ARM Announces New Quad-Core A15 Hard Macro Chips


Your phone/tablet is about to be outdated. But so goes the Android life, I suppose. It moves fast. A speed pushed forward by not only smartphone manufacturers, but chipset OEM’s as well.

Today, ARM has announced the next generation of their Cortext series chips with the first implementation of the A15 in a quad-core hard macro layout. You may remember a few benchmarks a while back where Qualcomm’s dual-core S4 chipset (comparable to the A15 architecture) went up against the quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor (based on the older A9 architecture) and in many cases, that little dual-core, based on a 28-nanometer process, bested the quad. Now, just imagine those benchmarks when you throw in a quad-core A15 into the mix and (shudder), I just got goosebumps.

Apparently, ARM has designed the new quad-core A15 for manufacturers to easily add to their chips with little fuss. No word on who will jump on this new tech (or even if we really need something so powerful in our tablets/phones) but here’s to hoping we see something soon. Full press release below.

Power-optimized implementation of quad-core hard macro on leading 28nm process

CAMBRIDGE, UK – April 17, 2012– ARM today announced the availability of a high performance, power-optimized quad-core hard macro implementation of its flagship ARM® Cortex™-A15 MPCore™ processor.

The ARM Cortex-A15 MP4 hard macro is designed to run at 2GHz and delivers performance in excess of 20,000DMIPS, while maintaining the power efficiency of the Cortex-A9 hard macro. The Cortex-A15 hard macro development is the result of the unique synergy arising from the combination of ARM Cortex processor IP, Artisan® physical IP, CoreLink™ systems IP and ARM integration capabilities, and utilizes the TSMC 28HPM process.

The low leakage implementation, featuring integrated NEON™ SIMD technology and floating point (VFP), delivers an extremely competitive balance of performance and power and is ideal for wide array of high-performance computing applications for such as notebooks through to power-efficient, extreme performance-orientated network and enterprise devices.

The hard macro was developed using ARM Artisan 12-track libraries and the recently announced Processor Optimization Pack™ (POP) solution for the Cortex-A15 on TSMC 28nm HPM process. This follows the recent announcement of a broad suite of POPs for all Cortex-A series processors (see ARM Expands Processor Optimization Pack Solutions for TSMC 40nm and 28nm Process Variants, 16th April 2012)

Full configuration and implementation details will be presented at the Cool Chips conference (18-20 April) in Yokohama, Japan. Further information is contained in an accompanying blog.

“For SoC designers looking to make a trade-off between the flexibility offered by the traditional RTL-based SoC development strategy and a rapid time to market, with ensured, benchmarked power, performance and area, an ARM hard macro implementation is an ideal, cost-effective solution,” said Jim Nicholas, vice president of Marketing, processor division, ARM. “This new Cortex-A15 hard macro is an important addition to our portfolio and will enable a wider array of partners to leverage the outstanding capabilities of the Cortex-A15 processor.”


Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  2. Heh, everything is obsolete now. That’s just disheartening. 

    1. Curse you Moore’s Law. Oh well, at least we have Mission Impossible and Star Trek TOS and many others to help us appreciate the 60s. Funny how an ipad, an iPhone and an iPod touch are probably more sophisticated than the computers that landed us on the moon.

      1. probably? they are LEAGUES ahead of those computers. my TI-83 Plus is more sophisticated than those computers, and that is NOT a joke.

        1. Yeah, Toyota even has a radio comercial that says your basic car/truck has more computers than the space shuttle that went to the moon. 

          1.  just nit picking….  but the shuttle didn’t go to the moon.  :-)

    2.  If you buy any tech without realizing that it all will be obsolete by the time it hits the consumer market, then you haven’t been paying attention

    3. By the time devices come out with these chips, you’ll probably want to replace your phone anyway, even if you just bought it now. You won’t see phones with this until the 2nd half of 2013.

    4. cant really say a device is obsolete when there is no product yet available for purchase to render them obsolete…

      That’s like buying a brand new car and calling it obsolete because a new model will be out next year.

  3. *Phonegasm*

  4. I just got aroused. Damn

  5. quad core S4 please

  6. Yes but how well does it play with LTE?

  7. …it’s time to bring on the 40000 batteries!!!

    1. did even read the article ? :p Won’t need a bigger battery, at least not because of the CPU.

      “while maintaining the power efficiency of the Cortex-A9 hard macro”


    Aside from the asinine comment, I’m a little excited if they have some quad core a15 devices next October (which I’m sure they will). My upgrade falls in October of next year, currently I am happy with my DROID RAZR, but eventually the aging circuitry and evolution of Android devices will make it a g1 in terms of specs, I will not diss the g1 since I owned one while on T-Mobile and fell in love with android at the time.

  9. Apple’s chip must really suck if ARM can produce a chip 10 times more powerful !!

    1. Apple’s chip is an ARM chip…

  10. This means nothing to major AP manufacturer: Nvidia, Qualcomm, TI and Samsnug. All of them prefer soft macro for their own optimization.

  11. Yawn, what I have now is fast enough for what I do.  This will be faster but probably use more power too so I don’t need it.

    1. 28nm quad core, it will use much less power…

      1. It’s not just about the size.  Actually it’s more to do with voltage which is less when size is less.  But higher clock speeds can cancel that out.

  12. I hate when people just throw around the word obsolete…

  13. I am looking forward to laptops running these chips instead of phones and tablets. Nothing I do on my phone requires quad core, or even dual core, but these chips would rock in a laptop running Windows 8, Chrome OS, or maybe Android if they ever go the desktop route. Quad core 2ghz arm processor on a 6 cell 4400mAh battery and I’d be set for a few years.

  14. It will be in the Galaxy S IV released in Q3.


  15. Of course we need it. MOAR POWER!


    1. That will never happen.

      1. you shouldn’t be on a technological website with that attitude 

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