ARM Holdings Plc, the division of SoftBank Group Corp. whose technology is the most widely used in the chip industry, announced a new design that targets the personal computer and server markets dominated by Intel Corp.
The new ARM Cortex-A75, whose predecessor is at the heart many of the world’s smartphones, will increase performance by 50 percent, the Cambridge, U.K.-based company said. That step up will be crucial to find a place for it in machines that aren’t constrained by battery life and need the ability to move around huge chunks of data quickly.
“Cortex-A75 has the broadest market implications of any premium processor we’ve ever brought to market,” said Rene Haas, president of ARM’s IP Products Group.
ARM’s customers, who use its designs or create their own chips using a more basic level of the company’s technology, have so far failed to make a dent in Intel’s lead in the PC and lucrative server markets. While 50 billion ARM-based chips were shipped in the last four years, the majority sell for tens of dollars or much less. Some of Intel’s Xeon processors cost thousands.
The improvement in the A75 and a new more efficient A-55 design are also aimed at bringing more computing power to a range of devices, ARM said. That’s necessary because the increasing use of artificial intelligence software in everything from cars to television set-top boxes places more strain on the processors at the heart of such devices. Voice recognition, image recognition and other tasks that require instant manipulation of data will need strong local processing.
Future ARM-based designs will also be more flexible, which would allow for a combination of powerful and efficient processors on the same chip. For example, a set-top box that infrequently needs a burst of computing power could be equipped with a chip that has one powerful processor core an A-75 and many smaller A-55 types that could perform a number of tasks in parallel.
The new designs will start to show up in devices beginning in 2018, ARM said. Its customers include chip companies such as Qualcomm Inc. and gadget and phone makers including Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.