ARM's Cortex-R8 processor blazes a trail for 5G

Latest chip aims at the LTE Advanced Pro and 5G mobile based standard for mass storage and IoT applications.

ARM has unveiled its new Cortex-R8 processor aimed at 5G modems and mass storage devices.

It's the successor to the dual-core R7 which was launched in 2011, and ARM said that thanks to its chips quad-core configuration, the chip "dramatically boosts the total Cortex-R8 performance, which when combined with its real time features and extended low-latency memory makes Cortex-R8 the highest performing processor in its class".

"One of the goals of 5G, and the latest 4G standards to some extent, is to also provision lower data rate channels for widely-distributed IoT devices. Cellular modems built in the future using Cortex-R8 would support this," an ARM spokesman told ZDNet.


AMD Cortex-R8: "Its performance will make it instrumental in the creation of 5G modems."

ARM said the processor will power the 5G modems which will provide the communications core for "future smartphones, tablets, connected cars and IoT."

ARM believes that apart from being used as a CPU in traditional systems applications, the R8 will be at home in storage devices and modems. While putting a state-of-the-art quad-core process in a modem may seem like overkill, AMD says it is a logical step that reflects modern requirements for faster and more responsive systems.

The Cortex R range of processors are already well established in a wide variety of markets. But new processors have to keep up with the increasingly complex algorithms for things such as error correction and the control software, so as the needs increase so does the need for higher performance processors.

SSDs in particular require higher performance controllers as data-rates increase with each generation. ARM says that currently all major hard-drive and SSD manufacturers use controllers based on Cortex R processors. Likewise, current and future cellular standards such as LTE Advanced Pro and 5G, require ever-faster processors.


Increased performance: Tightly coupled memory allows 2MB per core.

Graphic: AMD

According to James McNiven, general manager of the CPU group at ARM, "the chip is the most powerful real-time CPU available and its ... performance will make it instrumental in the creation of 5G modems".

Daniel Diao, deputy general manager of the Turing Processor Unit at Huawei welcomed the new processor saying that his company is "already working on 5G solutions and [will] welcome the significant performance uplift the Cortex-R8 will deliver".

According to ARM the processor is available for licensing now and silicon is expected later this year.

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