In fact it’s been more than eight months since ARM announced the technology to enable energy efficient systems composed of architecturally compatible processors with different power-performance points (and considerably longer since my hair began disappearing ).
During that time however, much feverish work has been going on across ARM and in conjunction with partners including Linaro and a number of EDA and silicon partners to ensure that the tools, models, software and systems are in place to enable the first big.LITTLE processing-based systems to come to fruition. And the buzz around the technology has continued across the industry with the term big.LITTLE becoming firmly associated in the media and wider industry with ARM low power expertise.
Earlier this month at the Design Automation Conference (DAC) ARM demonstrated the technology and some of the tools which have been optimized to enable big.LITTLE system development. While at the Linaro Connect event, Linaro was demonstrating the results of its development.
At the big.LITTLE launch last October we announced a number of silicon Partners who had licensed the CortexTM-A15 and Cortex-A7 processors with a view to building big.LITTLE processing-based systems. They included Broadcom, Freescale, Hisilicon, LG Electronics, Samsung, ST-Ericsson, and Texas Instruments. A number of other silicon partners have since taken licenses, the most recent being Renesas.
Renesas announced today that they have licensed the Cortex-A15 and Cortex-A7 processors with a view to using big.LITTLE processing “to create a new generation of turbo charged applications processors, communications processors and LTE / HSPA+ multi-mode smartphone platforms with ultra-high performance and extended battery life.”
In the below video ARM's Nandan Nayampally talks about Renesas and big.LITTLE.
With the amount of work ongoing across the complete ARM ecosystem it will not be long before we see the first real big.LITTLE processing systems appearing. There is no doubt that the industry will be eagerly watching to see if combining a Cortex-A15 and a Cortex-A7 processor in a big.LITTLE system can indeed reduce energy consumption of the main processor by up to 70 percent, and thereby herald the next generation of ARM’s low power leadership.
Looking back, it seems quite a lot has happened in the last eight months after all, and maybe time isn’t flying by as fast as I thought. Perhaps instead it may be more appropriate to misquote the late British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson’s famous phrase: “a week is long time in ARM”.
Alan Tringham, Senior Corporate Marketing Manager, ARM, Since joining ARM in 2000 Alan has been responsible for marketing communications for the company’s processor division, and more recently its expansion into the embedded space where the ARM processor architecture, and its growing number of supporters, looks poised to consolidate the market.
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