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  • Trisagion - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    "The Cortex A15 will support a new instruction set which ARM is calling ARMv7-A."

    The ARM v7 architecture has two 'profiles' - the ARMv7-A which is meant for regular application processors (like in smartphones) and the ARMv7-M which is for micro controllers (Cortex-M). ARMv7-A is not new. The extended address space and virtualization features are called extensions to the existing ARMv7-A profile.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    Thanks for the correction!

    Take care,
  • Trisagion - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    Sorry, I forgot to mention the third profile ARMv7-R for real time applications. Just FYI. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    Wonder if this will get the netbooks something more compelling than Atom with regards to HD video, plus better battery life? Looking at smartphones that last 8 hours on a 5.5Wh battery, that's about an order of magnitude better than Atom and still ~1/3 the performance. So give us the performance boost to beat Atom by 2X, and we'd still be looking at 14 hours battery life! One can only hope.... Reply
  • Trisagion - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    I still think this new processor will not be faster than an Atom, but I also think people will be more put off with the lack of Windows support rather than the performance gap, which depending on the number of cores etc, I'm guessing, will not be that great. Reply
  • B3an - Saturday, September 11, 2010 - link

    From everything i know about these new ARM CPU's they will be faster than Atom. They need to be anyway, Atoms performance is pathetic at best.

    No x86 will be a problem for servers but smartphones dont use x86, and many netbooks dont use windows, same with tablets. You'll probably get Chrome OS or Android 3.0 on these ARM A15 netbooks and tablets.
  • mino - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    Um, in 2012 there is 28nm Ontario shrink and next-gen Atom.
    While I would not dismiss 2012 ARM as competition for today's (2yr old!) Atom, 2012 is a completely different game ...

    If everything goes well, they shall work well in iPads and thin clients and embedded devices of the time.

    Outside that - no x86 = Windows = no PC market inroads. Unfortunately.
  • mino - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    = no Windows = Reply
  • LtGoonRush - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    nVidia's Tegra 5 processors based on these cores should support execution of x86 code using Transmeta's Code Morphing technology that they licensed. Whether this will actually happen or if it will support running Windows on a Tegra 5-based netbook/notebook remains to be seen. Reply
  • Klinky1984 - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    Well there's a quick way to kill performance & battery life. Reply
  • Aikouka - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    Maybe they were jealous of the Itanium's obvious success with code translation ;). Reply
  • Trisagion - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    I'm guessing you're right. However, I think ARM is targeting the home / small server market with this new chip rather than the netbook / PC market. If quad core Cortex A15's can offer "reasonable" performance, then this idea will take off.

    Power is a huge factor for servers and the Cortex A15's power consumption will be a lot less than an Intel server CPU and a whole lot cheaper.

    Also, Windows is not that important for servers and Linux already has ARM support.
  • FunBunny2 - Saturday, September 11, 2010 - link

    Let's see: a server world where there's no-power ARM, no-power SSD, and really relational databases. You could run an application on a hamster-in-a-cage generator. Reply
  • Klinky1984 - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    While not having Windows might be an issue, I think some people might be interested in Android based Netbooks. I wonder how much performance a 2.5GHZ quadcore A15 would provide & how much power it would use. Reply
  • seanleeforever - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    i for one, don't give a crap about andriod based netbooks. and i don't know many people who would.
    simply, why do i want to carry a netbook sized device that does what smart phone does? ridiculous isn't it? netbook was able to take off due to the cheap price (ultra portables normally cost 1500+, netbook can be had for as little as 200 dollars). price and size are the key here.
    a smart phone already cost 500+, but people are willing to pay it due to the portability. now, if you gonna put that in a notebook form factor, people's exception raises by a number of magnitude and running windows is one of the requirement. i fail to see the competitiveness of a ARM based netbook (smartbook, if you well), and i will take a ULV intel chip any day of the week giving the price point.
  • yyrkoon - Saturday, September 11, 2010 - link

    Battery life *will* be better, but not sure about the video aspect. There was a new OEM on youtube several months ago showing off just such a netbook ( ARM based ) that had a really cool, but funky modular feature. e.g. as I recall, the laptop screen could be removed from the normal flip-top configuration, and snapped back in so it was basically a tablet. Pretty neat stuff. The battery life was proclaimed to be something very good, like 8-10 hours, possibly a bit higher.

    Anyways, ARM has always had very good power saving features when compared to the x86 architecture. This is why many serious embedded implementations have to give ARM a serious thought, But I do not mean just cellphones etc. Things like remote instrument readings, or even the Micron SSD that used two ARM9 cores for the drive controller ?

    However, I think TI would probably have to embrace "the dark side", and figure out a way to get Microsoft to support their hardware on more than just Windows Mobile. Or perhaps TI does not care, and only hopes to capture a minuscule portion of the market ? Or perhaps Windows Mobile would be good enough for a netbook. That, I personally am not so sure of.
  • descendency - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    How much software (OS, programs, etc) actually runs on the ARM based chips?

    I mean, a lot of people won't sniff an ARM based computer unless it can run Windows.
  • metafor - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    All phone software currently; which is appearing more and more like desktop software (with games and everything).

    I'd guess by 2012 (and realistically, 2013 when actual devices will have this), Android, WP7 and iOS would have gotten to the point functionally that they can replace 99% of netbooks without the user noticing.

    As for performance, I think people overestimate the performance of the current Atom. The biggest reason it outperforms current ARM devices is because it's paired with such a high-performance memory subsystem while typical ARM SoC's are using 32-bit, ~200MHz LP-DDR1.

    Netbook-aiming ARM devices will almost certainly be paired with faster memory which should bring it in line with whatever Atom chip is out at the time.
  • wintermute000 - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    in the consumer space, anything in android or IOS (the apple kind) for starters, meego, linux.....

    In the server space, how about the gazillion linux servers and appliances out there?

    I'd thought anandtech readers would be a bit more up to speed on things outside of MS land
  • Rayb - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    I agree, also I don't want to take anything away from android but meego in mobile computing is showing a lot of potential. Reply
  • Computer Bottleneck - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    I have read that Ubuntu, Meego and Chrome OS can use ARM. Reply
  • Mjello - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    Even though codemorphing is possible with nvidias tegra.
    I highly doubt that it'll run windows and all its software bug free. Even if the performance makes it theoretically possible.

    I would love a new player in the x86 CPU market btw.
  • Computer Bottleneck - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    I wonder how much ARM Cortex A15 netbook hardware would cost compared to smartphone hardware?

    Wouldn't the netbook require far less in the way of parts?
  • Adsski - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    I'm not so sure no x86 actually means no windows

    Microsoft must be thinking of blurring the lines between desktop OS and Mobile OS in the future, windows phone 7 after all will run on ARM devices, and there will surely be a new mobile office suite to complement it on these smartphones.

    Looking further ahead to Windows 8 and Windows phone 8, i'm betting we'll see Microsoft try and integrate your experience further.

    Lets take office, office 2010 online in the cloud will sync with your desktop x86 version, and the ARM version in your phone seemlessly, allowing productivity wherever you are. Given how good of a Job apple has done on the iWork apps for iPad i dont think its too much of a stretch to imagine very close feature parity between all the different versions.

    Taking it to its logical conclusion, I wouldn't be surprised if mobile office comes to Andriod, in the desktop space they support Mac, i wonder how long it will be before the install base for Android devices surpasses that number...
  • chromatix - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    As far as in-core performance goes, I believe a dual-core Atom presently matches a PowerPC G4 at the same clock speed - if, that is, software fully utilises the four threads on Atom, and the G4 is single-core. Indeed, G4s were (and are) actually available at the clock speeds presently reached by Atom, and are a lot easier to code effectively for.

    Cortex-A9 roughly matches early G4s, which were dual-issue, in clock-for-clock and core-for-core performance. Later G4s used a triple-issue architecture which I hope that Eagle (that is, Cortex-A15) is aiming for. Given that dual-core is becoming normal for ARM as well as Atom, it would appear that they already beat Atom in terms of raw performance.

    The only thing Atom has going for it is x86 compatibility. For open-source software this Does Not Matter.
  • kanth - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    May be its time now for Anand to explain in detail the differences between an ARM processor and an Intel processor for a novice.

    What makes an Intel work well for a "big" computer and an ARM for "small" devices when both are being manufactured at 32nm?

    How is ARM able to keep the battery drain low compared to Intel ?

    Is it just that the Instructions sets are different or anything more in the hardware design.

    And many more differences which only Anand can tell.
  • justaviking - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    An excellent suggestion. Reply
  • anactoraaron - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    I will third this idea, so as long as it doesn't delay news about the new Intel SSD's due to come out soon as the 25nm NAND ramps up... I am really wanting to see price/performance of the new x25-v and x25-m's. Reply
  • GullLars - Friday, September 10, 2010 - link


    Also seconding priority on Intel G3 SSDs.
  • Powerlurker - Friday, September 10, 2010 - link

    Might also be a good idea to talk about MIPS and Power as well while you're at it. I'd also love to see an article that talks about SSD controllers and compares the different models on the market and how they affect the way an SSD performs. Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    What you need to do is make your OS easily integrate with android, so that an SoC with an ARM core and an x86 core can use the ARM core when needed, with the X86 core asleep most of the time. For example, if I'm just surfing the web, what do I need an X86 core for? It should stay asleep until it receives a wake event such as pressing the winkey to bring up the Start menu. It's really not just for ARM vs X86. What happens when AMD integrates a 1Watt bobcat with a 25W bulldozer all in one core? Your OS has to be smart enough to allow system builders to make proper use of such awesomeness. Windows 7 would not know what to do with a bobcat/bulldozer combination. Reply
  • GullLars - Friday, September 10, 2010 - link

    You could also make a dual hetrogenous socket mobo.
    For the AMD part, a dual socket mobo with a typical desktop AM3 processor combined with a bobcat CPU (also AM3 socket compatible?) could also give great power savings, with the desktop CPU in C2/3 state and power gated. You could literary run your desktop with all fans off in such a state, and having them spin back up when stuff requiring some work starts happening again.
  • alxxx - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    For what it can run , a majority of linux apps.

    Currently ubuntu , debian and others have arm versions plus the lighter distributions like open embedded , mego etc run on arm.
    The desktop type distros are still a bit slow on current chips(cortex A8)

    For capabilities should hopefully be double to triple the power of the current A8 chips like
    the AM3730 in current beagle board xm

    Thats running a TI AM3730 sitara chip
    chip docs

    Arm sitara slides

    Mixing ISA's in one os is not worth the complexity it would cause.
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  • leviap - Friday, September 10, 2010 - link

    One very interesting feature:
    Notice the error correction block that interfaces to main memory.
    This should enable very small, reliable and power efficient servers to be implemented.
    One things that (banks for example) implement in all their servers is ECC on main memory. There have been studies published that analyze recorded memory errors from these servers and they are mostly inconclusive. Basically, they don't know if the errors are generated from electrical problems in the servers or radiation or heat causing damage to the electronics. Again, this part looks really interesting for server applications.
    Also: Isn't it great what ARM is doing? It is about time that the monopolistic lock that Intel has on CPUs is broken. Now an ARM licensee can compete with Intel. We will end up with a much larger ecosystem of parts where the CPU has become a commodity.
  • letsgiveatry - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    If i am not mistaken there is windows8 support coming on ARM around 2012/13 time frame
    So this might be processor on which the windows might run and then go after notebook/net-book or whatever you might want to call them
    basically there is a need for high performing but less power hungry processor and ARM can possibly do that with experience and don't forget they can cash on their name around that time when there will be many devices running ARM already for those devices

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