Arm announces the first Armv9 CPUs with 30% more performance

Graphic depicting the three new Cortex CPUs based on Armv9

Back in March, Arm introduced the Armv9 architecture, the successor to the 10-year-old Armv8 technology. Today, the company introduced the first CPU designs based on the new architecture, and it's promising big performance improvements.

First, at the top of the range, is the Cortex-X2, which is promising a 30% performance increase over the first-generation Cortex-X1. This CPU can be used for both smartphones and laptops, and ARM actually touts a 40% performance advantage over "mainstream laptop silicon", which is referring to an Intel Core i5-1135G7. In phones, we've mostly seen Cortex-X1 chips used in a cluster with three high-performance cores like the Cortex-A78, but laptop OEMs can combine up to eight Cortex-X2 cores for maximum performance. What's more, the resulting processor can support up to 16MB of L3 cache.

Image with text detailing the improvments made to the Cortex-X2 CPU

Up next is the Cortex-A710 CPU, which is the first "big" CPU based on Armv9, promising a 30% improvement in energy efficiency. The focus of these cores is sustained performance, so the energy efficiency is still significant, and there's also a 10% performance uplift, and twice the machine learning performance compared to the previous generation.

Finally, there's the Cortex-A510, and this one is a major update because the last "little" CPU Arm made was the Cortex-A55 four years ago. The Cortex-A510 promises a 35% performance increase and 20% more energy efficiency compared to its predecessor, in addition to three times better performance for machine learning. Arm says these cores can now offer similar levels of performance to its big cores from a few years ago.

Image with text depciting the improvements made in the Cortex-A510 CPU

In addition to this, Arm has also reiterated that all of its Cortex-A CPU cores, big or little, will be exclusively 64-bit by 2023, something it had already mentioned.

Aside from CPUs, though, Arm also introduced new GPUs to go alongside them, across different price tiers. First, the Mali-G710 is its premium GPU, promising 20% more performance for general compute tasks, 20% more power efficiency, and 35% better machine learning. Arm focuses on the gaming experience, promising better lighting and ray tracing, more complex geometry and shading, and higher refresh rates. There's a new Command Stream Frontend (CSF), which improves the way tasks are handled to reduce CPU overhead and allow the GPU to be used for more tasks. It can be configured with anywhere between 7 and 16 shader cores, and each core also doubles the performance of what was offered in the Mali-G78.

Image with text detailing the improvements in the Mali-G710 GPU

Then there's the Mali-G610, which is a "sub-premium" GPU. It supports the same features as the Mali-G710, but it only has between one and six shader cores, and the goal is to help drive the adoption of these new technologies in the more mainstream market.

Then there are the lower-end GPUs, starting with the Mali-G510, which succeeds the Mali-G57. It promises a 100% performance boost and machine learning uplift, plus 22% more energy savings. Meanwhile, the Mali-G310 offers a 6x performance improvement for texturing, 4.5x improvement for Vulkan, and 2x performance for "Android UI content". That's compared to the previous-generation Mali-G31, which is three years old by now. These GPUs still have features like CSF from the Mali-G710.

Graphic and text detailing how the new Command Stream Frontend works in Mali GPUs

In addition to all this, Arm also introduced the CoreLink CI-700 Coherent Interconnect and CoreLIink NI-700 Network-on-Chip Interconnect, which help bring all these components together. These new components support Armv9 features such as Memory Taggin Extension, along with bandwidth, latency, and security enhancements.

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