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[Anand] ARM's Cortex A7

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4991/arms-cortex-a7-bringing-cheaper-dualcore-more-power-efficient-highend-devices
Quote:
How do you keep increasing performance in a power constrained environment like a smartphone without decreasing battery life? You can design more efficient microarchitectures, but at some point you’ll run out of steam there. You can transition to newer, more power efficient process technologies but even then progress is very difficult to come by. In the past you could rely on either one of these options to deliver lower power consumption, but these days you have to rely on both - and even then it’s potentially not enough. Heterogeneous multiprocessing is another option available - put a bunch of high performance cores alongside some low performance but low power cores and switch between them as necessary.

Interesting that this new paradigm is the way forward.... more cores that are seperated by power requirements.
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post #2 of 6
Genius, this is one of those things that make you ask "Why hasn't this been done before?" I'd like to see something like this on laptops as well.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mott555;15393755 
Genius, this is one of those things that make you ask "Why hasn't this been done before?" I'd like to see something like this on laptops as well.

It has been done before. wink.gif

It eats into the silicon budget and laptops just don't need that low of power consumption. Mobile phones usage patterns have them on all the time but often in near idle state. Laptops generally can go to sleep when not in use. Phones cannot do this since they still need to be able to recieve calls/text. In addition, the most common state of phones is this near idle.
Edited by DuckieHo - 10/21/11 at 7:51am
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post #4 of 6
I see a definite need for it in laptops. We have several fairly new workstation laptops at work and they have at most around an hour of battery life. They need the power when plugged in at their desks, but when they're doing demos and just running PowerPoint or taking notes at a meeting, having to find a plug and get an extension cord out can be a hassle.

I guess it doesn't have to work exactly how the new ARM chips work. Having a mobile i7 that ran full-speed on all four cores when running on AC power but drops to only one core at reduced clock speed on battery power would be a nice option.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mott555;15394080 
I guess it doesn't have to work exactly how the new ARM chips work. Having a mobile i7 that ran full-speed on all four cores when running on AC power but drops to only one core at reduced clock speed on battery power would be a nice option.

Actually, it would be better to have all cores run at reduced clock speeds if there are multiple threads. Power consumption is a greater than linearly function of frequency. Generally, two cores at 1GHz use less power than one core at 2GHz. You can do this through the OS itself or a power management application for better control. You can even set up power usage profiles.

Slowing down cores is called clock gating and has been done for years (C1E, Cool and Quiet).

Shutdown down (or near) components is called power gating. Intel has done this since Nehalem. However, they are constantly working to improve it.
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post #6 of 6
OT: Does any1 happen to know the voltage ranges for a7 or a9? Or the average voltage?
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