Marvell, a leading developer of system-on-chip products for mobile and consumer electronics devices, has announced the world's first triple-core processor for mobile applications that supports output of stereo-3D graphics in 1080 resolution among other things. The device will power the incoming breed of multimedia-rich smartphones as well as tablets, but the level of performance it offers allows to use it in thin clients as well.
The Armada 628 is based on two ARM Cortex-A9 cores running at 1.50GHz and one Cortex-A9 core running at 624MHz. 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. The chip has 1MB of L2 cache, hardware WMMX2 and NEON acceleration and a highly optimized pipelined VFPv3 floating point engine. The graphics core of the Armada 628 features four stream processors and is capable of processing 200 million triangles per second. The Armada 628 supports LP-DDR2 or DDR3 memory up to 533MHz
In addition to the three ARM v7 cores, there are six additional processing engines to support 3D graphics, dual 1080p video encode/decode, high fidelity audio, advanced cryptography and digital photo data processing – for a total of nine dedicated core functions.
The SoC can output to two displays simultaneously and has two LCD, one HDMI and one EPD (electrophonetic display) controllers. The chip naturally support various peripheral and input/output functionality and is also designed to be the first mobile SoC to provide high-speed USB 3.0 connectivity.
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.
Thanks to leading edge functionality and potentially exceptional performance amid low power consumption, Marvell Armada 628 is equally suitable for a wide range of applications, including, but not limited to media players, game consoles, smartphones, slates as well as thin clients or netbooks. At present Armada 628 is sampling and it is unknown when it becomes available on the market. However, given the fact that Marvell has implemented the world's first triple-core ARM processor with support for stereo-3D 1080p output, the company will likely not only compete for leadership in the ARM segment of the market, but will also have chances to tap the market of x86-based designs thanks to great performance and feature-set.
"Marvell has once again set the benchmark for the rest of the industry with the world's first 1.5GHz tri-core processor, delivering dual stream 1080p 3D video and 3D graphics performance with quad unified shaders for 200 million triangles per second delivered on ultra-low-power, long battery life smartphones and tablets. This is important because today's consumers expect robust enterprise and consumer applications delivered to the palm of their hands. Marvell is uniquely equipped to lead this mobile revolution as the semiconductor industry's one-stop shop solution provider," said Weili Dai, Marvell co-founder and vice president and general manager of Marvell semiconductor's consumer and computing business unit.
On the other hand, the Armada 628 does not support connectivity functions, such as 3G. This naturally adds a new and to the size of the device as well as power consumption.