Marvell courts high-end mobile devices with eight-core, 64-bit ARM SoC

— 10:56 AM on November 18, 2014

Marvell has introduced a couple of 64-bit SoCs for smartphones and tablets. The beefiest of the two is the Armada Mobile PXA1936, which has eight processor cores clocked up to 1.5GHz. Unlike some other octa-core chips, this isn't a big.LITTLE arrangement that mixes high- and low-power cores. All eight cores are based on ARM's Cortex-A53 design.

The ARM cores are joined by "advanced graphics" of unknown origin. We know that the onboard GPU supports 1080p displays and can decode and encode video at that resolution. However, the product page and press release are devoid of additional graphics details. We've asked Marvell for more information.

The Armada Mobile PXA1936. Source: Marvell

As for wireless, Marvell President Weili Dai says the PXA1936 delivers "best-in-class 5-mode 4G LTE connectivity." The chip also has a dedicated security processor, an integrated sensor hub, and an image processor capable of handling 16-megapixel cameras.

And it has a little brother, too. The "cost-optimized" Armada Mobile PXA1908 sticks with the Cortex-A53 but cuts the core count to four and the peak clock speed to 1.2GHz. The press release for this chip doesn't mention graphics at all except to say that displays are limited to a 720p resolution. It does, however, tout the same 4G LTE support as the PXA1936. That chip's security processor and sensor hub aren't mentioned in the quad's press release or product page.

Marvell expects both of its new Armada SoCs to be available in Android smartphones and tablets early next year. The PXA1936 should appear in high-end devices, while the PXA1908 sticks to more budget-oriented machines.

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