LONDON – Wired and wireless communications chip company Broadcom Corp. (Irvine, Calif.) has taken licenses for both the ARMv7 and ARMv8 instruction set architectures from ARM Holdings plc (Cambridge, England). This will allow Broadcom to develop its own processor engines to put inside system-chips, rather than licensing predefined cores from ARM, and address new applications.
ARMv7 is the common architecture behind most of the 32-bit ARM cores in use today including high and low performance cores in the Cortex-A, R and M series. ARMv8 continues to support 32-bit operation and legacy application but also adds instructions for 64-bit architecture and is being designed to by a number of licensees including Applied Micro, Cavium, AMD and STMicroelectronics.
Broadcom is already one of the lead partners for the development of the Cortex-A50 series of processors. The A57 and A53 were launched at ARM TechCon in October 2012 and are expected to be the first processor cores to implement the ARMv8 architecture.
"Access to the ARMv7 and ARMv8 architecture will enable Broadcom to bring innovation through highly optimized 32- and 64-bit SoC implementations to deliver high-performance, low-power solutions across a broad range of market applications including broadband access and set-top box," said Daniel Marotta, executive vice president and general manager of the broadband communications group at Broadcom, in a statement issued by ARM.
Marotta added that the use of the ARM architecture would enable Broadcom to extend its reach into new applications.
ARM's cpu designs sometimes get too much credit for the success of ARM ISA in the mobile space. Truth is that the most succesful ARM CPU in the mobile space right now is a custom designed one from Qualcomm.
Most semi companies have realized this which is why there seems to be a beeline to license the architecture. AppliedMicro seems to have been the first one to wisen up to this, then there is Cavium, AMD, now Broadcom and I am sure others will follow.
However, it looks like using off-the-shelf cores is increasingly non-differentiating.
It is true you can get to market quicker if you use ARM core, ARM POP, but only at the same pace as the competition.
Sure taking an ARM architecture let's you design your own CPU...but it takes money and time to do that...just throwing ARM cores into your own SoC is presumably faster...Samsung seems to be doing just fine with that approach
Article is not 100% correct. What it means is that next to Nvidia, Qualcomm, AMD and Apple, Broadcom is the next (mobile) SoC maker in line taking an *architecture* license, allowing itself to design its own CPU (architecture, pipeline etc) using the ARM ISA.
Makes you wonder why Samsung doesn't do this. Just throwing more vanilla ARM cores into a SoC won't give you a competitive edge in the end.. (vanilla is still your own P&R, but nothing else)
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