Business, Graphics, Hardware

Marvell reacts to nVidia Tegra, announces Quad-Core ARM


Marvel announced at CES the first "official" quadruple processor on the ARM instruction set.

We saw the ARM Quad-processor prototype at ConTech 3 in October. The first edition quadruple processor was built on 90nm silicon running at 400MHz. ARM demonstrated Windows Mobile Office running on it.

BSN* has exclusive video, showing ARM’s prototype 90nm motherboard with LCD’s tied to each core. As they are processing, the LCD is turned on or off.

Early in the fall, ARM announced a new packaging for dual Cortex-A9 MP on 40nm silicon for shipment in Spring 2010. Next, ARM announced a strategic relationship with GlobalFoundries for an SOC [system on chip]. The SOC will use the low-power, high-performance Coretx-A9 full suite of Physical IP, Fabric IP and Processor IP on a 28nm "Gate First" HKMG [High-k metal gate] process ARM’ Cortex-A9 will be shipping over the next two years in dual-core, quad-core, and eight-core processor designs per their engineers at ConTech3.

Marvell’s quadcore implementation is based on their ARMADA 500 and 600 processor series, which are from ARMv7 CPU architecture.

ARMADA 510 Reference board
ARMADA 510 Reference board…giving developers all they need

Marvell says they can deliver gigahertz-plus processing per core. Their new quadcore is designed for customer-specific products such as the mass consumer market and high volume gaming applications. In July, Samsung announced they had a 45nm ARM Cortex-A8 design running at 2GHz < >.

Ms. Weili Dai, Marvell’s Co-founder and VP of Marvell Semiconductor, Inc.’s Consumer and Computing Business Unit said "Introducing our quadcore technology to the world represents a pivotal moment in CPU development for the consumer electronics industry? She added "Today’s media-rich consumer applications are already pushing the limits. By making quadcore capabilities available to our customers we will enable the newest generation of cutting edge devices that consumers will always demand — more horsepower, higher performance, better battery life, and more attractive price points than ever before for mass consumer market adoption."

Marvell Armada 610 in action
Marvell Armada 610 in action

Marvel’s press information didn’t say anything about pricing or availability. However, their reference design of the ARMADA eBook reader (shown above) proves they are capable of high-level consumer designs. A Marvell quadcore in a netbook/smartbook would make an interesting alternative to the Intel Atom or Nvidia’s Tegra processors.

In an upcoming article BSN* will benchmark an 800MHz ARM Cortex-A8 with a 32-bit x86 platform running at the same speed…