British chip boffins ARM announced the availability of a quad core processor dubbed the Cortex A15 MP4, designed to run at up to 2Ghz and likely being targeted at upcoming Windows RT devices.
ARM described the release as a "hard macro implementation" which means that the design is more easily able to be integrated right into chips produced by third-party designers. The design is based on TSMC’s 28nm process.
"This new Cortex-A15 hard macro is an important addition to our portfolio and will enable a wider array of partners to leverage the outstanding capabilities of the Cortex-A15 processor," said ARM processor marketing chief Jim Nicholas.
The company reckons that the Cortex-A15 draws no more power than the Cortex-A9, the design in most high-end smartphones today, while delivering performance in excess of 20,000DMIPS at 2GHz.
Chipmakers have already been working on integrating the Cortex-A15 but the ‘hard macro’ offering is essentially something more pre-packed which makes it even more likely that ARM’s top shelf processor will end up in mobile devices.
The bottom line is that it’s this type of chip that will go head to head against Intel’s Ivy bridge parts as the CPU architecture war plays out in Windows 8 tablets and notebooks later this year.