Can ARM chips compete neck-and-neck with Intel and AMD on benchmarks? That could be happening sooner than you think.

Starting next year, ARM processors will get significantly faster thanks to big changes in the company's Cortex-A chip designs. ARM is taking a page from rivals like AMD that have focused on raising the performance threshold in chips.

ARM isn't known for superfast chips; it is instead mainly associated with power-efficient chips that give long battery life to devices. That focus has helped the company succeed in mobile devices, an area where Intel's power hungry chips failed.

But applications like virtual reality and machine learning need more performance, and ARM is preparing its processors to take on those emerging applications. ARM is adding more cores, instructions, and faster pipelines in smaller spaces to boost performance.

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