New rumors on Marvell’s upcoming Tri-core ARM Processors

Posted by – July 28, 2011
Category: Marvell

Marvell has an Architectural ARM licence, like Qualcomm and Microsoft. What that means is that they can take the ARM Instruction Set Architecture but customize things around that and implement things as they want to differentiate.

SemiAccurate’s moles say that Marvell is cooking up an A9/A15 hybrid part, philosophically closer to the A9 on the core, but with a very A15-like memory controller. This likely means a 3-pipe design rather than a 4-pipe, but with >32-bit memory access and virtualization instructions. The new chip should implement the full A15 ISA, so there should be no software compatibility issues, but has less raw grunt than a full A15. At least on paper.

SemiAccurate speculates that this is either to lower the cost at near Cortex-A15 performance, or to configure things to try and provide the highest ARM chip performance on the market, targeting Laptops and Servers even more so than others do.

multiple sources in the know say that the key players in the ARM game are all quite nervous about Marvell’s offering, more so than even Krait. Specifics are few, but interest is very high among CPU watchers and system builders. If this chip pans out like many are saying, it could be one of the, if not the fastest ‘next gen’ ARM core. Marvell is not going to be the ‘quiet type’ for much longer, stay tuned.

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