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Marvell launches Armada fleet

Chips set sail
Tue Oct 20 2009, 13:44

CHIP MAKER MARVELL has unveiled its latest ARM based chips, the Armada family of processors.

Designed for smartphones, embedded devices and consumer electronics, Marvell reckons these new chips are even more powerful than before to help cope with the demands of taxing multimedia content such as Flash and Blu-Ray.

They also use less power than their predecessors, making them greener and helping extend battery life for mobile devices.

"The Armada family delivers to mobile devices what sceptics once doubted could be done: fast, PC-calibre processing, full internet experience, rich media including HD quality video and 3D graphics - all in lightweight form factors with long battery life," said Weili Dai, co-founder and vice president of Marvell.

"There will always be a place for PCs, but the future of mobile computing - for smartbooks, e-readers, smart tablets and more - will by necessity get its DNA from smartphones, not PCs."

So far, four chip families make up the Armada fleet. At the bottom of the line is the budget 100 series, aimed at mainstream products such as e-readers, personal information devices and other embedded systems. Processors in this group run at up to 1.2GHz and feature 24-bit WUXGA LCD support, a built in display controller, 2D graphics hardware acceleration and a range of I/O options.

A step up from that is the 500 series, including the latest edition the 510, which boasts enough horsepower for smartbooks and tablets thanks to a CPU core running at up to 1.2GHz along with having vector floating point support and 512KB L2 cache, 1080p video decode, 15 MT/s 3D graphics, WUXGA LCD resolution support, security acceleration and PCIe, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0, SDIO, DDR3, and SATA interfaces.

Meanwhile the 600 series is designed for small form factors and low power requirements, making it best suited for high-end smartphones, with an up to 1GHz core, ultra low power usage, vector floating point and 256KB L2 cache.

The 500 and 600 series are amongst the first such chips to be running the ARM v7 instruction set.

The final member is the Armada 1000 series, which is focused on connected full-HD consumer devices, such as TVs, set top boxes and other media players, with dual CPU cores running at up to 1.2GHz, dual full-HD decode, high performance audio DSP, 2x32 DDR2 controllers, high performance graphics acceleration, security subsystem including a secure execution processor and a wide range of connectivity options.

So far the Armada family has racked up around 50 design wins, and it has garnered support from software developers as well.

"At Canonical, we have been enormously impressed with what Marvell's Armada 510-based systems can do when running a desktop-class operating system like Ubuntu," said Chris Kenyon, vice president of OEM services at Canonical.

"The ARM ecosystem is using Armada 510 because of its outstanding display resolution, performance, hardware multimedia and large memory support. We believe users will love where this takes Ubuntu in terms of quality, price, and range of device availability." µ


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