ARM now has 3 different designs for the mobile market - ARM11 (slow), Cortex A8 (fast), Cortex A9 (very fast). ARM11 used by low-end smartphones today, while 99% of high-end smartphones using Cortex A8.
ARM11 Cortex A8 performance exceeds by applying cache design a much more effective. Cortex A8 has a deeper pipeline with a branch Predictions are more accurate. Cortex A8 is also capable of applying the processing of multimedia instructions better. All this brings an increase of 40% of the ARM11 design at the same clock speed. Cortex A8 and consume more power even when working at peak levels, but manage idle time is more effective to save power as a whole.
ARM Cortex A9 is the first design that implements the execution in out-of-order. Until about the early '90s, all the CPU perform the in-order processing. Key concept of processing out-of-order is to allow the processor to avoid the "stalls" or pause while that could happen when the data necessary to perform an operation not available. Rather than be stalling, but the processor will immediately fill the slot with another instruction that "could" run. Although it sounds simple like a simple process, but this place is very complex to implement in silicon is available.
Cortex A9 is also equipped with a short pipeline that helps complete instructions faster than the Cortex A8. Cortex A9 is expected to be a performance of the IPC (instructions per clock), which will significantly more than the Cortex A8 BAUK - with an increase of about 25%. And most importantly, Cortex A9 will have a better clock speed - up to 2GHz. So by combining a higher IPC, dual-core chips and higher clock speeds, Cortex A9-based smartphones are expected to significantly outperform Cortex A8 based smartphones.
Here are a few smartphones that use processors from ARM designs:
* ARM 11: iPhone 3G, HTC Hero, Legend HTC, Samsung Omnia II, Nokia N8, Nokia E7, etc.
* ARM Cortex A8: iPhone 3G, iPhone 4, iPad, Nexus, Milestone Motorola, Samsung Galaxy S, Samsung Wave, Samsung Galaxy Tabs, HTC Desire, Desire HTC HD, HTC HD7, Xperia X10, etc..
* ARM Cortex A9: Optimus Pad LG (2011), BlackBerry Playbook (2011), the iPhone 5 (rumors), Samsung Wave III (Rumor).
And the line of processors based on ARM Cortex A9 is ready to compete in the market include:
Orion is the successor of Samsung's next generation ARM Cortex A8, Samsung Hummingbird. Samsung claims that the Orion will be 5 times stronger than the Hummingbird. Orion-based dual-core ARM Cortex A9 with support for DDR3 RAM and 1MB of L2 cache achieve 45nm fabrication. If the previous Samsung products took Imagination Technologies PowerVR SGX540 through the GPU to its partners, to Orion Samsung uses the GPU quad-core Mali-400 which has been supporting OpenCL 1.1, OpenGL ES 2.0 and DirectX11. If PowerVR SGX540 on maximum Hummingbird capable of handling up to 90 polygons per second, the Mali-400 in the Orion processor capable of handling up to 532 million polygons per second (as a ratio of 220 on Snapdragon Adreno GPU only to 22 million polygons per second). Samsung Orion will be sold in Q4 2010 with devices that use it will be available in Q1 2011.
The future of their flagship product is QSD8672 model, ie dual core processors based on the latest Scorpion ARMv7 which is a modification of the Cortex A9. Smartphones that use these processors are expected to enter the market around Q3 2011. For GPU, Qualcomm still will use Snapdragon Adreno like previous generations, but with the newer version, Adreno 205 whose performance is almost equivalent to the PowerVR SGX540 on Hummingbird.
Texas Instruments or TI has announced their version of the Cortex A9, which is called OMAP4 series. TI will begin shipping in Q4 of 2010 OMAP4, and devices using OMAP4 expected to arise during Q2 2011. Although core CPUs that use will be competitive (to use the ARM Cortex A9 core, together with Samsung and Qualcomm have), but the GPU used is the PowerVR SGX540 as it has been used by Samsung for its Hummingbird product. So obviously, in terms of IT GPU step behind.
NVIDIA Tegra 2
NVIDIA has gone from ARM11 (Tegra 1) to a dual-core Cortex A9 (Tegra 2), with the Cortex A8 design phase skipping to catch up. For Tegra CPU core 2 still be able to compete with other products but the GPU is used seems to be weaker, even from PowerVR SGX540. From some testing, the latest GPU Adreno Snapdragon to surpass 205 for this GPU. On the positive side, Tegra 2 is available on the market now, and smartphones based on the Tegra 2 may be raised during Q4 2010. LG and Motorola have announced their intention to produce smartphones based on the Tegra 2 so far.