The first Armv9 CPU designs include Cortex-X2 with big performance gains

The first Armv9 CPU designs include Cortex-X2 with big performance gains

After unveiling Armv9 back in March, it’s time for Arm to unveil its first designs based on the new architecture. Making up Arm Total Compute solutions are Cortex-X2, Cortex-A710, and Cortex-510. The firm said that the three pillars that it’s focusing on with its total Compute strategy are performance, developer access, and security.

At the top is Arm Cortex-X2, which is the newest scalable solution. It gets a 30% performance boost over current Android smartphones. And indeed, you’ll probably see it in Qualcomm’s next-gen smartphone processors, but also in laptop SoCs. In the laptop department, Cortex-X2 is promising a 40% boost in single-threaded performance over a 2020 mainstream laptop chip.

The big cores are Arm cortex-A710, promising a 30% boost in efficiency and a 10% performance uplift over Cortex-A78. Both Cortex-A710 and Cortex-X2 should get 2x machine learning uplifts. Finally, the efficiency cores are Arm Cortex-A510 get a 35% increase in performance, with 20% efficiency improvement and 3x boost in ML performance.

For more information on the new CPU designs, you can find out more here.

Armv9 CPU cluster diagram

Alongside Arm Cortex-X2, Cortex-A710, and Cortex-A510, there was one other thing that Arm announced alongside the new CPU designs. By 2023, all of the Arm CPU cores will be 64-bit. Whether they’re big or LITTLE cores, and no matter what tier they fall under, 32-bit is going away.

“Smart devices have become digital extensions of our lives that rely on performance, efficiency and security,” said Joonseok Kim, vice president of SoC design team at Samsung Electronics. “With Arm’s Total Compute solution based on its latest Armv9 architecture and enhanced lead partnership, Samsung’s System LSI Business and Arm will open new possibilities for next-generation mobile platforms and we are excited about the transformation this will bring to the user experiences through our future technologies.”

Next up is, you guessed it, Mali GPUs. Arm made a point of saying that Mali is the top-shipping GPU, and that it has been for a few years now. It’s no surprise, since it’s part of the chipset. OEMs don’t have to use it though. There’s no reason that a company couldn’t build a laptop with an Arm CPU and an NVIDIA or AMD GPU.

The next Mali GPUs are the Arm Mali-G710, Mali-G610, Mali-G510, and Mali-G310. The Mali-G710 is aimed at smartphones and Chromebooks, promising a 20% boost in performance and a 35% boost in machine learning tasks like image enhancement. The Mali-G610 is meant to offer the same features as Mali-G710 but at a lower price. It’s more high-end while the Mali-G710 is premium.

Arm Mali-G510 is promising a 100% performance improvement over its predecessor with 22% energy savings and 100% machine learning boosts. Finally, Arm Mali-G310 is for the entry level, bringing the Valhall architecture to lower-end devices. The Mali-G310 offers a 6x texturing performance improvement, a 4.5x Vulkan performance improvement, and a 2x improvement in Android UI content.

For more information on the new Mali GPUs, you can find out more here.

Arm Total Compute showing CoreLink NI-700 information

Finally, CoreLink NI-700 and CI-700 put the puzzle together. Arm says that these have support for new Armv9-A features like memory Tagging Extension, better security, and improved bandwidth and latency.

As for when these new CPU and GPU designs will debut, you should start to see them in products next year. Just like how Cortex-X1 showed up in Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888, don’t be surprised if you see Arm Cortex-X2 in the company’s next-generation flagship chipset. You’ll also likely see it in the next Snapdragon 8cx.

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Rich Woods
Rich Woods

Managing Editor for XDA Computing. I've been covering tech from smartphones to PCs since 2013. If you see me at a trade show, come say hi and let me ask you weird questions about why you use the tech you use.