Breakthrough tri-core chip for mobile devices promises high performance

24 Sep 2010

Marvell has introduced the first 1.5 GHz tri-core chip made for smartphones and tablets. The Marvell ARMADA 628 will deliver dual stream 1,080p 3D video and 3D graphics performance on mobile devices.

“This is important because today’s consumers expect robust enterprise and consumer applications delivered to the palms of their hands,” said Weili Dai, Marvell co-founder, vice-president and general manager of Marvell Semiconductor’s Consumer and Computing Business Unit.

The tri-core design integrates two symmetric multiprocessing cores for high performance and a third core optimised for ultra-low power.

This third core is made to support routine user tasks and acts as a system management processor to monitor and scale power and performance.

“Marvell’s groundbreaking tri-core architecture is a unique solution to a long-time problem – how to achieve PC-class performance without breaking the limited power budget of smartphones, tablets and other mobile consumer devices,” said Linley Gwennap, principal analyst of The Linley Group.

The ARMADA 628 is said to “perform like a race car engine on demand, while still delivering the frugal gas-mileage of a hybrid automobile.”

This enables the chip to play more than 10 hours of full HD video or 140 hours of music on a single charge.

Along with the tri-core CPU, there are six extra processing engines to support 3D graphics, 1,080p video encode/decode, ultra high fidelity audio, advanced cryptography and digital photo data processing.

The ARMADA 628 was also designed to be the first mobile CPU to provide USB 3.0 connectivity.

Texas Instruments and Qualcomm have announced dual-core chips based on Arm designs for tablets, however, this could be the first tri-core chip for mobile devices.