Arm’s Largest Release Yet: Total Compute Brings 3 CPUs and 4 GPUs to the TableMay 27, 2021 by Jake Hertz
Arm's new suite for its Total Compute solutions platform includes three new CPUs and four new GPUs and promises improvements in performance, security, and developer access.
Recently, Arm has spent a lot of time in the headlines. Just last month, the company released its Armv9 architecture after ten years of Armv8. Between this and its impending takeover by NVIDIA, there has been no shortage of activity in Arm’s world, yet this hasn’t slowed it down in the slightest.
Arm's Armv9 architecture. Image used courtesy of Arm
Now, Arm is making news again with the release of its Total Compute solutions, a new suite of solutions including three new CPUs and four new GPUs. This article will look at what Arm’s goals are with Total Compute and the hardware that will attempt to achieve these goals.
Performance and Security
With the release of Total Compute, Arm has made it abundantly clear that their goal for the solution was to maximize compute performance, system security, and developer access.
Total Compute approaches the challenge of maximizing performance by evaluating performance on a system level instead of on a component level. By analyzing how interconnected data and to compute performs between IP blocks, Total Compute can optimize different devices for different workloads, improving performance without requiring more power or area space.
Each IP block in a Total Compute device claims to be developed with a common underlying architectural approach for performance, efficiency, and data exchange, allowing for harmonious interaction and operation.
Total Compute security implementation. Image used courtesy of Arm
Security in the Total Compute suite is built from low-level hardware to the OS and applications running on each device. Arm has been collaborating with partners on a foundational level to create standards for common security frameworks and consistent implementations in hardware and firmware.
Arm has also taken architectural approaches to security, implementing 64-bit, Pointer Authentication Codes, Branch Target Identification, and Memory Tagging Extensions.
As Arm puts it, these approaches work to “raise the exploitation threshold through, first, improving software resilience to attacks and, second, stopping software vulnerabilities at the source before they can cause harm.”
CPUs and GPUs
When it comes to the Cortex CPUs, Arm is calling their new Cortex-X2 its most powerful CPU to date, with the ability to increase performance in smartphones by 30%.
Meanwhile, the Cortex-A710 is the company's first "big" CPU, offering a 30% improvement in energy efficiency along with a 10% improvement in performance compared to the Cortex-A78.
The final CPU in this release is the Cortex-A510, which is the company's first high efficiency "LITTLE" core in four years. With the device comes 35% general performance improvements and over 300% improvements in ML performance compared to similar Arm offerings.
Each of these CPUs offers a variety of features and specs, which is covered more in-depth here.
Arm Mali-G710 is the company’s highest-performing GPU ever. Image used courtesy of Arm
As for the GPUs, the first is its Mali-G710, which claims to be Arm's highest performing GPU. It claims to provide up to 20% performance improvements in smartphones and Chromebooks running compute-intensive applications, such as gaming, and 35% improvement in various ML-related tasks.
Complimenting the G710 is the lower-end Mali-G610, which includes features of the G710 but at a lower price point.
The G610 is followed up by Mali-G510, which offers users a balance between performance and efficiency, delivering 100% performance improvements, 22% energy savings, and 100% ML improvements for mid-range smartphones and premium smart TVs.
Finally, the final GPU that is being released is the Mali-G310. This GPU offers the highest performance at the smallest area cost. The G310 brings the Valhalla architecture and high-quality graphics to lower-cost devices such as entry-level smartphones, AR devices, and wearables.
A Full Solution Set
With Total Compute, Arm is attempting to provide solutions that fit various user needs and any combination of devices, from low-end smartphones to AR/VR and laptops.
With three new CPUs, four new GPUs, and an improved focus on security, performance, and developer access, Arm's Total Compute seems well poised to make waves in the industry.
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