- Arm globally unveiled its Total Compute Solutions 2023 (TCS23) platform at the Computex 2023 expo in Taipei.
- TCS23 will power the next-generation secure, intelligent (AI) and immersive (3D visual) experiences.
- Arm continues to innovate across the stack to power visual computing applications designed for 3nm nodes and supported by advanced software and toolsets.
- The next two years are going to be super-crucial for Arm as it pivots to a newer licensing model.
Leading mobile computing SoC architecture company Arm globally unveiled its Total Compute Solutions 2023 (TCS23) platform at the Computex 2023 expo, being held in Taipei from May 30 to June 2. The latest generation of TCS will power the next-generation secure, intelligent (AI) and immersive (3D visual) experiences.
Arm commenced the TCS journey in 2021 with a focus on three key aspects of SoC design – Compute Performance, Security and Software (Developer Access). This complete package helps an SoC designer to integrate Arm IP offerings across CPU, GPU and System IP (Interconnect, SLCs, MMUs) to reduce complexity, costs and time to market.
TCS23 brings optimized physical IP, new GPU and advanced software tools
Arm continues to innovate across the stack, from its Physical/Pop IP, CoreLink System IP, ARMv9 architecture CPU cluster (Cortex-X4, -A720 and -A520) to new architecture-driven 5th Gen GPU (Immortalis-G720), to power visual computing applications designed for 3nm nodes and supported by advanced software and toolsets.
- The ARM v9.2 Cortex cluster aims to deliver a double-digit performance boost with Cortex-X4 (+15%) at less power (40% lower) compared to the previous generation on the same process node.
- Many of the future premium Android solutions will be powered by the advanced 3nm process node in the coming years, which will further benefit from the TCS23 and beyond cluster advancements.
- According to Counterpoint’s foundry tracker, almost a third of the foundry smartphone AP/SoC wafer revenues in 2024 will come from the 3nm process node
- The new DynamicIQ Shared Unt (DSU-120) overall drives the demanding multi-threaded performance scaling across multiple computing devices, from smartphones and wearables to STBs to PCs, and for all premium, performance and efficiency use cases.
- Further, TCS23 is also designed to accelerate machine learning (ML) and AI workload performance ranging from 12%+ depending on the CPU core type.
System IP and GPU advancements
- The new innovations across the CoreLink CI-700 help reduce the silicon areas with a significant reduction in system interconnect latency.
- Arm is also promising optimizations to drive improved latency and bandwidth reduction. Almost 30% DRAM bandwidth/frame traffic reduction is expected, which translates to lower power, great for gaming workloads.
- These efficiency optimizations are possible with the new 5th gen GPU architecture-based Immortalis-G720 featuring deferred vertex shading (DVS).
- Almost 4x AI and ML performance boost can be achieved as well by leveraging the new GPU.
Security and software advancements
- Arm continues to innovate on security across firmware, process and TEE.
- The Memory Tagging Extension (MTE) capability increases memory safety from unsafe coded apps which normally comprise almost 75% of Android vulnerabilities.
- Arm extends support for the Android Virtualization Framework (AVF) for secure execution of codes for 64-bit-based devices.
- Newer algorithms such as QARMA3 and enhancements for Pointer Authentication (PAC) and Branch Target Identification (BTI) reduce the overheads for maintaining security performance across the cluster.
- The 9 million app developers Arm enables continue to build applications for the 64-bit architecture. For example, the China ecosystem of app developers is 100% compliant with 64-bit.
- Arm NN and Arm Compute Library offer optimization for ML workloads on Armv9 architecture, which is being used by Google apps on Android with over 100 million active users already.
Roadmap, ecosystem traction and outlook
- Arm’s TCS24 will sport a Blackhawk premium core, Chaberton high-performance core, Hayes high-efficiency core and Krake GPU.
- Arm’s overall ecosystem is the broadest and deepest considering its leading position in low-power architecture.
- Arm’s partnerships for TCS23 have mainly targeted Android-based computing devices and future Windows on Arm PCs
Source: Arm, Counterpoint Analysis
- Arm’s tighter Google (Android) partnership is key to the development and success of TCS spanning from overall SoC-Android optimizations to building robust security features to AI/ML optimizations and more.
- MediaTek and TSMC remain the key fabless and fab partners for Arm and key drivers for TCS.
- MediaTek’s entry and growth in the premium smartphone segment is great news for Arm from the TCS adoption perspective.
- MediaTek’s Dimensity 9200/9200+ was a great showcase for TCS22. The upcoming Dimensity 9300 is touted to sport four Cortex-X4 and four Cortex-A720 cores leveraging the TCS23 platform.
- Arm has also seen great traction for TCS in the Chinese ecosystem of OEMs and app developers leveraging premium MediaTek solutions.
- Samsung is another great customer/partner for Arm. It continues to grapple with its overall Exynos SoC strategy and performance and it remains to be seen how it leverages TCS23 or TCS24 for its future roadmap.
- Unlike TSMC, the Samsung LSI is not on top of the list of announcements as a key Arm partner for Cortex-X4 tapeouts on its 3nm nodes. This casts some shadow on the adoption of TCS23 by Samsung Exynos or Google Tensor in near-to- mid term.
- While Qualcomm and Apple will benefit from the new Armv9.2 cluster and system IP enhancements, they have tons of proprietary CPU customizations and in-house GPU designs and AI engines to completely leverage TCS23.
- This is one of the reasons why there has been no direct endorsement from Qualcomm or Apple for the new clusters or overall TCS23 at launch.
- Arm-based PCs is another area that has potential for growth mainly driven by Apple, Qualcomm and MediaTek.
- The next two years are going to be super-crucial for Arm as it pivots to a newer licensing model. Licensing opportunities for chipsets, especially in smartphones and PCs, have been shrinking with more vertical integration at its licensees, so the pivot makes sense but will have to wait and see.
Overall, the end-to-end system optimization provided by TCS23 with enhancements across hardware and software unlocks performance and efficiencies to power future mobile computing experiences. Arm remains a linchpin and TCS a foundational platform for the industry to build on low-power but high-performance computing experiences.