What Arm’s New CPUs and GPUs Mean for 2023


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Arm’s new CPUs and GPUs hint at an interesting 2023

Chip design kingpin Arm announced its 2023 CPU and GPU designs yesterday. This is important because everyone from Qualcomm and Samsung to Mediatek and smaller Chinese players are using Arm’s silicon designs. in their processors to varying degrees. The latest announcements point to a potential upheaval in 2023:

  • Arm announced two new processors (large and mid-core) as well as a slightly improved version of its current-generation small processor core. All three are 64-bit designs only out of the box.
  • Saying that, the tiny kernel can be configured with optional 32-bit support if needed. In contrast, the medium core used in 2022 flagship processors offered 32-bit support by default.
  • Arm is clearly pushing for a 64-bit Android-only future, having announced that intention in 2020, but we could theoretically see 64-bit-only phones in 2023. The company clearly wants to encourage that direction if it does 32-bit support for a option rather than the default.
  • Other players in the ecosystem are also pushing in this direction. For example, the Play Store requires all apps to support 64-bit. We’ve also seen a Xiaomi/Oppo/Vivo app store alliance announce this requirement in China.
  • There is at least one major advantage to a 64-bit-only future. Chip designers like Arm can remove the silicon needed to support 32-bit operations. This freed up space can be used either to make a smaller, more efficient chip or to strengthen things in general.
  • For what it’s worth, Apple already moved to a 64-bit iPhone ecosystem only in 2017. One problem was that older games without a 64-bit update no longer worked. Expect the same issue for older 32-bit Android apps, especially those you downloaded from other sources.
  • Still, we’re now in a position where we could theoretically see 64-bit Android-only phones in 2023. These will likely be limited to flagships.

Will mobile ray tracing grow?

  • Arm also announced a new family of GPUs, with the Immortalis G715 being the most interesting and powerful silicon.
  • Along with a claimed 15% performance boost and 15% efficiency boost, the new GPU delivers hardware-accelerated ray tracing on mobile. For the uninitiated, ray tracing is a graphics technique used to deliver better lighting, shadow, and reflection effects. Check out a ray tracing demo herebut on a powerful PC with Nvidia RTX graphics.
  • Arm claims its approach to ray tracing is 300% faster than software-based ray tracing. This is by no means a surprise. It’s kind of like a graphics card manufacturer saying that their latest card offers much better gaming performance than a game running on the CPU alone.
  • What’s interesting, however, is that the company claims the technology requires 4% of the shader’s core area. In other words, it’s a small hardware addition in terms of silicon space.

Temper your expectations

  • Samsung already beat Arm to the fist with the Exynos 2200 chipset earlier this year, however. The processor, which powers the Galaxy S22 series phones in Europe, does indeed offer hardware support for ray tracing via its AMD GPU.
  • But Arm’s backing remains a big issue given the company’s positioning as a neutral player. So any company that wants to build a chipset with hardware-enabled ray tracing can do so. We expect Mediatek to use this GPU as it has been the only chipmaker to use Arm’s latest flagship GPUs for the past few years.
  • Does this mean we’ll finally see more ray-tracing enabled phones in 2023? Almost certainly.
  • And does that mean we’ll have games with tech support next year? We wouldn’t bet on that just yet.
  • Mediatek and Samsung only count as one relatively small slice of the premium Android phone pie. The major player in this regard is Qualcomm. So we can’t see many mobile developers jumping on the ray tracing bandwagon if the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 lacks this feature. And you can surely bet on impressive adoption if Apple ever supports it on its iPhones.

Overview

📱 In-depth analyzes of the Arm Cortex-X3 and Cortex-A715 processors show that faster and more efficient processor designs are on the way (Android Authority).

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