Every day, smartphones and tablets are becoming more advanced. If you pay attention to technological news, you have likely come across the term “ARM” in reference to the processing hardware that’s inside the devices we use on a daily basis. But what exactly is ARM? XOTIC PC wants to clear up any confusion by providing an overview of ARM processing technology. Before we begin, it’s important to review a few CPU basics. A central processing unit (CPU) is essentially the “brain” of your computer, because it performs calculations and actions while running programs. A CPU chip is usually small and located on the motherboard of a PC, so it can interact with other components. In this article, we explore the meaning and architecture behind ARM CPUs, so you can be prepared for the technology of tomorrow.
ARM is an acronym for Advanced Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC) Machine. Yes, an acronym inside of an acronym. Broadly defined, RISC is a philosophy of processor design that stems from the belief that simple processors will be much more efficient than their complex counterparts. All ARM processors feature RISC designs, but ARM is a type of architecture that requires fewer transistors than processors with complex instruction set computing designs.
ARM was developed by ARM Holdings and licensed to other companies who wish to implement ARM architecture in their own products and whatever hardware seems appropriate. Companies who design chips with ARM cores include Apple, Broadcom, NVIDIA, Samsung Electronics, and much more. There are many variations of ARM on the market, which can make it difficult for consumers to understand how ARM processors perform.
While other software companies produce new and improved code for each chip they produce, any updates to ARM architecture are simply given a new version number. Consumers will concern themselves more with the instruction set of ARM, which is the basic set of capabilities and features a processor provides to software. An instruction set determines what arithmetic can be used, how cache memory should be distributed, and the order in which certain instructions should be executed. Software is usually designed for one instruction set, so it can’t be used with other instruction sets unless it is revised.
One contributing factor to ARM’s success is its simplistic approach to the design of instruction sets. ARM-based CPUs tend to be small and have fewer transistors. Although they are the building blocks of the digital revolution, transistors consume power and increase die size, which can causally increase production costs. Smartphones, tablets, and computers with as few transistors as possible are ideal.
You will gradually see an uptick of ARM-powered smartphones, tablets, and PCs on the market. According to ARM Holdings, these innovative microprocessors can be found in smartphones belonging to over three billion consumers, but their technologies collectively reach more than 80 percent of the global population.