2016年10月25日 星期二

台積電與 Intel 競爭白熱化開始,也形成ARM 與 Intel 競爭白熱化 (From TSMC Competition With INTEL In Technology And Business To ARM Competition With INTEL)

Intel危險?蘋果A10太強、對手無法比、媲美電腦CPU

蘋果iPhone 7採用台積電(2330)代工的「A10 Fusion」處理器,備受尊崇的晶片研究機構Linley Group分析這款晶片,直呼A10太強大,把對手打到落花流水,表現甚至優於部分電腦CPU。

巴倫(Barronˋs)21日報導,Linley Group主管Linley Gwennap報告指出,蘋果砸錢研發客製化CPU成果豐碩,iPhone 7性能優於其他旗艦機,甚至超越部分低階電腦。iPhone 7搭載A10 Fusion處理器,為蘋果首款採取big.LITTLE大小核的四核心晶片,內含兩顆高效能核心「Hurricane」,表現比前代高出35%;另兩顆核心「Zephyr」則更為省電。Hurricane和Zephyr都是蘋果的客製化核心。

Gwennap指出,Hurricane徹底擊垮對手。他引用Geekbench評比,A10處理器的單核跑分,遠勝三星電子Exynos 8890、高通驍龍820、華為麒麟955。儘管三星和華為在多核跑分表現出色,Gwennap說,多餘核心對應用程式沒有幫助,一般只需一或兩顆核心就能運作。

A10表現驚人是因為蘋果本錢雄厚,晶片比別家更大。處理器的晶粒(die)區域要價高昂,Hurricane卻大量使用,Hurricane面積為4.18平方公厘,尺寸約為其他廠商高階處理器的兩倍。蘋果不賣晶片賣手機,在晶粒多花個幾美元不打緊,只要能提高整體表現,讓產品更熱賣即可。
Gwennap稱,蘋果新CPU表現甚至優於英特爾(Intel)的x86核心,A10表現和英特爾Skylake的Core核心幾乎不相上下,差別在於英特爾Core核心用於電腦,不像A10一樣,有電池續航力的限制。這對英特爾是一大警訊,他說,蘋果CPU追上英特爾,實際上,Hurricane能輕鬆支援MacBook Air筆電等。當前蘋果筆電使用的英特爾晶片,速度比A10更慢。

目前蘋果iPhone、iPad使用自家處理器,但是筆電MacBook和個人電腦Mac仍然搭載英特爾CPU,外界老早盛傳,未來英特爾晶片可能會從蘋果產品全面淘汰,遭蘋果晶片取而代之

知名跑分軟體安兔兔(AnTuTu)1日發表9月前十大手機性能榜單,在9月1-30日期間蒐集超過2,000條單一機型數據後發現,iPhone 7 Plus的平均跑分成績高達172,644分、奪下冠軍,而iPhone 7的跑分也有170,124分,分數居次,把Android旗艦機遠遠拋在腦後。
蘋果(Apple)次代iPad Pro系列傳出將在明年春天出貨、且將搭載由台積電(2330)供應的A10X晶片,而最新傳出A10X晶片性能強大,單核跑分比前代A9X高出4成、且也比iPhone 7使用的A10晶片高出2成

日本網站taisy0、iPhone Mania 5日轉述荷蘭媒體TechTastic的報導指出,根據從可靠的消息人士取得的資料顯示,蘋果預計搭載在次代iPad Pro系列的「A10X」晶片GeekBench單核跑分達4,236、多核跑分達6,588。

The iPhone 7’s A10 Fusion Chip Is Faster Than The MacBook Air 

The majority of the iPhone 7’s improvements are under the hood, thanks to its new A10 Fusion chipset which makes it a quad-core phone versus the iPhone 6s which was still a dual-core setup. As we have seen on the AnTuTu benchmarks, this has unsurprisingly resulted in very high scores which has blown past the competition.

However it seems that’s not all. As noted by John Gruber (via MacRumors), the iPhone 7’s performance on Geekbench has revealed some very impressive single and multi-core scores which not only has outdone competing phones, but even Apple’s own products like the MacBook Air laptops.

Now there’s this perception that maybe because it is smaller and because it can’t do certain things that smartphones aren’t as powerful as laptops, and to a certain degree that is true for some models. However according to Gruber, he notes that the iPhone 7 has pretty much outdone every single MacBook Air Apple has ever released in both single and multi-core performance, save for the 2015 MacBook Air with an Intel Core i7 which only narrowly edges it out.

A follow-up tweet by Matt Mariska also revealed that the iPhone 7 managed to beat the $6,500 model of the 2013 MacBook Pro in single-thread performance. While obviously the iPhone won’t be replacing laptops anytime soon, it does go to show how far along Apple has come in the development of its A-series of ARM chipsets. Who knows, at this rate those rumors of an ARM-based Mac could come true, and it could be very well justified.

( Note: Mac Air CPU is 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 [Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz] with 3MB shared L3 cache with 4GB onboard memory, but iPhone 7 is only 4 core ARM cotex A10 core with much less power consumption than Intel Core i5 )

A closer look at the ARM Cortex-A72

The Cortex-A72 was announced back in February, promising another boost to performance and substantial energy savings to boot. At ARM’s TechDay 2015 in London this week, we were fortunate enough to be given some deeper insight into the inner workings of ARM’s latest application processor.

Although the base-line architecture is very similar to the Cortex-A57, the A72 is much more than typical revision. A team of some 65 to 70 engineers have gone back through the design, optimizing almost every logical block for power efficiency, helping the processor to sustain maximum frequencies during heavy workloads, and focused on squeezing the design into a smaller area, to keep costs down.

Architecturally, the Cortex-A72 features a new branch-predictor, increases the effective decode and dispatch bandwidths, and has had changes made to the execution units, to name just a few alterations. ARMs new branch predictor reduces misprediction with a new algorithm and can suppress superfluous branch predictor accesses, which helps to reduce wasted energy. The rebuild offers up to 20 percent improvements to prediction over the A57.

The design still features a 3-wide decode, but the dispatch unit has gone from 3- to 5-wide, to more effectively break operations down into further micro-ops which help keep the 8-wide issue machine well fed. The execution stage sees the introduction of next-gen floating-point SIMD units with a
variety of latency reductions, multiple zero-cycle forwarding datapaths to reduce wasted cycles, and substantial bandwidth increases in the two integer units. The load and store units have a more sophisticated combined L1/L2 data prefetcher, offering a bandwidth improvement of 30 percent. All of which, among other changes, is designed to help reduce power consumption and to improve performance in certain areas over the A57.

In terms of what this means for silicon designers and end users, the Cortex-A72 is still a high-end processor, but it will utilize energy more efficiently.  In other words, the CPU will be able to do more within the limited power budgets available on mobile and should result in cooler devices as well. Even at 28nm, the Cortex-A72 boasts up to a 50 percent energy reduction when compared with the Cortex-A15 and a 20 percent saving compared with the A57, at the same clock speeds. Milliwatts per core have dropped from the A57, to around 700mW at 2.5GHz. The design takes up 10 percent less area than the A57, which will also help save on costs.

ARM is also increasingly focused on its POP IP, you’ll see quite a few references to TMSC’s 16nm FinFET Plus manufacturing node in the examples. As well as substantial energy savings, ARM reckons that the A72 will be able to sustain 2.5GHz clocks on the new 16nm process, whilst keeping within the limited smartphone power budget. It’s the additional power efficiency and resulting lower heat profile that will really help the A72 achieve higher clock speeds than a 16nm A57.

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