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Toshiba's New 'TZ5000 ApP Lite' Chips Focus On IoT Devices, Wearables, Streaming

Toshiba recently expanded its TZ5000 line of processors with four new chips that focus on IoT devices, streaming sticks and wearables, as well as other products that don't have strenuous performance demands. The new chips are: TZ5010XBG, TZ5011XBG, TZ5021XBG and TZ5023XBG.

The TZ5010XBG and TZ5011XBG will have dual-core 1.0 GHz Cortex-A9 CPUs along with a PowerVR SGX540 GPU. The other two, the TZ5021XBG and TZ5023XBG, will have the same CPU and GPU, but the CPU will be clocked lower at 800M Hz per core.

We've seen before that many IoT chips are in fact powered by CPUs and GPUs that were in high-end smartphones 4-5 years ago. This should still give more than enough performance for many IoT devices. It also allows chip makers to sell them at a much lower price.

Power consumption may be a little higher compared to more modern low-power chips on newer process nodes, but in this case it seems Toshiba has tried to optimize the chips as much as possible for energy efficiency.

The IoT-focused SoCs feature some more modern components as well, such as Imagination's VXD395 VPU (Video Processing Unit), which supports many video codecs including H.265 (HEVC), H.264, H.263, MPEG-4, MPEG- 2, WMV9/VC-1, AVS, WebM, VP8 and Real RMVB.

The chips also support high-performance 802.11ac 2x2 Wi-Fi thanks to Imagination's Ensigma 4500 RPU (Radio Processing Unit).

High-speed peripherals and NAND flash memory are also integrated in one package on the four SoCs to enable quicker boot times and faster access to memory for real-time operating systems.

Although the MIPS CPUs haven't quite caught on with mobile chip makers yet due to the near ubiquity of ARM CPUs in that market, Imagination is still a strong player in the mobile GPU market. It also seems to be gaining ground with other SoC components such as radio chips, video accelerators or security engines. Right now, Toshiba seems to be one of Imagination's larger customers for these SoC components, as made evident by the new TZ5000 ApP Lite chips.

The TZ5010XBG and the TZ5011XBG chips will go into mass production at the end of this month, while the TZ5021XBG and TZ5023XBG chips will enter mass production in June.

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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.