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  • ddriver - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    Bay trail will slip into the lower midrange by the time it gains significant market presence. Intel better step up and make something significantly faster in the GPU department and at least tangible in the CPU to even hope for a profit margin on atoms. Needless to say, OpenCL support to leverage the full aggregate platform performance is a must. And I mean full GPU support, not running OpenCL on the CPU SIMD. Reply
  • zeo - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    Intel is focusing on improving GPU performance with their next ATOM update, the upcoming 14nm Airmont based Cherry Trail T platform will have a GMA based on Broadwell's Gen8 GMA and only scaled down to 16EUs... This compares to just 4EU's on the Ivy Bridge based Gen7 GMA that Bay Trail uses...

    They're also substantially increasing memory bandwidth and increasing the max supported RAM from 4GB to 8GB for the Tablet SoCs...

    CPU performance will see a much smaller improvement because of the focus on graphics, only a few hundred MHz faster overall, but it should be a better balanced performer than Bay Trail...

    Though, it remains to be seen if the graphical performance does more than just catch up with the competition, as everyone else will be improving too, but we'll see by the end of this year how they really compare...
  • lwatcdr - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    I really wish that Intel would produce a new family that is only X64 compatible and drop all the old kruft going back to the 8086 and for the love of all that is holy remove every vestige of 286 compatibility from the chip. Probably not going to happen because of backward compatibility but I would really like to see it. Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    Just dropping the ancient never any more used instructions/features would only have a very tiny return; a 286 only had 134k transistors after all. The total savings in a current generation CPU would be somewhat more due to converting the legacy CISC instructions into a stream of opcodes; but still peanuts overall. To really get any major gains they'd need to reassign machine codes to all the instructions that were kept (in a much simpler pattern than x86 accreted to); but that would break binary compatibility of every modern piece of software on the market and while unlike a completely new architecture, converting it over would require little beyond a simple recompile, most of it would never end up being recompiled to the rationalized architecture leading to chicken and egg failure. Reply
  • Krysto - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    Bay Trail is NOT smartphone chip. Why is this so hard for people to understand. Reply
  • BMNify - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    "Krystosaid Bay Trail is NOT smartphone chip"
    neither ddriver, or zeo said it was , only you seem to read that...

    mobile chip does not = only mobile smartphone.
    you could for instance make a perfectly fine home video phone with internet connectivity with ether SOC for instance.

    for sure the world's cheapskate cable, smart TV, sat box/card providers will cut their costs to the bone and provide slower STB's etc if they get the lower rated ARM SOC for less and sod the end user functionality as usual, not forgetting the world is far bigger than the USA and many of these emerging world markets need lower power devices far more than you do oc.
  • darkich - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    Nice, but seems inferior to Snapdragon 410. Reply
  • darkich - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    Yeah , that was a stupid comment..I forgot that Snapdragon 410 uses ARM A53 cores. Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    I'm not surprised about A12 having a really short lifespan. It was widely seen as being a stopgap to fill the void in the power range between the A9 and A15 when first announced. Reply
  • edi_opteron - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    Yet A17 isn't a new design. Implementing better memory subsystems and higher IPCs in smaller die should logically give some performance boost. Maybe some subtle tweaks here and there but no real advantages over S4plus in real world . I'll be alot more interested to see Kaveri-thingy in Mobile world. Reply
  • Wilco1 - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    From the details it seems A17 is similar in IPC and frequency as A15 and yet is more power efficient, so will beat S4plus by a good margin. It'll challenge the Snapdragon 800 as well. Reply
  • extide - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    So, I will say it... Really, another ARMv7 core?! With Qualcomm bringing out the SD410, and whatnot, this seems like an odd choice. Obviously these cores (A12/A17) have been in development for a while (since way before Apple released the 64-bit A7) and so ARM was caught off-guard like everyone else, and instead of just ditching these cores, they finished them out. I would only hope they have a plan to migrate one of these designs into a ~A55 mid-range 64-bit ARMv8 chip. Reply
  • name99 - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    ARM is interested in selling to more than just high end cell manufacturers. Why is this so hard to understand? They weren't competing on performance back in 2005, before Apple made them a company geeks actually follow, and they aren't competing on performance today.

    If you want a kickass mobile CPU (and are willing to pay for it) well Apple make their own, Qualcomm and nVidia would like your business, and Samsung may one day play that game. But if you want a functional CPU, low power, low price, and plan to ship a million, ARM are happy to work with you.

    32 bits is over? Hmm.
    Is 32 bit necessary for low-end network appliances (WiFi base stations, SoHo routers, VoIP phones)? How about for low-end smart TVs? How about for wearables?

    You will NEVER understand how and what ARM do if you insist on imagining that they go to bed every night thinking about how they can make a chip as fast as a Haswell. They ARE NOT INTERESTED IN THAT BUSINESS. That, as much as anything else, explains, for example, why Apple felt it made sense to go down the expensive and risky path of making their own CPU., and why Qualcomm have a great little niche of their own in the ARM ecosystem.
  • Wolfpup - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    Considering even the most expensive ARM SOCs are effectively free, I don't understand why every phone or tablet doesn't just use the best available. They could charge $50 more and be making a big profit!

    Oh well...

    Once again I have to wonder about this as I did with A12...isn't it coming really late? Shouldn't everything be 64-bit by next year?
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    the core market of lower end chips is the developing world phones where a $1 is a few hours of income not a few minutes; so your $50 is days or even weeks of disposable income and low cost embedded devices where profit margins are very narrow and a few dollars more on the BOM means your competition crushes you on price. Reply
  • sonicmerlin - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    Except that phones with low end chips are also sold In developed countries, so your argument doesn't hold water. The difference between top of the line SoC and lowest tier is at most $10. The real reason they're not used is because the OEMs want to artificially stratify the market to increase consumer incentive buy their ultra high margin $600 devices. Reply
  • BMNify - Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - link

    so what , you,assuming your not living in a developing world and are one of the many lowest income family's there YOU can get your water far cheaper than they are paying for their pre payed metered water (probably running another ARM soc there), so by your argument that means it's ok to charge them a higher % of their total income for products and services ,assuming they actually have an income to buy these things OC, a mobile/tablet with internet connection to help educate their whole family and neighbors in their village for instance.... Reply
  • Novacius - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    I'm wondering why ARM doesn't bring a Cortex A55 which could virtually be an A17 with ARMv8 and 64 bit support. You can buy 64 bit parts (A53&A57) this year, but why is the mainstream so far behind? Of course one can argue that ARMv8 makes the whole thing bigger and more expensive, but (1) the difference wouldn't be very huge in terms of die area (unlike the royalties, which are higher), (2) they already have 64 bit in the low end with A53 and (3) companies who want a 32 bit part could use the A12 instead of the A55, like they can do with A7/A53.
    I just don't get it. The mainstream market is very important for 64 bit in smart devices (OSes, Apps). In ARM's place I would push 64 bit as much as I can. They have to make sure their processors are the choice of the future, and ARMv8 is a crucial part of doing so.
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    Because 64 bit isn't needed anywhere but at the top yet. A53 is only a 64bit part because making big.LITTLE work requires both cores to use the same ISA. Reply
  • Krysto - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    Me, too. But it's too late for A55 now. A55 should've been A12, or A17 at most, so they arrive roughly at the same time. Now they'll have to wait for the successors of A53 and A57 to come out, let's call them A73 and A77. When they announce those two, they should also be announcing a mid-range ARMv8 A75.

    But since A53 were announced for 2014 basically, these next 3 chips will be announced for 2016, at the end of 2015. That's why I'm saying in my other comment that ARM has basically artificially prolonged the ARMv7 lifetime by another 2 years, and it really pisses me off.

    Because if it meant that from 2016 all apps and Android versions supported would be 64-bit, it would be one thing. But since these A17 chips will be effectively sold into NEW devices even in early 2016, and probably longer than that, and that means developers will have to support these 32-bit devices for at least another 3 years, until those people get rid of them.

    So we're looking at ARMv7 being supported into 2019, possibly 2020, when it could've been 2018 at most, and at that point all apps and Android versions would be 64-bit-ONLY, and drop 32-bit legacy support. All because of ARM's dumb move. Thanks ARM...
  • Wilco1 - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    An A55 variant of A17 wouldn't make much sense as it is not that much slower than A57 (based on Anand's comparison above and published frequency of A12 of 2.3GHz).

    You need to remember is there is no 64-bit mainstream yet for ARM (A53 as a standalone core will serve low-end as it is basically a faster A7). Whether ARM will add a mid-range 64-bit core depends a bit on the gap between any the future 64-bit big core and its little variant. If that gap narrows then there may not be any use for it.
  • HisDivineOrder - Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - link

    They want to continue to push out chips where 64-bit support is a premium advantage over the lower cost CPU's.

    They're going to up-sell based on that very desired feature. Watch. In no time, they'll have a 64-bit compatible version of the A17 and it'll cost a premium. Then you'll have your answer.

    It's the same reason Intel insists on selling a single CPU that doesn't have their best (non-Iris) integrated GPU despite it taking up the same space no matter what. It's because Intel wants to charge you a premium for that feature a lot of people might want.

    ARM's just learned their lessons from the big boys.
  • DanNeely - Thursday, February 13, 2014 - link

    That's not true. Intel is using different dies for the GT3 (non-iris) and GT2 variants of Haswell. GT1 chips (Pentium/Celeron) might use the same die as dual core GT2 parts instead of a GT1 version (haven't seen anything about this either way). However historically the Celeron has been a dumping ground for dies with bad regions that can't be sold as higher end models, and I've no reason to believe they've magically improved yields to the point they don't need to bin semi-faulty dies to avoid throwing them out.
  • Krysto - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    Very disappointing move from ARM, I have to say. They missed yet another chance to move completely to 64-bit ARMv8 from low-end to high-end.

    They say "platforms take 3-4 years to transitions", in this case it's because THEY are making it so. They're not prolonging the life of ARMv7 by at least 2 more years, when we could've moved to ARMv8 completely 2 years faster. That's a lot of time. I don't care what's their excuse for this move. Don't tell me it's to lower price and system requirements, because then they wouldn't have made A53 on ARMv8. It's a big strategic f-up on their part. I'd rather buy a phone with a quad-core A53 than A12 or A17 going forward.

    Maintaining the 28nm process for these chips for another year (2 would be a mistake) is reasonable. Maintaining everyone on 32-bit for 2 more years definitely isn't. This was a strategic call, and they made a bad one.
  • Wilco1 - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    You have to remember ARM only makes cores that it can sell - A17 wouldn't exist if there wasn't at least one lead partner keen to buy it. Clearly the Mediatek's of this world are more interested in an efficient and cheap 32-bit core than a 64-bit core that most likely never will run any 64-bit code (just like my old Athlon64 never ran any x64 code it its entire life - where is 64-bit Android?), and thus paying an area, cost and possibly power penalty for no benefit.

    I think ARMv7 will pretty much exist forever (like ARM7tdmi!) as I don't think everybody will jump on the 64-bit bandwagon. Especially the low and mid-end won't need it, and even in the high-end I really don't see an advantage today (as ARMv7 has PAE). I certainly expect ARMv7 to be quite popular 5 years from now, even if most mobiles have switched to 64-bit by then.
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    Even when the mid range phone/tablet arm core is 64bit, they'll still have a large number of cores designed for far lower power budgets that will likely remain 32bit for a number of years because there's precisely zero benefit to 64bit in the systems they're being used for. Reply
  • Wilco1 - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    Correct, and that includes lots of markets outside of mobiles. Small routers, printers, GPS or car infotainment do not need 64-bit. Reply
  • Morawka - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    i dont understand why the A57 isnt shipping till 2015, that's crazy. Its slower than Apple's A7 yet is taking longer and longer to fab. Reply
  • darkich - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    Not to mention the Denver cores from Nvidia.
    Those seem to be far more advanced and powerful even than the Cyclone CPU(even if only for the clock speed advantage)..and they are coming in Q3/Q4
  • Wilco1 - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    That's a mistake, that should be 2014. And A57 is much faster than Apple's A7 as it runs at a much higher frequency. Reply
  • Frenetic Pony - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    I honestly expect an ARMV8 architecture from Qualcomm to come up and beat this in every category by early next year, probably with a dual core higher ipc/clockspeed design if recent trends are anything to go by.

    But, well, ARM wins either way. Their licensing model is ace, even if both Qualcomm and Apple can beat them in actual processor design they still get their money. Then again, with them primarily vendoring to Android, which is highly ISA agnostic, if another instruction set comes along with a much better deal it's conceivable that Qualcomm could switch, given enough willpower.

    And considering Apple is first party everything I wouldn't rule out them being able to switch either. It would do better for ARM to get its first party stuff in order. Not that I'm saying the entry level market isn't big. Just that its low profit margin and runs on Android anyway.
  • Krysto - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    We'll see. From rumors I've heard about Qualcomm's fall 2014 chips, they're are moving in the "8-core" direction instead, falling into the same trap they did with the S4 Pro, when they decided they needed to release a quad-core as quickly as possible "because everyone has one", even though they were far from ready to do it, with S4 Pro being either an overheating monster, or being heavily throttled in consumer products. But hey, it was quad-core!

    I was disappointed to see them do that then, even though their dual-core S4 was kicking ass and taking names that year. I would be even more disappointed to see them fall again for the multi-core marketing, especially since the 8-core thing has been an obvious marketing ploy from day one.
  • rish95 - Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - link

    I thought Qualcomm explicitly came out and said that they have no interest in 8 core designs? Reply
  • BMNify - Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - link

    "Krysto said:even though their dual-core S4 was kicking ass and taking names that year"

    sure about that, good luck trying to "software" decode with any dual cor eanything , many quad cant do it, so bring on the Octacore and run that birds.mkv test
  • hero4hire - Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - link

    Couldn't someone run a quad +1 ala tegra3 and still have a high performance quad with the low power "idle" core? I really liked the idea of big .little but the solutions have been underwhelming at best. I do not see how 4 low power cores are truly better than 1 for a smartphone. Once you need performance just wake a big and race to sleep. Is there a technical reason a 5 core soc doesn't exist? Reply
  • Wilco1 - Thursday, February 13, 2014 - link

    We haven't yet seen big/little solutions that worked as intended. The software is now finally ready and Samsung fixed their broken hardware, so we'll have to wait for devices using big/little the proper way.

    The reason for big/little is that a little core is far more power efficient than a 5th big core. Since big cores are typically several times larger than a little core, it is reasonable to have several little cores. This also improves the range of performance for the little cores and thus power efficiency.

    Also to correct this common misconception: race to sleep is a very bad idea for power consumption. Every CPU is more power efficient at its lowest frequency than at its highest. So you only want to run at the maximum frequency when you absolutely have to. Since a little core is more efficient than a big core at any frequency, it is far better to run tasks on the little cores at low frequencies than run them on a single big core at a high frequency.
  • darkich - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    Why no mention yet of the today announced MediaTek SoC with these cores? (4 A17+4 A7).
    I hope it gets some attention here on AT
  • Krysto - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    Since Anandtech didn't mention it, here's a bit from SemiAccurate:

    > The new companion to the A17 is called the Mali-DP500 DPU or Display Processing Unit, yay new acronyms. ARM describes this one as “Processing pixels to the screen. Securing content up to the glass.” so you know it has DRM top to bottom. Yay again?

    Great. ARM is bringing DRM to the masses! Effing great. Thanks again, I really can't wait to not touch any device with a ten-foot pole using this chip.
  • iwod - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    Is that an option? Or Comes with A17 by default. Reply
  • eric appla - Saturday, February 15, 2014 - link

    Hi, I'm not sure how to contact you guys directly so i try here. I am very interested in comparison of chipsets when it comes to codec HW support. for example support for VP8. With WebRTC picking up so quickly this is becoming very relevant. I'll be very interesting to read more about which products support it and which not Reply
  • OreoCookie - Monday, February 17, 2014 - link

    I'm surprised how everybody is up in arms about the A17 not being 64 bit. First of all, ARM works with its licensees to see what they want ARM to build, and until Apple released the A7, nobody in the mobile ecosystem was seriously thinking of 64 bit as being a pressing need. On the other hand, they saw the A15 as an unpopular part compared to its competition, so they acted on it and designed a better, more energy efficient alternative. The A12 and A17 are significantly more powerful than the A53 -- performance is not determined by the 64 vs. 32 bit but IPC and clocks. Also, the A12 (and thus, also the A17 I presume) has PAE which means it can address more than 4 GB of RAM.

    Right now, iOS is the only mobile OS which runs 64 bit natively and Google has yet to make an announcement when they will be able to make the transition. And even if they make the transition, since Android apps run on top of a VM, it's not clear to me whether and how big the obstacles are here.

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