ARM Cortex A78C
The ARM is probably best known for the processors that power smartphones and many tablets, but Apple’s next-generation MacBook laptops are expected to feature ARM-based chips, and many current-generation Chromebooks and some Windows tablets also have ARM-designed processors.
In May this year, ARM officially announced the latest generation of mobile processor architecture Cortex A78, while also debuting Mali-G78 GPU. The A78 supports big-little hybrid configurations like 4 big cores and 4 small cores (Cortex-A55), which is obviously to balance performance and power consumption. But for some devices, such as laptops, the power limit is higher the A78 will have the power to support.
In this regard, ARM this week updated the Cortex A78C architecture, optimized for high-performance computing, mainly serving notebooks and other products. The chipmaker can configure up to eight Cortex A78C large cores or six large cores, and the three-level cache has also been increased to a terrifying 8MB to fully satisfy high-performance loads such as 3A-grade games, productivity, and other multi-threaded application scenarios.
At the same time, the ARM Cortex A78C also introduces updates at the data and device security level. A key feature is function pointer checking (PAC), which means that the CPU checks if the function pointer is correct (using the MAC algorithm) when performing a function jump to prevent the jump pointer from being modified. It minimizes the attack surface, making the return-oriented programming (ROP) vulnerabilities reduced by more than 60%, jump-oriented programming (JOP) vulnerabilities reduced by more than 40%.
Previously, ARM also announced another set of A78 branches that is A78AE, which is an architecture optimized for autopilot and so on. It must be said that ARM is still quite far-sighted. As Apple Macs turn to ARM, the ARM ecology of Windows is bound to be driven, and the future of Qualcomm, MediaTek, and even Samsung’s A78C-based laptop CPUs may accelerate the debut.