ARM has just announced their 64-bit Cortex-A50 series of processors. This comes just shortly after AMD announced their plans to build 64-bit ARM processors for servers. The flagship Cortex-A57 and Cortex-A53 processors will feature ARMv8 architecture and can work together in a big.LITTLE configuration.
The first of these two new 64-bit core designs is the Cortex-A57 that is touted to be up to three times faster than current processors found in the latest generation of smartphones. The Cortex-A57 is expected to deliver at such a performance level with the same power budget as the current processors. The other processor core design is the Cortex-A53, which will be able to deliver "...today's superphone experience while using a quarter of the power.".
The pair is also fully backwards compatible with 32-bit applications and can even work in tandem in a big.LITTLE configuration. In such a setup, the two processors work together such that the power-efficient Cortex-A53 handles basic tasks. If more compute power is needed, the higher-end Cortex-A57 will be woken from its idle state to pick up where the Cortex-A53 left off.
Earlier this year in July, ARM and TSMC had announced their collaborative plans to produce 64-bit ARM chips for use in mobile and enterprise markets that require both high performance and energy efficiency. Although it isn't stated in their press release, we believe this new Cortex-A50 processor core series marks the fruition of the collaborative efforts of both companies. However, the new 64-bit processor cores are not available yet but ARM has already licensed the technology to companies like AMD, Broadcom, Calxeda, HiSilicon, Samsung and STMicroelectronics. According to The Verge, new chips based on the Cortex-A50 series processor cores may be available only in early 2014.