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Mighty multicore

ARM’s latest multicore processor targets high performance. By Graham Pitcher.

In the past, more computing power was squeezed from a chip simply by turning up the clock rate. But physical limits have imposed themselves on that approach. A combination of heat generated and power consumed meant it was the end of the road for the single chip processor – at least at the top of the range.
The solution was multicore processors and devices from companies such as Intel and AMD have already found their way to market in the latest pcs.
But multicore processing is also appearing in the SoC world and the first instances of this came a couple of years ago. In particular, ARM launched the ARM11 MPCore, which could be configured with up to four processors and a total processing power of 2600 Dhrystone MIPS.
Now ARM has launched another configurable multicore processor; this time, adding the device to its Cortex range. Cortex is a family of processors providing a range of solutions targeted at particular market applications. The M series comprises devices for deeply embedded designs, whilst the R series offers embedded processors for real time applications. But it’s the A series that will be the home for ARM’s latest multicore processor. A, in this instance is for application and the Cortex-A9 MPcore is designed for performance.

Graham Pitcher

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