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Marvell's 1 GHz Mobile CPU Speed Demon

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 9 comments

1GHz of processing power on a cell phone? That's right, and Marvell's PXA168 has enough mettle to do the job!

Incorporating Marvell's Sheeva technology, the PXA168 doesn't sound like anything spectacular, however the processor clocks in at 1 GHz, providing extreme speeds for computing and digital consumer devices, delivering the capabilities of an entry-level laptop. Users can experience full-featured web surfing, multi-format video, video conferencing, Adobe Flash-based content playback and even advanced GUIs. Not only will the processor be affordable for the general consumer, but it also consumes low power for longer battery life. Any type of portable device qualifies: mobile phones, navigation devices, media players, automotive dashboard displays and anything else that exploits Internet connectivity, media processing and touch screen interfaces.

"Marvell prides itself on being at the forefront of innovation, and developing products that give consumers what they want before they even know it can exist," said Roawen Chen, vice president and general manager, Communications and Computing Business Group at Marvell. "For the first time, consumers can utilize the processing power of Marvell's Sheeva technology in their low-power digital devices. With the Marvell PXA168 they get gigahertz plus processor speeds, coupled with a WMMX2 SIMD co-processor, creating the opportunity for whole new markets such as low-cost mobile computing devices."

According to the company, the Marvell PXA168 supports high-definition video with hardware graphics acceleration, rendering fluid framerates on screens up to widescreen ultra extended graphics array resolution. The processor also incorporates the company's Intelligent Color Remapping technology, preserving skin tones while rendering vivid color without shifts or clipping. Northbridge and southbridge interfaces are integrated into the processor as well, offering support for 5-in-1 memory card readers, DDR2 memory, USB, Ethernet interfaces and more.

The biggest selling point of the PXA168--outside its speed--is likely the CPU's scalability, says Marvell. Previously, digital consumer devices featured proprietary real-time operating systems with custom-crafted applications "that yielded non-scalable, single-function products." Apparently, the PXA168 offers a scalable environment with the capability of creating a new ecosystem. As an example, the company said to look at how advanced smart phones have changed the mobile market. "This new innovative architecture enables a new suite of software and applications, such as Adobe Flash and Flash Lite player as well Internet widgets running on top of full-featured operating systems, such as open-source Linux," the company said. To be honest though, current generation phones like the Android G1 and iPhone offer these features already.

As of this writing, the Marvell PXA168 supports the Linux and Windows CE platforms, as well as all standard video and audio codecs, Adobe Flash products, advanced GUIs and many other third party software. Marvell is also offering packaging options that include BGA and a QFP with a 1mm pad pitch, enabling the use of 2-layer PCBs. Marvell said that it can also provide complete platform solutions that could utilize embedded Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and power management.

Currently, Marvell is selling its 1 HGz PXA168 processor to "top-tier" digital consumer OEMs and working with third-party developers to port their applications to the PXA168 platform.

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  • 0 Hide
    MU_Engineer , January 12, 2009 4:44 PM
    Processors like this are why Intel will never succeed in trying to bring x86 into devices smaller than little laptops with the Atom. The actual price of the PXA168 wasn't mentioned and Marvell's website has been knocked out (slashdotted?) but it will be significantly less expensive than the Atom due to the PXA168 being a complete SoC setup that can use a two-layer motherboard versus the two-chip setup of the Atom + US15W that requires a four-layer motherboard.
  • 0 Hide
    Hatecrime69 , January 12, 2009 5:32 PM
    of course the only problem with this is many programs on such devices are still written in slow as heck java, until that is gotten rid of maybe we'll see more power from current and new chips like this
  • -1 Hide
    nekatreven , January 12, 2009 6:04 PM
    Hatecrime69of course the only problem with this is many programs on such devices are still written in slow as heck java, until that is gotten rid of maybe we'll see more power from current and new chips like this


    could not agree more. What kills me more is how common java is taught as the language to learn (at least in US schools). I have to take two Java based OOP classes for my undergrad.

    I'm pretty sure high schools that have College Board advanced placement computer science classes are still force feeding students java too. My APCSII semester was the last one that was in c++. lucky me...
  • Display all 9 comments.
  • -1 Hide
    gamerk316 , January 12, 2009 6:48 PM
    nekatrevencould not agree more. What kills me more is how common java is taught as the language to learn (at least in US schools). I have to take two Java based OOP classes for my undergrad.I'm pretty sure high schools that have College Board advanced placement computer science classes are still force feeding students java too. My APCSII semester was the last one that was in c++. lucky me...


    Same with me, I was in the last class of NYIT to learn C++. Thats what you get when your professors havn't been in the field for 3 decades...
  • -1 Hide
    zerapio , January 13, 2009 12:43 AM
    Quote:
    rendering fluid framerates on screens up to widescreen ultra extended graphics array resolution


    What a mouth full. I guess WUXGA wasn't cool enough.
  • 0 Hide
    apache_lives , January 13, 2009 5:30 AM
    x86 in general is hard to bring to a phone, same as the architecture and way of use/implementation - memory bus, video adapter, south bridge etc, and intel wants slightly larger and more usable/capable devices (supporting windows etc) hence atom is a step in the right direction, but never intended for use in a mobile phone or similar device.

    BTW as far as im aware Marvel bough out those designs from Intel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Xscale) - dont tell me intel isnt capable of making such a chip.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 13, 2009 2:46 PM
    Already for a while Intel is claiming to bring a 1Watt chip.Though I heard little of it lately, that chip was said to be enough to do all everyday tasks like checking email, doing word processing and office tasks, viewing youtube and flashfiles...

    1 watt is not that uncommon for cellphones, but it is, when it's optimized to do all of the above tasks!

    It seems to me to be a close contender to that 'one watt chip' intel is claiming to bring; even looks like the one watt,aimed for Ultra Mobile internet devices (they say including mini netbooks,so I suspect it will perform like the silverthorne Atom processor), will be more powerful than this one.. I could be wrong about this though..
  • 0 Hide
    astroturtle , April 8, 2009 9:21 PM
    I just got mine last night! Pretty sweet setup... The part that plugs into the wall socket is removable and accepts a power cord (included). Speed is pretty good. It comes preinstalled with Ubuntu and is pretty much plug-in and log-in.

    So far I loaded mine up as a LAMP (linux, apache, mysql and php) server and got Samba and VSFTPd going. That takes about about 55% of the available 512MB. I also plugged in an external usb hard drive to beef up the cpacity.

    I have my new file server/dev box! Yaay Sheeva!
  • 0 Hide
    astroturtle , April 8, 2009 9:21 PM
    I just got mine last night! Pretty sweet setup... The part that plugs into the wall socket is removable and accepts a power cord (included). Speed is pretty good. It comes preinstalled with Ubuntu and is pretty much plug-in and log-in.

    So far I loaded mine up as a LAMP (linux, apache, mysql and php) server and got Samba and VSFTPd going. That takes about about 55% of the available 512MB. I also plugged in an external usb hard drive to beef up the cpacity.

    I have my new file server/dev box! Yaay Sheeva!