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  • Arm Announces Cortex-A78, Cortex-X Custom

    Phoronix: Arm Announces Cortex-A78, Cortex-X Custom

    Arm today announced the Cortex-A78 as their SoC for next-generation smartphones with up to 20% sustained performance improvements. Arm also announced today the Cortex-X Custom program...

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...ortex-X-Custom

  • #2
    If the marketing is true, performance/power-efficiency sounds really good! However... nothing is mentioned about security improvements.

    I'm going to assume the Cortex-A78 is still vulnerable to side channel attacks just like the "Cortex-R7, Cortex-R8, Cortex-A8, Cortex-A9, Cortex-A15, Cortex-A17, Cortex-A57, Cortex-A72, Cortex-A73 and ARM Cortex-A75 cores". These ARM cores are designed for mobile, security should be a priority not an after though nor an elephant in the room.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Jabberwocky View Post
      If the marketing is true, performance/power-efficiency sounds really good! However... nothing is mentioned about security improvements.

      I'm going to assume the Cortex-A78 is still vulnerable to side channel attacks just like the "Cortex-R7, Cortex-R8, Cortex-A8, Cortex-A9, Cortex-A15, Cortex-A17, Cortex-A57, Cortex-A72, Cortex-A73 and ARM Cortex-A75 cores". These ARM cores are designed for mobile, security should be a priority not an after though nor an elephant in the room.
      Probably still more secure than processors from Intel and AMD because ARMv8 is such an effective architecture (unlike the shitty x86 architecture) so it doesn't even need symmetric multithreading (SMT) aka HyperThreading, so it doesn't suffer from all those Meltdown, Spectre, etc vulnerabilities.

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      • #4
        Lets hope that Qualcomm and Mediatek make a laptop SoC using 8 x cortex X1 cores.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Jabberwocky View Post
          If the marketing is true, performance/power-efficiency sounds really good! However... nothing is mentioned about security improvements.

          I'm going to assume the Cortex-A78 is still vulnerable to side channel attacks just like the "Cortex-R7, Cortex-R8, Cortex-A8, Cortex-A9, Cortex-A15, Cortex-A17, Cortex-A57, Cortex-A72, Cortex-A73 and ARM Cortex-A75 cores". These ARM cores are designed for mobile, security should be a priority not an after though nor an elephant in the room.
          Actually, in mobile space it doesn't matter that much,... There are worse security vulnerabilities in OS, and you should use applications you trust, anyway. For server/cloud side, where there's lots of virtualization (or containers), security against side channel attacks is more important.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by hajj_3 View Post
            Lets hope that Qualcomm and Mediatek make a laptop SoC using 8 x cortex X1 cores.
            Not really, for battery longevity in idle (or occasional load) mode, I would want also 2x A53 cores.

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            • #7
              Since when is halving the L1 cache size an ..."improvement"?

              I guess when cpu manufacturers raise it they claim it's a performance improvement and when they reduce it they claim it's an efficiency improvement... They can never lose

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              • #8
                Originally posted by _Alex_ View Post
                Since when is halving the L1 cache size an ..."improvement"?

                I guess when cpu manufacturers raise it they claim it's a performance improvement and when they reduce it they claim it's an efficiency improvement... They can never lose
                Well, then why have multiple layers of caches? Just put everything in L1.

                Its a balance of size/speed (bigger cache = slower access) and power(-efficiency), and the sum is that the chip is now balanced differently and in sum is faster than its predecessor.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by uid313 View Post

                  Probably still more secure than processors from Intel and AMD because ARMv8 is such an effective architecture (unlike the shitty x86 architecture) so it doesn't even need symmetric multithreading (SMT) aka HyperThreading, so it doesn't suffer from all those Meltdown, Spectre, etc vulnerabilities.
                  Except that many ARM cores are vulnerable to Spectre. Here's the proof: https://developer.arm.com/support/ar...-vulnerability

                  In theory I am pro RISC, albeit it's sad that so many of my ARM devices are not longer supported. The legacy support from x86 has been very useful over the decades. I have my hopes up for RISC-V but standardizing it will be a massive challenge. I am curious what https://nuviainc.com/ will release although they are not targeting consumers. I'm loving all the competition and innovation coming back.

                  Originally posted by kravemir View Post

                  Actually, in mobile space it doesn't matter that much,... There are worse security vulnerabilities in OS, and you should use applications you trust, anyway. For server/cloud side, where there's lots of virtualization (or containers), security against side channel attacks is more important.
                  I agree that attackers will target server/cloud because they stand more to gain. However just because it's more important there doesn't mean that it's not important in mobile space. I still don't trust banking, insurance and some communication applications and I can't be a responsible/productive member of modern society without those. I use my mobile device for two factor authentication, so from a professional and ethical perspective it's extremely important for my device to be secure from top to bottom.

                  A few years ago you could still choose which applications you wanted to use. For example, I ran a Windows VM just for my tax submissions (they are still using active-x /w internet explorer). Today it's not that simple, mobile stores/applications detect that you are running custom operating systems and denies access. If you don't have certified iOS or Android you're simply out of luck and if you use certified OS you're open to many attack vectors.

                  I am seriously considering getting a PinePhone just for contact info and two factor authentication.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jabberwocky View Post
                    I have my hopes up for RISC-V but standardizing it will be a massive challenge.
                    The only demand for RISC-V in the visible future is in closed proprietary embedded devices, if at all. As much as I'd like to see a completely open RISC-V commodity board in a standard PC form factor (e.g. ATX) I think this is a pipe dream and it will never ever materialize. A laptop based on the same is even further out.

                    The potential is there, but the market demand isn't. Maybe a one-off amateur grade kickstarter or something like that. The demand is lower than commodity Power boards (aka Talos & AmigaOne), so I would expect the per-board cost to come in quite a bit higher. Would you pay $2750 for a totally open commodity RISC-V board? Yeah, me neither. Turns out its actually quite expensive to design and build a motherboard, regardless of which CPU type goes into it.
                    Last edited by torsionbar28; 05-26-2020, 01:42 PM.

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