ARM has announced that it has successfully taped out a 28nm version of its Cortex A9 processor, and a process shrink has bumped up the specifications considerably.
While details of the new Cortex A9 chip are still scarce, PC Perspective
is reporting that the 28nm edition, which has been built in partnership with AMD spin-off GlobalFoundries, features dual-core construction and will start
at an impressive 2GHz at Vdd-10 percent before rising to 2.5GHz at Vnom.
Interestingly, a slide announcing the achievement made by ARM suggests that a "voltage overdrive
" system, presumably similar to Intel's Turbo Boost technology, means that the processor can even hit 2.8GHz when extra performance is required. It isn't currently known whether the performance boost will work across both cores or if, like Intel's equivalent, it requires one core to be disabled in order to conserve power.
It's quite an achievement, and paves they way for even more powerful smartphones from the RISC specialist. Sadly for Intel, it also demonstrates just what an uphill battle the company's smartphone-oriented Atom processors
have to compete in a market where ARM rules the roost and RISC is the norm.
So far neither ARM nor GlobalFoundries have offered a suggestion of when the new chips will be ready for mass-production, so it's hard to guess when we'll start seeing them appearing in devices. It wouldn't be unreasonable to expect the GooglePhone-after-next to come packing one of these puppies under its belt, however.
Are you pleased to see that ARM continues to push the boundaries of its processor design, or will Intel succeed in capturing the smartphone market form the long-time leader? Share your thoughts over in the forums