Category: ARM TechCon

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PLDA PCI Express and USB3 for ASIC and FPGA

Posted by Charbax – October 26, 2011

They can provide the IP to integrate PCI Express type 3 and USB3 on ARM Powered devices, for example and ARM Powered Laptop or Tablet.

Interview with the Texas Instruments OMAP4 team

Posted by Charbax – October 26, 2011

The TI OMAP4 team answers some of my OMAP4 related questions. Check back in the next 3 days for some Texas Instruments related videos to be posted from here at the ARM Technology Conference.

- What caused the delay for OMAP4460 1.5Ghz availability?

TI collaborates consistently with customers, ensuring the resulting products are effectively leveraging the OMAP platform to meet their device needs. The OMAP4460 processor is capable of running up to 1.5GHz. Devices on the market today are leveraging that same processor at 1.2GHz. Expect OMAP4460 processor-based devices running at 1.5GHz in the near future.

- Are OMAP4 at 1.2Ghz OMAP4460 or OMAP4430 type? How does Video playback, GPU, memory bandwidth differ between 1.2Ghz and 1.5Ghz for OMAP4? Any other differences other than clock frequency?

Both the OMAP4430 and OMAP4460 processors are clocked at 1.2GHz in recently announced devices, the Droid RAZR and Samsung Galaxy Nexus respectively. Experiences are fairly consistent with both clock speeds, but the 1.5GHz gives an extra boost. The main upgrades to the OMAP4460 processor are an increased GPU performance and improved external memory access performance.

- How much faster is the OMAP4460 memory bandwidth compared to the Tegra2 devices that are on the market? Are we talking 7.5Gbitps vs 2.5Gbitps? Which other improvements would you say OMAP4460 provides over Tegra2?

The OMAP4460 processor delivers class-leading, dual-channel LPDDR2 memory architecture, vastly superior to competitive offerings, including Tegra 2. This memory capacity mixes with our smart-multicore approach in using specialized hardware to offload tasks from the main ARM processor to meet lower power consumption. Our video accelerator plus dual Cortex-M3 cores present a good example: all video standards are accelerated without using the main ARM MHz, and we achieve lower power than competitive devices that use more of the main ARM. Even with a fifth core, competition will still consume more power than dedicated hardware.

The OMAP4460 processor also includes 13 video decoders in the hardware – 4X the support of competitive offerings – and the highest level of mobile security for end-to-end protection. The OMAP 4 platform’s fully end-to-end security and video performance were key to its use in the Motorola Droid RAZR—the first device certified to stream premium Netflix content in HD. Click here for our related Mobile Momentum post.

- How does OMAP4460 compare with Samsung Exynos 4210 1.2Ghz in the Samsung Galaxy S2 (european version)? How does it compare with Qualcomm MSM8660 1.5Ghz in Samsung Galaxy S2 (us version)?

First, I’d like to add that the OMAP4430 is leveraged in the Samsung Galaxy S2 (Asia version), as well. The differentiators mentioned in the above question/response apply here as well. Since OMAP4460 processor-based devices are not yet on store shelves, there are no public benchmarks available at this time. However, we can say that the performance + power balance of the OMAP4460 exceeds that of competitors, similar to how its predecessors do on devices today. For example, we see today that Qualcomm’s MSM8260 graphics performance enables about 75 percent of what OMAP4430 processors can enable. Qualcomm claims a 1.5x performance improvement for the MSM8960 Adreno225, the resulting performance will land between that of OMAP4430 and the OMAP4470 capabilities. TI will still lead with the graphics performance of the OMAP4460 and OMAP4470 offerings.

- How does OMAP4460 compare with Apple A5 in iPhone 4S? How does OMAP4460 SGX540 compare with the Apple A5 SGX544? Is the OMAP4 configuration higher clock frequency on the GPU?

The architecture of the OMAP platform as a whole hinges on a sophisticated balance between the best performance and ultra-low power consumption. We’ve spent a decade+ perfecting this balance. We are not in the business of speeds and feeds, where merely cranking up a core’s speed is acceptable or appropriate. At TI, we believe that the GPUs, the CPUs and every other element in the platform must be in sync to achieve optimal performance across the system. And, we consistently deliver on that—finely tuning the performance levels to what each OMAP processor chassis ideally supports.
With that said, we’ve seen competitors increase, for example, their GPU performance with dramatic trade-offs. Those trade-offs typically mean larger die sizes—some at ~50% larger than the OMAP4460 processor—and greater power consumption, which in turn incur higher costs for the OEM and higher power loss for the end user. What’s more, end device applications have not yet caught up with the highest graphics performance delivered by these competitors. So, the competitive solutions are increasing costs, board space and power usage to provide performance that cannot be used by the end consumer.
TI, instead, remains focused on delivering OMAP processors with performance that is viable and highly-effective for our customers and, ultimately, their customers—the end user. Staying with the GPU example, the OMAP4460 processer includes the SGX540 GPU with dual channel memory and DSS. This graphics core is running at an increased speed compared to its preceding performance on the OMAP4430—delivering greater performance without draining power. This OMAP capability, along with the platform’s overall smart multicore architecture and offloading to cores more appropriate for tasks is a part of why the OMAP4460 is used in Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich GED—the Galaxy Nexus. The OMAP4460 competitively provided the best performance on all fronts within the ideal power envelope.

- How does OMAP4460 1.5Ghz compare with some of the latest Intel Atom in a netbook form factor? Can we run unlimited amounts of tabs in Chrome OS and Ice Cream Sandwich full screen HD web browsers?

The OMAP architecture is built upon the high performance + low power balance. The latter part of that equation is one that some competitors – including Intel – have yet to prove on mobile form factors. Yes, we can support multiple tabs on HD browsers.

- Is Flash11 fully hardware accelerated on OMAP4 yet? How soon is it ready? Does it mean 1080p Flash plays 100% smoothly in full screen on Android?

TI and Adobe have a deep working relationship, and currently have Flash video fully accelerated supporting 1080p Flash video. TI will continue to optimize the performance as new generations of Flash are released.

- Which benchmarks in Android show the full performance of OMAP4460? Are there any tweaks that you, Google or manufacturers can make to improve benchmark results for how OMAP4460 devices should compare with Tegra2, Exynos 4210, MSM8660 devices?

The only announced OMAP4460 processor device is the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Because this device has not launched, there are no public performance benchmarks currently available.

- How does OMAP4460 1.5Ghz compare with Nvidia Tegra3 Kal-El? How does OMAP4470 1.8Ghz compare with it? Is it correct to consider that an OMAP4470 dual-core 1.8Ghz mostly performas faster than a Tegra3 quad-core 1.2Ghz? How soon are you shipping OMAP4470 and is it nearly fully compatible with OMAP4460 designs making the upgrade relatively simple for manufacturers?

As mentioned in the above response, the OMAP4460 and OMAP4470 processors offer various benefits over Nvidia’s comparative solutions. The OMAP4460 processor delivers class-leading, dual-channel LPDDR2 memory architecture, vastly superior to competitive offerings, including Tegra 2. This memory capacity mixes with our smart-multicore approach in using specialized hardware to offload tasks from the main ARM processor to meet lower power consumption. Our video accelerator plus dual Cortex-M3 cores present a good example: all video standards are accelerated without using the main ARM MHz, and we achieve lower power than competitive devices that use more of the main ARM. Even with a fifth core, competition will still consume more power than dedicated hardware. The OMAP4460 processor also include 13 video decoders in the hardware – 4X the support of competitive offerings – and the highest level of mobile security for end-to-end protection.

Moving to the next generation, the OMAP4470 processor is not just faster ARM speed. It is optimized for large screen form factors with 2D/3D accelerators and dual-channel memory. An example is a 1080p VTC with UI composition on a WUXGA screen – this uses up to 5GBps of memory. Competitors’ processors with single-channel memory simply cannot deliver, and dual-channel, non-interleaved competitive solutions run out of steam as well.

The OMAP4470 processor is expected to sample in the second half of 2011, with devices expected to hit the market in first half 2012. The OMAP4470 processor has complete pin-to-pin hardware and software compatibility, allowing rapid transition and maximum re-use of investment from OMAP4430 and OMAP4460 processors.

- I'd understand that Google does not let you say, but if OMAP4460 is reference platform for Ice Cream Sandwich, does that mean Android 4.0 can be used for Smartphones, Tablets, Laptops, Set-top-boxes and combinations thereof also? Any thing to say about how advanced you have become working with Linaro, with Canonical, Google on Chrome OS or Google TV (if those aren't yet fully combined in Ice Cream Sandwich)?

TI’s OMAP4460 processor is indeed the processor of choice for Ice Cream Sandwich. Check out our Mobile Momentum blog post for more: click here. We envision Android 4.0 running on a slew of OMAP 4 processor-based form factors, from smartphones to tablets, ultra-thin computing devices and more. In terms of the last part of your questions, we can’t comment on any engagements beyond those that are public. What’s more – we’re excited that the OMAP4460 processor is the processor of choice for the first Android OS that can port from Smartphones to Tablets.

Overall, we have very strong, working relationships with the groups you mentioned.

Live streamed from ARM TechCon, archive 1

Posted by Charbax – October 26, 2011

I streamed a bit from ARM TechCon today using my headmounted live camera. I tried to monitor the live Ustream chat in my OMAP3 powered Kopin Golden-i headmounted computer system. Check back in the next 3 days for more live video streaming and for my full HD video coverage with interviews with ARM industry insiders, ARM chip designers, foundries and more.


ARM Techcon 2011 (October 25-27th), look for awesome video-blogging here during the next 3 days

Posted by Charbax – October 25, 2011

Look forward to 3 days of awesomeness from the ARM Technology Conference here in Santa Clara. All the major ARM chip makers are here to present the latest, newest and fastest ARM processors ever, to be in all future Smartphones, Tablets, Laptops, Set-top-boxes, E-readers and more.

Look at the list of exhibitors, do some searches on Google Blogsearch, Google+ and Twitter, then please write here in the comments any interesting topics that you think that I should film in priority, please write your suggestions for questions that I should ask to the ARM related companies here at the conference.

ARM and IBM develop 32nm -> 28nm -> 22nm -> 20nm -> 14nm and smaller processors

Posted by Charbax – January 21, 2011

ARM and IBM have been collaborating for 3 years on designing smaller and smaller processors for the industry, improving SoC density, routability, manufacturability, power consumption and performance. Just a year ago, the standard was about 65nm for most ARM Cortex-A8 processors in devices on the market such as the Nexus One. About 6 months ago, 45nm ARM Cortex-A8 processors appeared on the market such as in the ipad/iphone4, galaxy tab/s, droid x/pro. Recent devices with Nvidia Tegra2 are 40nm. The next step for ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core and quad-core processors to appear on the market this year are in designs of 32nm (50% shrink off 45nm node) and 28nm (50% shrink off 40nm node). What's next? They are working on 22nm and 20nm designs for 2012 and have been announcing since ARM Techcon last November that they have 14nm designs for as soon as 2014 that are under work with IBM.

You have to consider, it's not possible to make them smaller than 0nm, there are no minus nanometers. Their achievements in shrinking processor designs are insane. The investments are huge. They have to invest billions of dollars in fundamental research of materials and processes, they have to invent new mathematical tricks. Some of these technologies take 10 years from the lab research to something that can be mass manufactured. To make it feasible, the ARM industry has to collaborate (2).

The reason for wanting smaller process size is to consume less power, to increase performance and to potentially lower cost of devices at the same time (factoring out the increasing cost of R&D for smaller designs through very huge scale).

Watch my video of IBM's Vice President of Semiconductor Research and Development, Dr. Gary Patton, keynoting on how they are getting to 14nm ARM Processor designs and smaller:

Press release at ibm.com

Parrot Asteroid Android powered car radio/hands-free Bluetooth kit

Posted by Charbax – January 5, 2011

Here's a new hands-free Bluetooth kit, voice activated, with 4 USB hosts and a line in audio jack, high quality audio, support for USB 3G dongles, it runs a customized version of Android on an ARM9 processor, uses a 3.2" screen, it support installing third party applications. They are also showing a version of their Android in-car system on a 4.3" touch screen for in-car navigation support as well.

My Top-12 videos filmed at the ARM Techcon 2010

Posted by Charbax – November 19, 2010

I had a lot of fun video-blogging 30 videos from the ARM Technology Conference in Santa Clara California from November 9th to November 11th. Because it can be a lot of work for you to navigate through all these videos, here is my list of top-12 videos that I filmed during this event. If you have other favorites, please post them in the comments.

1. Simon Segars, Executive VP and General Manager ARM Physical IP Division, interview with one of the board members of ARM, I try to ask some questions about how the company was founded and where the industry is going.

2. Marvell Armada XP Quad-core ARM Powered Servers, here's an insight into how ARM Powered servers could power most of the cloud much more efficiently.

3. Gary Smith EDA on the future of Chip Design, an insight into software development, chip design, ARM, EDA and how the industry works.

4. ARM Mali-T604, the next generation GPU for ARM Powered devices, this is the big announcement from ARM during the conference. It's the next generation GPU to go with the next-generation ARM Cortex-A15 processor, designs becoming available next year, and it takes at least a year or two for chip makers to implement those next-generation designs.

5. Linaro Graphics Group, an interview about how graphics acceleration is important in the open source Linux for ARM developments. I also interviewed George Grey the Linaro CEO.

6. John Bruggeman of Cadence on EDA360, some interesting talk about how the industry needs to collaborate on some points to better innovate on other points more efficiently.

7. Nufront ARM Cortex-A9 can run at 2Ghz for Desktop and Laptop usage, this Chinese chip maker is preparing upward 2Ghz ARM Cortex-A9 processor to power Desktops, Laptops, Thin Clients. They want the price to be below $200 to the end consumer, this is awesome.

8. PandaBoard, Texas Instruments ARM Cortex-A9, a first look at the next-generation Texas Instruments OMAP4 processor in the PandaBoard.org development kit. Will full speed web browsing be optimized using Neon acceleration and other hardware acceleration?

9. Nvidia Tegra2 ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core performance for web browsing, it's interesting to see how the second core in ARM Cortex-A9 chips allow for faster web browsing in Android.

10. Samsung Orion ARM Cortex-A9 and Mali-400 shown for the first time, so far my most popular video from the conference. This chip will probably power the next generation Samsung Galaxy S/Tab devices, including also possibly Samsung's Google TV and some of Samsung's future laptop and netbook products. I also filmed some 3D games demonstrated running on this Orion processor.

11. ST Ericsson U8500 ARM Cortex-A9, they are also doing some interesting implementation of ARM Cortex-A9, presenting their demo with Meego developed in combination with the help from the Linaro project.

12. Freescale Kinetis Tower System now sampling, the Freescale Tower Systems look to be some fun development kits.

Tudor Brown, President of ARM, keynote at ARM Techcon 2010

Posted by Charbax – November 18, 2010

Tudor Brown announces Mali-T604 and explains the status of the ARM industry. I will link to the full length video once I find the link.

Archos 7 Home Tablet teared down by EETimes at ARM Techcon 2010

Posted by Charbax – November 18, 2010

Before interviewing me on my interests in ARM Devices, EETimes editors Brian Fuller and Patrick Mannion went ahead and opened up the Archos 7 Home Tablet in front of a large audience of about 100 people at the ARM Techcon 2010 exhibitor area theater stage. They talked about the features of some of the processors that are used.

Dr. Sehat Sutardja Marvell CEO keynote at ARM Techcon 2010

Posted by Charbax – November 18, 2010

Dr. Sehat Sutardja, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Marvell, talks about the ARM industry, how he decided to bet on ARM Technology when he founded Marvell about 15 years ago. How he sees performance of ARM Processors increase to levels that support PC/Desktop applications. I will link to the full length keynote video once I find the link. Please post the video link in the comments if you find it.