ARM Announces 2.5GHz A15 MPCore Processor

ARM has pulled the curtains on its next generation "Eagle" processor family, one which is set to replace the Cortex A9 one as the company's top-end solution as early as 2012.

The UK-based chip designer says that the Cortex A15 will be five times faster than the current generation of A8 without sucking in more power (some report say that the comparison was with a dual core Cortex A8 running at 1GHz).

ARM did not offer any comparison with the already-sampled Cortex A9 CPU and said that the first silicon chip will come out in 2012 using 32nm manufacturing process with plans to shrink it further to 20nm afterwards.

Like most modern processors, the A15 has been designed ground up to support multi processing and according to ARM, can scale up to 16 cores.

Technically, the A15 shares some common characteristics with the A9 with private L1 cache for each core but a share L2 cache of up to 4MB in size.

As expected, there will be dozens of variants of the A15 with smartphones unlikely to see anything with more than two cores or clocked at more than 1.5GHz.

It is on the desktop/mobile computing side that things get more interesting. The A15 supports hardware virtualization and its flexibility means that it could well find its place amongst entreprise servers, smart routers and intelligent NASes for example.