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NVIDIA Corp. and ARM announced that NVIDIA has licensed the ARM11 MPCore processor. The licensing of this ARM technology will enable NVIDIA to add application processing functionality to its outstanding graphics and digital media processing capabilities in NVIDIA’s forthcoming system-on-chip (SoC) designs.

“Rich media applications are an essential part of next-generation consumer products. By embedding ARM technology in our next-generation products, we can leverage the strength of ARM technology as the application processor and deliver exciting new devices and media rich applications to consumers,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO of NVIDIA.

The ARM11 MPCore processor includes the ARM SIMD media extensions, IEM (Intelligent Energy Manager) technology for efficient energy management, and Jazelle technology for Java acceleration. The processor runs at up to 550MHz, uses less than 2.7 square millimetres of silicon, excluding RAM, and consumes as little as 0.30mW/MHz using ARM IEM technology when made using 0.13 micron process technology. The processor features a high-performance memory system delivering more than 1.3GB/s and scalability to over 2 600 Dhrystone 2.1 MIPS of aggregate performance in a cache coherent, four way configuration

“Multi-core processors are gaining momentum in both the embedded and desktop worlds because they combine scalable high performance and lower power,” said Tom R. Halfhill, a senior analyst for In-Stat’s Microprocessor Report. “The trend is clearly toward flexible processor cores, like the ARM11 MPCore processor, which can be used in a uniprocessor, symmetric or asymmetric multiprocessor configurations.”

It is yet unclear where and when NVIDIA plans to use ARM’s technologies, but the announcement itself means that the company wants to target highly-integrated mobile and possibly consumer electronics devices. The firm has had similar opportunity for a while now with its graphics silicon as a result of collaboration with Sony and plans to use its visual processing units within consumer electronics devices featuring the Cell processors. ARM technologies are currently used in Sony PSP portable game console and Apple iPod music player.

“NVIDIA has made a strategic decision by selecting ARM processor technology for use in their next-generation digital media products,” said Warren East, CEO, ARM. “The ARM11 MPCore processor, combined with NVIDIA industry-leading graphics and media technology, will deliver new levels of entertainment and innovation to the consumer market, and represents further support for the award-winning ARM11 family of processors.”

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