ARM’s Cortex A9 Multiprocessor Licensed by Broadcom

Broadcom to Develop Multi-Core ARM Cortex A9 Chips

by Anton Shilov
09/29/2009 | 06:10 PM

Broadcom Corp. and ARM this week announced that they had signed a major licensing agreement for the ARM Cortex A9 MPCore multi-core processor.  Broadcom intends to target the technology towards next-generation mobile, wireless and other consumer electronics applications.

 

“This licensing agreement extends our ARM processor portfolio. The flexibility and scalability of the Cortex-A9 processor enables us to optimize development costs by addressing the requirements of wireless applications from a common core platform,” said Nambi Seshadri, vice president and chief technology officer of mobile platforms and wireless connectivity division at Broadcom.

In addition to the Cortex-A9 processor, the agreement included ARM NEON SIMD (single instruction, multiple data) technology for the ARM Cortex-A series processors, designed to provide acceleration for advanced, feature-rich multimedia, gaming and compute intensive applications.

The ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor’s scalable performance enables developers to exceed the performance of today’s high-performance embedded devices while consuming significantly less power. In addition, the Cortex-A9 processor features power management features including adaptive gating, dynamic voltage and frequency scaling and the ability for each core to go independently into standby, dormant or power-off energy management states, providing control over the dynamic as well as the static energy consumed by both the processor and memories. The Cortex-A9 MPCore processor can contain up to four independently configured, but fully coherent cores carrying out multiple tasks on each one in parallel. However since any complexity is hidden in hardware, the processor can be programmed as easily as a single core processor by utilizing one of the many SMP-aware operating systems.

A single core Cortex-A9 processor is capable of delivering 2x the performance of today’s smartphone processors and the ARM MPCore technology scales that performance even further.  A four-CPU Cortex-A9 processor cluster is capable of delivering an unprecedented 10 000 aggregate DMIPS when clocked at 1GHz. To simplify and broaden the adoption of multi-core solutions, the Cortex-A9 processor supports system-level coherence with accelerators and DMA to increase performance and reduce power consumption at the system level.