ARM has launched its new Sparrow multicore chips aimed at netbooks.
Sparrow is a small, inexpensive chip which shares its instruction set with ARM’s top-of-the-line Cortex A8 product, the chip used by the Palm Pre. While one Sparrow chip has about the power of an existing ARM11 (the chip in Apple’s iPhone and other leading smartphones), Sparrow can also be used in a multi-core setup to multiply performance.
The Cortex-A9 can deliver around 1500 DMIPS of processing capability per core, with up to four cores, according to an ARM presentation. (DMIPS are a measure of processor performance based on repeated integer calculations.) That’s at least triple the computing power of the ARM11 processors found in the iPhone and T-Mobile G1. The first public Cortex-A9 demo is coming from Silicon Partners at this show, running a multiprocessing-capable version of the Symbian OS.
Finally, netbooks can be just as powerful as bigger laptops! I can’t express how excited I am for this development.