Towards an even more energy efficient ARM chip

There’s been talk for many years about Suvolta, a chip startup that uses something called a Deeply Depleted Channel process to cut the power used on ARM system on a chips (SOCs) by 50 percent. The process plays with the chemicals that get layered on a chip during manufacture. The chip making process seeks to minimize the number of transistors on a chip to reduce power consumption.

ARM chips remain promising, particularly as the internet of things grows in real possibility. Thermostats, clothing, lighting will some day all be connected.  So far Suvolta has been focused on the ARM Cortex M, which would power devices with lower computing demands. But GigaOM reports that Suvolta’s bizdev group says the ARM partnership could move up the chain toward the A-15 chip, which would put the technology squarely in high power mobile computing space, replete with smartphones and tablets. ARM chips already use less power than x86 processors but a stepwise improvement in ARM chips’ power envelope could move us further away from needing to haul around chargers or wire certain internet of things devices. Which would bring us increasingly toward a less wired world.

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Adam Lesser

Cleantech Curator Gigaom Research

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