Next year’s phones will be all about virtual reality as ARM Holdings, the company that designs the processor architecture for nearly all the mobile devices of the world, is unveiling a new type of chip in Computex Taipei 2016. The Cortex-A73 CPU and Mali-G71 GPU are designed with VR in mind, also come with improved performance and power efficiency, and naturally, are faster than the current lineup.
“The smartphone is the world’s most ubiquitous compute device, offering experiences that improve with each new product generation,” said Pete Hutton, executive vice president and president, product groups, ARM. “In 2017, we will see devices with the Cortex-A73 and Mali-G71 processors that stand out thanks to their impressive and sustained performance, and even more stunning visuals. This technology can make engaging with 4K video, virtual reality and augmented reality an everyday experience on a mobile device.”
Compared to the last year’s A72, the new Cortex-A73 is 30 percent faster and power efficient. It can maintain peak performance speeds far more than the previous chips, with the tiniest footprint yet for one of its mobile processors (below 0.65mm sq). The 10nm FinFET (one kind of 3D transistor) design of which the A73 is built on, makes it far more compact and power efficient than the company’s previous chips.
However, the even greater leap is the company’s Mali-G71, which comes with 20 percent better energy efficiency and 50 percent faster graphics performance. Built on ARM’s third generation Bifrost architecture, the G71 can spit out graphics with a low latency of 4ms. It can also amplify 4K screens with refresh rates of up to 120Hz, whereas for a decent VR experience 90Hz is a minimum. Mali-G71 comes with 32 shader cores, which is double than its predecessor, the Mali-T880.
The best part is both the processors will provide good battery life. According to ARM, top 10 companies including Mediatek, Marvell, and HiSilicon have already licensed its new chip design. As they have just started to test the chips, you’ll have to wait till next year to see them on your phone.