Marvell has introduced the world’s first 1.5 GHz tri-core application processor, the Marvell ARMADA 628. It incorporates a full System-on-a-Chip design (SoC) with three Marvell-designed, ARM-compliant CPU cores operating as the world’s first commercially available heterogeneous, multi-core, applications processor.
The tri-core design of new ARMADA integrates two symmetric multiprocessing cores and a third core optimized for ultra low-power. The third core is designed to support routine user tasks and acts as a system management processor to monitor and dynamically scale power and performance.
According to Marvell, the tri-core architecture provides superior performance and lower power over dual-core designs “while maintaining industry compatibility and leadership – ensuring a richer, faster and smoother experience than any other ARM-based processor available today.”
The architecture is analogous to a hybrid muscle car. The ARMADA 628 is intended to perform like a race car engine on demand, while still delivering the frugal gas-mileage of a hybrid automobile. In real world terms, this enables the ARMADA 628 to play more than 10 hours of full 1080p HD video or 140 hours of music on a single charge while still providing 3 GHz of raw computational horsepower.
The new Marvell’s processor comprises a complete SoC design – a first for the industry. In addition to the tri-core CPU, there are six additional processing engines to support 3D graphics, 1080p video encode/decode, ultra high fidelity audio, advanced cryptography, and digital photo data processing – for a total of nine dedicated core functions.
The company said that the ARMADA 628 is also designed to be the first mobile CPU to provide high-speed USB 3.0 connectivity, which offers 10x faster performance than USB 2.0.
"Marvell’s groundbreaking tri-core architecture is a unique solution to a long-time problem-how to achieve enterprise performance without breaking the limited power budget of smartphones, tablets and other mobile consumer devices," said Linley Gwennap, principal analyst of The Linley Group.
The ARMADA 628 is based on a Marvell-designed ARM v7 MP compatible CPU offering 1.5 GHz performance. It offers support to use LP-DDR2 or DDR3 memory up to 533 MHz, a highly flexible display controller capable of driving four simultaneous displays at up t o 2K x 2K resolution, and a highly robust security subsystem that includes a secure execution processor.
An integrated 3D engine renders 200 million triangles per second for an immersive game play experience and a multi-format video engine supports dual stream 1080p video for a true 3D visual experience. In addition, the ARMADA 628 supports DirectX, Open GL ES 2.0, and Open VG 1.1 – ensuring complete compatibility with the most hotly anticipated mobile game titles.
ARMADA 628 supports RIM OS, Android™, Linux, Windows Mobile, and full Adobe Flash.