Arm announced its second-generation DynamIQ “big core,” the Cortex-A76, as well as a new Mali-G76 GPU and the Mali-V76 VPU with support for 8K UHD resolution.
Cortex-A76 Brings “Laptop Performance”
According to Arm, its CPUs have seen consistent 20%+ performance gains every year without compromising battery life, in contrast to x86 laptop CPUs, which have seen single-digit percentage improvements every year. The company concludes that this level of progress is one of the main reasons why Microsoft has taken an interest in porting Windows 10 to Arm chips. Arm also noted that Windows 10 laptops running its chips can last over 20 hours on a full charge.
The new Cortex-A76 promises an even larger 35% increase in performance compared to last year’s Cortex-A75. On laptops it promises an even larger increase in performance, at least in a synthetic Aarch64 SpecInt2K6 benchmark. Presumably further optimization in firmware and software (Windows 10) also played a large role here.
If the Cortex-A76’s 2x increase in overall performance over Cortex-A73 is real, then Cortex-A76 laptops may be the first true contenders to both Intel and AMD in the laptop market. The CPU could be ideal for Chromebooks and Always-On Connected Windows 10 laptops with long battery life.
The new CPU core IP is also 40% more efficient compared to the previous generation, assuming the performance level remains the same. On the 7nm process, which Arm’s customers are targeting, the CPU promises clock speeds over 3GHz.
Due to its support for INT8 operations and other improvements, Cortex-A76 will also be able to deliver 4x inference performance. That means machine learning (ML) models will run four times as fast as on previous Arm CPUs, but it doesn’t mean it’s a replacement for Arm’s Machine Learning Processor (MLP), which promises much higher inference performance.
Additionally, Cortex-A76 brings an optimized memory system that will be isolated from the main operating system via TrustZone technology.
Mali-G76 GPU And Mali-V76 VPU
Arm also announced new GPU and VPU designs. The new Mali-G76 GPU comes with three execution engines per shader core, dual texture mapper, configurable 2-4 slices of L2 cache, and support for up to 20 “cores” in devices. The new GPU promises promises 30% increased efficiency compared to Arm’s last-generation Mali GPU, which should lead to a 1.5x increase in mobile gaming performance.
The Mali-V76 VPU doubles the decode performance over Arm’s previous VPU IP, enabling support for decoding 8K videos at 60 fps or four 4K videos at 60 fps. It can also support 16 1080p streams, enabling the creation of 4x4 video walls, which are popular in the Chinese market. Given the VPU’s high performance, Arm says it’s also ready for higher-resolution VR and AR applications.