Following the launch of Arm’s first ever Total Compute solutions in May 2021, we are exploring how the different Premium, Performance, and Efficiency solutions types can be applied to different consumer device segments. We have already explored the smartphone segment, but in this blog we are outlining the different possible Total Compute solutions for the laptop market.
Laptop users are demanding an increasingly mobile experience, with always-on, always connected 5G experiences, and multi-day battery life. Through engineering, technology, and security innovations, Arm-based laptops – which have different examples in today’s market such as premium Windows on Arm (WoA) devices and Arm-based Chromebooks – are delivering the ultimate mobile experience users need in today’s constantly connected digital world. This is bringing advanced architecture and processor technology that enables premium mobile features and benefits to laptop devices.
The different types of Arm-based laptops offer similar benefits, but at different silicon PPA (performance, power and area) and therefore cost points. WoA devices offer exceptional performance and efficiency features geared towards maximizing productivity for users who are ‘on-the-go’. These include multi-day battery life for completely untethered productivity, instant on from an idle state, continuous connectivity through advanced LTE features or 5G, and thinner, lighter, and more thermally efficient designs that are easy to carry around and do not generate excessive heat. Like WoA, the more affordable Arm-based Chromebook devices achieve multi-day battery life. However, they also provide native app compatibility benefits with most Android apps running natively on these devices for better performance.
Arm’s Total Compute solutions offer a full suite of scalable hardware IP (including the latest Armv9 CPUs, Mali GPUs and System IP), physical IP, software, tools, and standards to build the best SoC across different consumer device markets. These solutions offer different configurations for the premium WoA laptops and Arm-based Chromebook devices. The configurations for WoA laptops represent our highest performance Total Compute solution, with a 4+4 CPU configuration of 4x Arm Cortex-X2 and 4x Arm Cortex-A710 to deliver ultimate performance. Meanwhile, Arm-based Chromebooks can use Performance solutions consisting of a 4+4 CPU configuration of 4x Cortex-A710 and 4x Arm Cortex-A510 alongside an Arm Mali-G710 GPU or Arm Mali-G510 GPU, depending on the tier of Chromebook device.
As with the Total Compute solutions for smartphones, underpinning the CPUs and GPUs in our Total Compute solutions for laptops is our System IP – CoreLink Interconnect CI-700 and NI-700. Both interconnect technologies provide improved energy efficiency and system performance to add further improvements across any Total Compute solution, whether it is targeted for WoA or Chromebook devices. Moreover, all of the CPU configurations in our Total Compute solutions are bound together by Arm’s new DSU-110, which is the backbone of any Cortex CPU cluster. This enables our partners to address different types of Arm-based laptops with different trade-offs in performance and efficiency.
For premium devices like WoA laptops, we can pack in a 4+4 CPU configuration of 4x Cortex-X2 CPUs and 4x Cortex-A710 CPUs into our most premium Total Compute solutions to tackle the most advanced performance-based use cases. We have achieved this feat by ensuring performance scaling, with up to 8 Cortex-X2 cores in a single DSU cluster and larger L3 cache support of up to 16 Megabytes. This drive for peak performance is reflected through the Cortex-X2, which is capable of delivering 40 percent single threaded performance improvements over 2020 mainstream laptop devices. Like the premium smartphone Total Compute solutions, the Cortex-X2’s peak performance is complemented by the energy-efficiency improvements of Cortex-A710, which enable sustained performance to maximize battery life. Moreover, to truly push peak performance benefits, partners could even utilize the 8x Cortex-X configuration in a CPU cluster thanks to the octacore (8 big core) capabilities enabled by the DSU.
For Arm-based Chromebooks at the higher end of the market, the most appropriate Total Compute solutions will be similar to mainstream smartphones consisting of Cortex-A710 CPUs and Cortex-A510 CPUs. Cortex-A710 balances performance with efficiency requirements across a broad range of consumer devices, including Chromebooks. The drive for efficiency is then further complemented by Cortex-A510 that boosts power efficiency by up to 20 percent. This configuration, which combines Arm big and LITTLE CPUs into a single, fully integrated solution, provides advanced compute capabilities, faster responsiveness, and increased power savings. 'LITTLE' cores are designed for maximum power efficiency, while 'big' cores are designed to provide maximum compute performance.
Moreover, the merged core architecture of the Cortex-A510 allows the CPU to be grouped into different CPU clusters to provide increased area efficiency at a higher performance point. This also provides a wide configuration range for scalability across different consumer devices and device types, such as more affordable Arm-based Chromebook devices.
The Total Compute solutions for Arm-based Chromebooks switch between our latest premium and mid-range Mali GPUs – Mali-G710 and Mali-G510. This is dependent on the features, performance, and price point of the device.
Both GPUs bring significant performance and energy-efficient uplifts compared to the previous generation of GPUs. The larger cores of the premium Mali-G710 GPU boost the overall efficiency of devices and improve performance density, so users can enjoy longer battery life for uninterrupted play or productivity on higher-end Arm-based Chromebooks. Mali-G510 adopts premium features and enhancements from Mali-G710, but also provides further features to reduce bandwidth. This gives an additional boost to performance and power consumption savings to satisfy the demand for all day battery life. It also enables more advanced user experiences and graphics across a broad range of more affordable consumer devices, like Arm-based Chromebooks.
At the same time, Mali-G510 has been designed to offer true scalability. It offers a wide range of configuration choices to achieve precise area and performance points needed by our partners across different device types. Ultimately, this means greater scalability for both GPUs to benefit the different types of Arm-based Chromebook devices.
To learn more about our Total Compute solutions, watch this new video about how they achieve accelerated performance growth across key compute workloads and use cases, and all consumer devices.
The next blog in the series explores Total Compute solutions for the home market, which features Digital Televisions (DTVs) and Set-top Boxes (STBs), so standby for this.
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