TI launches 1.5GHz dual-core ARM SoC

December 8, 2010 // 4:50 p.m.

Tags: #arm #cortex-a9 #dsp #dual-core #omap #omap4 #omap4430 #omap4440 #texas-instruments #ti

Texas Instruments has announced its latest assault on the ultra-portable market with a new dual-core OMAP 4 chip designed to power the a new range of tablets and smartphones.

The TI OMAP 4440 combines a pair of ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore CPU cores with a PowerVR SGX540 graphics accelerator to power, in TI's own words, 'multimedia-rich mobile devices' including the next generation of smartphones and tablets.

Designed as an alternative to Nvidia's Tegra 2 platform, the new SOC builds on TI's existing OMAP processors - and brings a claimed 150 percent performance increase over the previous generation Cortex-A8 processors it replaces.

The 45nm CMOS manufacturing process has, TI claims, resulted in a low power chip that still has the grunt to perform intensive tasks such as 1080p30 video encoding and decoding, 1080p stereoscopic 3D support, an OpenGL ES-compatible graphics core, and an integrated image signal processor.

TI is definitely gunning for the multimedia market with this latest chip, as the company has also confirmed that the OMAP 4440 includes a programmable DSP that allows support for future codecs to be added to the chip without requiring a replacement.

The company's SmartReflex 2 technology also features, which allows dynamic control of voltage, frequency, and power based on the requirements of the user or things like ambient temperature.

The integrated image processing platform promises to power devices with up to 20 megapixel camera sensors, while external displays are supported over composite and HDMI outputs at up to 1920x1200.

Sadly, while the SOC includes some impressive input and output capabilities, the company hasn't implemented USB 3.0, instead opting for the previous-generation USB 2.0. While this shouldn't make too much of a difference in a smartphone, for a portable multimedia player a fast method of transferring videos and music onto the device would have been nice.

The OMAP4440 joins the company's existing OMAP4430, which shares the same specifications but runs at 1GHz. So far, TI hasn't offered any clue as to pricing.

Do you look forward to seeing what manufacturers make of TI's OMAP4440 chip, or do you think that Nvidia's Tegra 2 is still the mobile multimedia powerhouse of choice? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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