Imagination Technologies has announced a follow-up to its Creator Ci20 single-board computer, dubbed the Creator Ci40 and boasting a dual-core quad-thread MIPS processor built specifically for Internet of Things (IoT) projects.
Best known to readers of a certain age for providing the graphics technology for Sega's ill-fated Dreamcast console, Imagination has been looking to branch out of the mobile space it currently dominates into the maker community for some time now. Its first tentative launch in the market was the Creator Ci20, released back in December
, which took an existing design and tweaked it for the Raspberry Pi crowd. Its most unique feature, aside from integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios, was its use of the MIPS instruction set architecture in a market where ARM is king.
Now, the company is back with a new board design and a processor it claims is built from the ground up for Internet of Things (IoT) projects and maker use. Based around the MIPS InterAptiv CPU, the processor is once again a dual-core unit but this time around features multi-threading support - allowing it to run four simultaneous threads, much like an Intel HyperThreading-based processor - for improved performance without a dramatic increase in power draw. While the GlobalFoundries-manufactured part is based on a somewhat sizeable 40nm process node, Imagination claims that the processor has benefit over the usual mobile-oriented chips that find their way into maker-targeted single-board computers in having a 'custom IoT subsystem
' in the form of the Ensigma C4500 RPU (Radio Processing Unit) which includes integrated 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1 Low Energy (Bluetooth Smart) connectivity, an upgrade on the original Creator Ci20.
In addition to the dual-core quad-thread CPU and its shared 512KB of L2 cache and RPU, the system-on-chip design includes an SD/eMMC storage interface, built-in analogue to digital (ADC) and digital to analogue (DAC) converters, USB, UART serial, SPI, I²C, I²S, JTAG, and GPIO connectivity. The board, this time around a more traditional shape, also includes numerous expansion headers, more details of which Imagination has promised to release in the coming weeks.
The company has yet to share pricing or a formal launch date for the board, which will be going up against the sub-£30 quad-core Raspberry Pi 2 in the battle for makers' budgets. More information has been promised over the coming weeks on the official website