Computex 2023 | ARM details v9.2 TCS23 architecture with up to 14 cores and 15% gains, Cortex-X4 with 3.4 GHz clock along with 10-core 5th Gen Immortalis-G720 GPU unveiled
ARM introduced its next generation v9.2 CPU core design at Computex 2023 featuring the new Cortex-X4 prime core. According to ARM, the Cortex-X4 is slated to offer a 15% gain over the Cortex-X3 when subjected to the same workloads and operated at the same clocks.
The ARM v9.2 architecture now uses DynamIQ Shared Unit (DSU)-120 that builds on DSU-110 used in the previous generation. The ARM v9.2 architecture can now scale up to 14 cores with the Total Compute Solution (TCS)23 cluster with support for up to 24 MB or 32 MB of shared L3 cache. SoC vendors have the freedom to configure the specifications of this cluster as per need.
The 14 cores can be configured as required among the Cortex-X4 as well the new Cortex-A720 and Cortex-A520 clusters. For instance, laptops can use SoCs with 10 Cortex-X4s and 4 Cortex-A720s while flagship smartphones can leverage a hybrid 1x Cortex-X4, 4x Cortex-A720 and 4x Cortex-A520 cluster, though most vendors are likely to stick with eight core designs.
ARM also said that the Cortex-X4 is built for 40% higher power efficiency, is scalable with up to 2 MB per-core L2 cache and is capable of hitting 3.4 GHz clocks.
ARM Cortex-A720 and Cortex-A520
The Cortex-A720 can deliver 20% more power efficiency compared to last year's Cortex-A715, according to ARM. Similarly, the Cortex-A520 is 22% more efficient than the Cortex-A510 and is the smallest core in the entire TCS23 cluster.
The Cortex-A720 CPU is not only meant for smartphones but also for other devices such as set-top boxes, smart TVs, etc. Therefore, ARM is offering vendors the ability to match the area footprint of an entry-level Cortex-A720 to the Cortex-A78 while still allowing for up to 10% performance gains.
ARM has transitioned to 64-bit only LITTLE cores with the Cortex-A520. Overall, the new LITTLE cores can be up to 8% faster than the Cortex-A510.
Immortalis-G720, Mali-G720, and Mali-G620
On the graphics side, ARM is moving on from the Valhall architecture to a new GPU design called 5th Gen. Leveraging the 5th Gen GPU architecture is the new Immortalis-G720 alongside new Mali-G720 and Mali-G620 GPUs. ARM says that 5th Gen can offer up to 15% higher peak performance and 15% higher performance-per-Watt on average.
5th Gen makes low-level use of the TCS23 clusters and caches to get maximum performance. ARM said that 5th Gen, in its first year, will target aspects such as scene complexity, better graphics, and memory system power. For instance, the new Deferred Vertex Shading Engine is poised to allow for less memory bandwidth requirements thereby leading to lesser power and heat.
While the Immortalis-G720 can be configured with 10 cores or more, the Mali-G720 can be equipped from 6 to 9 cores. The Mali-G620, on the other hand, supports 5 cores or less.
The new 5th Gen GPUs now offer increased performance for 4x2 and 4x4 variable rate shading (VRS), optimized 2x MSAA, and improved support for Vulkan dynamic buffers.
ARM said that it is working with Tencent and MediaTek to drive industry adoption of Smart Global Illumination (SmartGI) for ray tracing. The company is also working with Epic Games to bring Unreal Engine 5 desktop renderer to Android.
The ARM Cortex-X4 and the v9.2 architecture can be expected in 2024 flagship phones. We are already seeing reports of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 likely packing two Cortex-X4 cores while the upcoming MediaTek Dimensity 9300 could offer as many as four X4 cores.