARM CoreLink CCI-500 and CCI-400 based systems running stress testing on Cadence simulation, Palladium Z1 emulation and Verification IP

Earlier SoC software development is assisted by integrating the Cortex-A73 Fast Models with the Palladium Z1 enterprise emulation platform; in a previous integration, ARM accelerated OS boot-up by up to 50X and software execution by up to 10X







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