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When you think about the parts of our electronic devices that consume the most power, the screen and processor usually spring to mind. However, data transfer – either within the device or over the waves (i.e. to cloud storage providers) – is consuming more and more power.
Scientists at the National University of Singapore (NUS) have come up with an innovative technique that promises to reduce the amount of energy consumed during memory-intensive processes by up to 80%. In other words, a fivefold improvement in efficiency over current solutions when bits travel on silicon.
They came up with a new type of network-on-chip that decreases quality a little bit, but also reduces power consumption significantly. This is achieved by adjusting the amplitude of the transmitted signal dynamically; using conventional values for mission-critical tasks to ensure maximum accuracy and lower values for greater power reductions.
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Smarter than usual
The example provided by the team was that of imperceptible video quality degradation when full quality is unnecessary, for example when the user looks away from the screen, when ambient light is low or when battery life is short.
Similar scenarios are also applicable to more powerful (and power hungry) platforms such as desktop PCs, NAS boxes, laptops or even servers, but the key opportunity is to enable a full computer vision system – one that can replicate the human vision system while being viable from a power perspective.
The stated goal of the research is to build “a new breed of low-power smart cameras that could operate almost perpetually under the tight power budget extracted from the environment such as via a centimeter-sized solar cell”.
It's unclear when the technology will be rolled out for more practical use cases, but given TSMC – which manufactures chips for AMD, Nvidia and Qualcomm – supports the project for chip fabrication, we wouldn’t be surprised if it was sooner rather than later.
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Arm has unveiled its next generation mobile CPU the Cortex-A78 and GPU the Mali-G78 which will be used to power the flagship smartphones of 2021.
The UK-based company provides the chip designs that Qualcomm, Huawei, Samsung and other chipmakers license and then use to to create their own customized system-on-a-chip designs that are found in high-end Android smartphones, tablets and now even laptops such as Microsoft's Surface Pro X.
The new Arm Cortex-A78 CPU will provide increased performance gains as well as greater power efficiency. According to Arm, the new CPU is its most efficient Cortex-A CPU ever designed for mobile devices. The Cortex-A78 will also be able to deliver more immersive 5G experiences as the result of a 20 percent increase in sustained performance over Cortex-A77-based devices with a 1-watt power budget.
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The performance-per-watt of the chip will make it better suited for the greater overall computing needs of foldable devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Fold and devices with multiple screens like the LG V60.
Cortex-X Custom program and Mali-G78
Arm also announced a new engagement program called the Cortex-X Custom program which will give its partners the option of having more flexibility and scalability to increase performance. This will allow its partners to develop solutions for providing the ultimate performance for specific use cases.
The Arm-Cortex-X1 is the program's first CPU as well as the most powerful Cortex CPU to date. It features a 30 percent peak performance increase over the Cortex-A77 and offers an even more competitive solution for flagship smartphones as well as large-screen devices.
Last year Arm introduced the Mali-G77 GPU based on its new Valhall architecture and the company's new Mali-G78 builds on the advancements it made to deliver a 25 percent increase in graphics performance over its predecessor. The new GPU supports up to 24 cores and will help extend the battery life of mobile devices.
Finally, based on demand from partners, Arm made the decision to introduce a new sub-premium tier of GPUs. The first GPU in this new tier is the Arm Mali-G68 which supports up to 6 cores and has all the latest features from the Mali-G78.
It will still be some time before the Arm's partners begin to release chips based on its new designs but based on the information the company released, flagship smartphones in 2021 will likely have improved battery life, graphics and 5G performance.
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Via The Verge