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ARM Cortex A9 Performance Demo - Likely Chip to Power iSlate and Future iPhones

As CES kicks off, one technology we've been hoping to hear more about is the status of the ARM Cortex A9 processor. Apple's iPhone as well as many of its competitors including the just released Nexus One currently utilize ARM processors based on the Cortex A8 design. The Cortex A9 represents the next generation which supports multi-core designs. The Cortex A9 multi-core processors are expected to scale beyond 2 GHz while drawing less than 0.25 W of power per CPU.

ARM's designs have always been focused on the mobile space, so low power has always been a major focus. This high performance-to-power ratio is also carried through with the upcoming Cortex A9 designs and is said to fare very well compared to Intel's Atom processor.

ARM just posted this side-by-side performance video comparing a 1.6GHz Atom netbook vs. a Cortex A9 development board.


Browsing performance is roughly the same, though the Cortex A9 is revealed to be running at only 500MHz compared to the 1.6GHz of the Atom processor. While these are rather subjective benchmarks, it reminds us that the Cortex A9 is an attractive alternative to Intel's processors in the mobile space.

Apple is believed to be an ARM licensee and is leveraging the expertise of P.A. Semi to develop their own processors for upcoming devices including iPhone and Tablet projects. Apple has been said to be working on multi-core processors for their next generation iPhones and the Cortex A9 is the natural fit.

The Cortex A9 would be a particularly good fit for the rumored Apple Tablet, as such a device is seemingly positioning itself between a mobile phone and notebook. Such a device would likely be tasked with more processor intensive tasks and be priced against Atom powered netbooks.