ARM pitches Cortex-A8 CPU at 65nm era

Focus on media and security

UK chip designer ARM yesterday debuted its latest high-performance, low-power microprocessor for mobile phones and other handheld devices.

The Cortex-A8 is based on the ARMv7 architecture. It incorporates Java acceleration technology, signal processing extensions to improve media decoding, and adds a security engine to support DRM and secure online transactions.

The processor can execute instructions in parallel, though ARM didn't specify how many can be pipelined simultaneously. ARM will offer designs based on either 16KB or 32KB of L1 cache and a customer-specified L2 cache. Geared toward 90nm and 65nm fabrication processes, Cortex-A8 will run at up to 600MHz in low-power applications but clock to 1GHz in more performance-sensitive roles.

ARM said the chip's power-management facilities, which include the part's Intelligent Energy Manager (IEM) and "advanced leakage control", allow it to consume less than 300mW when fabbed at 65nm.

The Cortex-A8 core has already been licensed to Freescale, Matsushita, Samsung and Texas Instruments, ARM said. Its other major licensee, Intel, was notable by its absence, which may indicate the chip giant is indeed pursuing a plan to brings its x86 architecture into the handheld market, as it hinted at Intel Developer Forum in August. ®

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