Marvell Embraces 64-bit, Octo-Core, And Integrated LTE Trends


Marvell announced two new 64-bit ARMv8 SoCs that come with 5-mode integrated LTE modems in an effort to capture some share in emerging LTE markets. The two chips are called PXA1908 and PXA1936, with both based on Cortex A53 CPUs. The type of networks that are supported include TD-LTE, FDD-LTE, TD-SCDMA, WCDMA and GSM.

The PXA1908 is the lower-end one and comes with a quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex A53 CPU, image processing that supports sensors up to 13 MP resolution, support for displays up to 720p resolution, and of course the integrated 5-mode modem.

The PXA1936 is the higher-end chip that has eight Cortex A53 cores that are clocked higher at 1.5 GHz each. It supports resolutions up to 16 MP, and it comes with audio codec support for increased power efficiency and audio performance. Unlike the low-end chip, this one comes with a security processor, as well. The 5-mode integrated LTE modem is also present here.

"Mobile processors continue to innovate rapidly. In the smartphone market, I expect the biggest growth will be in affordable phones using highly integrated processors. The 64-bit ARMADA Mobile PXA1936 extends Marvell's success in this market with a higher-performance octa-core architecture," said Linley Gwennap, Principal Analyst of The Linley Group.

Marvell's main mobile market these days is in China, where its main competitor there is Mediatek. With these integrated LTE modems, Marvell is proving to be a tough competitor for Mediatek which doesn't yet have a chip with integrated LTE, although the company is not too far behind. The Oppo U3 smartphone should arrive soon with a Mediatek MT6752, a chip that does have integrated LTE on board.

In China there seems to be much demand for phones that have eight cores, even if the difference in performance may not be noticeable compared to a quad-core chip. However, many chip companies are starting to capitalize on this trend, including Qualcomm, which has also built two eight-core chips, also based on Cortex A53, with the Snapdragon 615 and the Snapdragon 810. Eight-core CPUs and especially integrated LTE seem to be trends chip companies just can't ignore in some large mobile markets.

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Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.