ARM already has a range of difference cores for all market segments and niches, but there is always room for improvement, so it has unveiled an all new core for mid-range devices.
The Cortex A12 should replace the venerable A9 core, which has powered most high-end and mid-range phone dating back to early 2011. It is said to be about 40 percent faster at the same clocks, it is based on the ARMv7 instruction set and it can address more memory, making 4- or 6-gigabyte tablets possible.
The GPU of choice for the new chip is the new Mali-T622, which should be more than capable of dealing with high-def displays used in new smartphones and tablets. In addition, ARM’s big.LITTLE technology is also supported, which means the A12 could be combined with A7 cores to boost power efficiency.
Interestingly, ARM and Globalfoundries will optimize the A12 for GloFo’s 28nm SLP High-K metal gate process.
The A15 is a pretty powerful core, some might say it is even too powerful for 28nm, since it can be a power hog. The A12 should bridge the gap between the A15 and A9 quite nicely, but don’t expect A12-based chips to show up anytime soon.