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ARM Says Next-Gen A72 Chip Paves Way for Thinner, More Power-Efficient Phones

The power and performance gains come, in part, by using a new generation of transistor that uses thinner wiring.

ARM, the British company whose chip designs are at the core of nearly all mobile phone processors, on Tuesday showed off a new processor core it says can deliver three times as much performance as designs using its A15 processor.

Perhaps more importantly, ARM says the new A72 — due out in phones by next year — can use 75 percent less power while offering the same performance as those chips. That means phones that are thinner and more powerful don’t need fans, ARM says.

Some of the power and performance gains come from changes to ARM’s chip design, while others bank on the fact that the new chip is expected to be manufactured in plants using a thinner 16-nanometer generation of transistors. ARM mobile solutions director James Bruce said about half the improvement comes from changes to the chip architecture and half from the new manufacturing technology.

In addition to the new processor core, ARM also updated its Mali graphics technology and the layer that connects the different parts of the processor together.

ARM doesn’t make chips itself, but rather licenses its chip designs to nearly all mobile processor makers, including Qualcomm, Samsung, Apple and Nvidia. ARM says it has 10 licensees already for the new chip design, including mobile chipmakers Rockchip and Mediatek.

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