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Arm Total Compute Solutions: Engineering for Tomorrow’s Workloads

Arm Total Compute takes a holistic, solution-focused approach to SoC design, moving beyond individual IP elements to designing and optimizing the system as a whole.

Ian Smythe Headshot
Posted on 25th May 2021 By Ian Smythe, VP Solutions Marketing, Client Line of Business, Arm
Corporate
Arm Total Compute Solutions: Engineering for Tomorrow’s Workloads

Arm’s Total Compute strategy marks a change to the way we design compute systems. With each new iteration of Arm technology, we push the limits of performance for smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. Yet there remains a hard limit: one defined by a device’s thermal and power envelope.

At the same time, the pace of technological change and desire for truly immersive digital experiences that requires more advanced compute have never been higher. This means we have to go beyond traditional approaches to solving compute challenges and look across the entire compute domain for ways to improve performance.

Total Compute solves these challenges through taking a holistic, solution-focused approach to SoC (system on a chip) design, moving beyond individual IP elements to designing and optimizing the system as a whole, enabling richer and more immersive experiences from consumer devices. The new Total Compute Solutions are the first realization of this vision.

Arm Total Compute Solutions target specialized use cases

Total Compute Solutions are purpose-built configurations based on Arm technology that target specialized use cases. Each Solution contains hardware IP (including the latest Armv9 CPUs, Mali GPUs and Interconnect IP), physical IP, software, tools and is underpinned by standards.

Supporting the aims of the Arm Total Compute strategy, the new solutions are designed to enable different levels of performance, efficiency and scalability in order to deliver specialized compute for workloads across different consumer device market segments.

  • Premium Total Compute Solutions are designed for exceptional performance and connected user experiences on premium smartphone and laptop devices.
  • Performance Total Compute Solutions address a wide range of requirements across multiple segments, including mid-range smartphones, Chromebooks and high-end Smart TVs.
  • Efficiency Total Compute Solutions offer ultra-scalability to achieve best-in-class cost efficiency across entry level smartphones, AR and VR wearables, mid-range and entry level TVs, set-top boxes and smart watches.

Arm Total Compute Solutions respond to consumer demands for richer and more immersive experiences from the devices they power, from smartphone to laptop to smart TV.

Total Compute Solutions fuelled by unique consumer demands across devices

Each device category comes with its own unique consumer demands. Consumers want laptops, for example, that enable productivity, deliver rich 4K video content and support video conferencing throughout the day on a single charge.

In the high-end smartphone segment, consumers want console-quality gaming, high-resolution screens and superior camera quality, while mid-range smartphone users still want a premium experience from the same apps and services, but at a more competitive price point.

Consumers want to know that their next TV will stream 4K and 8K content with perfect video and audio quality and with no delay in navigating between services. And in the emerging wearables and XR segment, consumers want more and more detailed information about themselves and the world around them without the need to regularly remove the device for charging.

Total Compute Solutions accelerate AI in smart devices

A unifying theme across all device sectors is the application of on-device AI and machine learning (ML). Consumers don’t demand AI, they demand apps and services that would not exist without it. When an app identifies their face and superimposes rabbit ears, replaces or blurs the background of a photo or enables them to unlock their device just by looking at it, it is on-device AI that enables this.

These complex AI use cases pose unique performance challenges for the device, and it’s these that can be addressed by our Total Compute Solutions. A single ML workload often requires diverse computational requirements from the different compute domains on a single SoC. For example, in the now widely recognized ‘portrait mode’ images that can be created on smartphones with dual cameras, the CPU may be used for pre- and post-processing of the image, followed by a GPU or NPU to analyze and compute the depth information, passing it back to the CPU to apply background blur (known as bokeh) and finally to the NPU for super resolution.

Total Compute Solutions are heavily optimized across the system to enable the most efficient interplay between these various blocks of IP on a device SoC, and this optimization focuses on ML performance. This broad system approach to boosting AI and ML performance across all the IP in the new solutions will enable our partners to execute specialized AI workloads for a variety of use cases in different power and silicon cost constraints.

Alongside this mission to expand the dimensions of compute performance, Arm is also building robust security foundations and improving developer access through the Total Compute solutions.

Total Compute Solutions take security to new heights

Security is a constantly evolving challenge. There is an increasing focus on ensuring that private information on devices stay on devices under the user’s control. In this regard, the new Total Compute solutions, alongside the new Armv9 architecture, provide a significant step forward for security, delivering a standardized and scalable solution that supports the entire Arm ecosystem. The solutions also minimize the cost and the performance impact of new security capabilities that have been introduced through CPUs based on the Armv9 architecture.

These include Secure-EL2 to provide secure isolation for trusted sources, Memory Tagging Extension (MTE) to identify memory safety violations easily and efficiently and Pointer Authentication (PAC) and Branch Target Identifier (BTI) to mitigate against Return Orientated Programming (ROP) and Jump Orientated Programming (JOP) attacks. Total Compute Solutions ensure that a broad range of consumer devices are better protected against a variety of security threats.

Total Compute Solutions offer unparalleled developer access

It has never been easier for developers to develop, debug, optimise and port applications on Arm. For example, on Windows on Arm laptop devices, Arm and our partners provide extensive developer resources and native toolchains for a fast, straightforward and smooth development experience.

We are continuing this drive for an easier developer experience through SVE2 on the new Armv9 CPUs, where developers can write once, deploy once and then deploy forever, with their code being simpler, shorter and easier to maintain. With Total Compute Solutions, developers benefit from this ease of use, but also gain quicker access to greater performance across the solution stack so they can make improvements to their applications.

Total Compute Solutions also include supporting optimization software and tools such as Arm Mobile Studio, which allows game developers to rapidly identify and fix any problems that might limit game performance, overheat the device or drain the battery.

Developers benefit through the new security features, too. As Total Compute Solutions have security ‘built in’, developers are free to build and deploy reliable, stable and secure applications without getting bogged down by the complexity of security. Offering developers a quicker time-to-market ensures they are able to quickly target more performant applications to a broad range of consumer devices and more users.

Digital experiences for the next decade

Total Compute Solutions ensure that tomorrow’s consumer devices will be fully capable of processing the advanced, complex and demanding multi-domain workloads of the future. Digitally empowering people to what they want, where they want, when they want with their favourite consumer devices, whether that’s faster and smoother web scrolling on the go or advanced AAA gaming experiences.

On top of the drive for performance, Arm is providing secure, efficient, scalable and developer friendly solutions that will benefit the entire ecosystem. We’re delivering the compute experiences that will transform how we all live our digital lives for the next decade.

Arm Total Compute Solutions

Total Compute Solutions ensure that tomorrow’s consumer devices will be fully capable of processing the advanced, complex and demanding multi-domain workloads of the future.

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