2020 was a big year for Arm CPU technology, as we announced the first ever Arm Cortex-X CPU – the Cortex-X1. This has been a tremendous success, representing a major shift in our performance trajectory and allowing our program partners to focus on ultimate performance for specific use cases. Cortex-X1 is already in silicon in Samsung LSI's Exynos 2100 SoC and Qualcomm's Snapdragon 888 5G mobile platform. Both chipsets power the Samsung Galaxy S21 range of flagship smartphones. More recently, we have seen the Google Pixel 6 launched, with the Cortex-X1 powered Google Tensor chip.
Also in 2020, we announced the Arm Cortex-A78C CPU. This is a CPU purpose-built to be part of scalable and secure compute solutions for the next-generation of laptop devices and ‘on-the-go’ devices.
We are continuing this commitment to address market-specific needs with the new Arm Cortex-X1C CPU. This is designed for scalable ‘big’ core computing. Like the Cortex-A78C, the Cortex-X1C can be part of a scalable solution for always on, always connected laptops with multi-day battery life. However, it can also target desktops through a new range of premium performance benefits. Alongside the performance uplift from Cortex-A78C, the Cortex-X1C offers enhanced security and unrivalled developer support to enable the very best protection and user experiences on laptop and desktop devices.
Across aspects of performance, power and area (PPA), the Cortex-X1C is very similar to Cortex-X1, but also adopts features from Cortex-A78C to address the needs of specific applications and devices. However, compared to Cortex-A78C, it delivers 22 percent better performance. Cortex-X1C also adopts features to enable ISA-compatible CPU cluster configurations of up to 8 big cores using an updated version of the DynamIQ Shared Unit (DSU). Utilizing Cortex-X1C means our partners can build CPU cluster configurations that effortlessly scale from high performance desktop to those that balance maximum performance and efficiency. Sustained multithreaded performance is unleashed in laptops when combining the premium performance of Cortex-X1C with the performance and efficiency balance of Cortex-A78C in a CPU cluster. Meanwhile, to truly push peak performance benefits on desktop devices, Cortex-X program partners can utilize up to 8 Cortex-X1C cores in a CPU cluster thanks to the 8 big core capabilities enabled by the DSU.
Cortex-A78C offers fantastic data and device security, with Cortex-X1C aligning with the same security features at the architecture level. Cortex-X1C adopts Pointer Authentication (PAC), which improves data and device security through minimizing the attack surface. This ensures that any data on the device is secure. PAC also significantly reduces exploits and prevents attackers from taking control of the software control flow in Return-Orientated-Programming (ROP), which reduces exploits by over 60 percent, and Jump-Orientated-Programming (JOP), which reduces exploits by over 50 percent. Reducing potential exploits is essential to ensure that the data of users are kept safe when installing third-party applications.
Cortex-X1C is designed for more demanding workloads, providing an increased L3 cache memory of 8MB and 8 big core support so it can run 8 high-performance threads in parallel. This means developers can bring more advanced application experiences to life on laptop and desktop devices. Moreover, the enhanced multi-OS support enables the speedy translation of non-Arm native binaries to bring greater performance and a seamless application experience for Arm’s extensive ecosystem.
*Armv8.3-A Pointer Authentication support and Armv8.6-A Enhanced Pointer Authentication support, excluding the optional FPAC extension.
The addition of Cortex-X1C to the Cortex-X CPU family is a further signal of Arm’s commitment to CPU designs that provide specialized processing to address different performance points and specific device markets. Through Cortex-X1C, we are providing a CPU product that addresses the drive for high performance in the next generation of premium laptop and desktop devices. At the same time, we are offering advanced security and developer support to ensure the end user can enjoy unrivaled protection and experiences on these devices. Yet again, Arm is pushing the boundaries of compute to deliver true innovation to our partners.
Arm's Laptop solutions