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ARM announces 16nm Cortex-A72 CPU and Mali-T880 GPU

ARM has announced a new CPU and GPU for its mobile processor line-up, the Cortex-A72 and Mali-T880, which both offer huge increases in energy efficiency.
February 3, 2015

ARM has just announced several new and improved technologies for future mobile devices, including its latest Cortex-A72 CPU and powerhouse Mali-T880 graphics processing unit.

Starting with the new CPU design, the Cortex-A72 is another high performance CPU core design, built on the same ARMv8 architecture as the current Cortex-A53 and A57. According to the release, the Cortex-A72 offers up to 3.5 times the peak performance of the last generation Cortex-A15 CPU, but consumes 75 percent less power. It should also surpass the Cortex-A53’s performance by more than 50 percent.


Part of this power saving comes from the move to a 16nm FinFET manufacturing design, which will improve energy efficiency over the current 20nm designs and/or allow for clock speeds up to 2.5GHz. ARM is also looking to improve its big.LITTLE architecture to make the most of the Cortex-A72, which the company believes can further reduce energy consumption by another 40 to 60 percent, depending on the workload.

Cortex A72 ARM Big Little 2015

To help accomplish this, ARM is introducing its new CoreLink CCI-500 cache coherent interconnect. Along with reducing system power by enhanced big.LITTLE integration, the CCI-500 also improves system bandwidth for faster processor memory performance, up 30 percent compared with the CCI-400, and higher resolution content.

CoreLink CCI-500 ARM SoC 4k

That’s not all, ARM has also announced its latest high-end Mali-T880 GPU design. The T880 is said to offer almost double the performance of the current high-end Mali-T760, found in SoCs such as the Samsung Exynos 5433. Again, rather substantial energy efficiencies have been made, with ARM boasting a 40 percent energy reduction for the same workloads.

ARM Mali T-880 T-82 2015

Combined with an energy efficient Cortex-A53 big.LITTLE companion and ARM’s Mali-V550 video and Mali-DP550 display processors, the Cortex-A72 and Mali-T880 make up ARM’s latest POP IP specifically designed for 16nm FinFET manufacturing. This reference design will likely find a home in a number of upcoming mobile devices.