Comments by Marvell Executive May Hint at Armada Processor Inside Nintendo 3DS

Marvell Armada Processors Power "Major New Gaming Platform"

by Anton Shilov
08/24/2010 | 10:35 PM

More details transpire about the hardware inside the forthcoming Nintendo 3DS  portable video game system. The chief executive officer of Marvell Technology, one of the world's largest makers of various application, communication, multimedia and other special-purpose processors, said during the quarterly conference call with financial analysts that one of Marvell Armada processors powers a major new gaming platform.


"Approximately 15% of the sequential increase was due to the initial production revenue from our Armada application processors, primarily as a result of a major customer preparing to launch a new gaming platform," said Sehat Sutardja, chief executive officer of Armada.

While Mr. Sutardja did not directly point to Nintendo 3DS, the latter is the only major company to release a new game platform in the near future. There is a possibility that a new player on the mobile gaming market will roll-out its own game console, but given the market realities, there would have been leaks about the project in advance.

It is unclear which exactly Armada chip is used. One of the likely candidates is Armada 500 that uses ARM v7 CPU core running up to 1.2 GHz, vector floating point (VFP) v3 and 512KB L2 cache, 1080p video decode, 16MT/s/3D graphics, WUXGA LCD resolution support, security acceleration and consumer/embedded oriented I/O's (PCIe, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0, SDIO, DDR2/DDR3, S-ATA, MIPI CSI and more). Another possibility is usage of lower-power Armada 600 chip that has ARM v7 CPU core at up to 1GHz, VFP v3 and 256KB L2 cache.

Earlier this year it transpired that Nintendo had chosen DMP Pica 200 graphics chip. Exact specifications or expected performance of the DMP Pica 200 graphics processor are unknown, but the developer indicated that the chip includes a proprietary “graphics extension” named Maestro. Besides, DMP said that the GPU features support of complex shaders.

Marvell recently reported financial results for the second quarter of fiscal 2011, ended July 31, 2010. Net revenue for the second quarter of fiscal 2011 was $896 million, a 40% increase from $641 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2010, ended August 1, 2009, and a 5% sequential increase from $856 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2011, ended May 1, 2010.

GAAP net income was $220 million, or $0.33 per share (diluted), for the second quarter of fiscal 2011, compared with a GAAP net income of $58 million, or $0.09 per share (diluted), for the second quarter of fiscal 2010. GAAP net income in the first quarter of fiscal 2011 was $206 million, or $0.30 per share (diluted).