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

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.

Comments closed
    • willmore
    • 5 years ago

    Can we get one of these in the next Raspberry Pi? You can use Neely’s idea and call it the octaPi.

    • brucethemoose
    • 5 years ago

    This is a high end SOC for the Chinese market, where having the number “8” anywhere in your spec sheet is a huge deal.

    [url<]http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numbers_in_Chinese_culture#Eight[/url<]

      • chuckula
      • 5 years ago

      You just need to repost 6 more times to get to the lucky number!

        • brucethemoose
        • 5 years ago

        No, I just need 2 more replies!

      • MadManOriginal
      • 5 years ago

      +8

      • gamoniac
      • 5 years ago

      I am not sure how this is relevant… But if numbers are important, every culture has its own lucky or unlucky numbers. Can you think of any in ours?

        • Farting Bob
        • 5 years ago

        13.

      • brucethemoose
      • 5 years ago

      Aww, ya’ll ruined the symmetry.

      Once we hit 8 posts , my phone started vibrating violently, the wind suddenly picked up, and I was repeatedly hit in the face by $5 bills.

    • brucethemoose
    • 5 years ago

    This is a high end SOC for the Chinese market, where having the number “8” anywhere in your spec sheet is a huge deal.

    [url<]http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numbers_in_Chinese_culture#Eight[/url<]

      • chuckula
      • 5 years ago

      You just need to repost 6 more times to get to the lucky number!

        • brucethemoose
        • 5 years ago

        No, I just need 2 more replies!

      • MadManOriginal
      • 5 years ago

      +8

    • jjj
    • 5 years ago

    ” high-end mobile devices”

    This must be the dumbest thing TR said in the last decade, if you have no clue what A53 is then …
    This is a 15-20$ SOC heading towards 10-12$ in a few months , that would go in sub 200$ devices (at China prices) with 5-5.5 inch 1080p screen and sub 120$ with 720p.
    GPU wise, Marvell always uses Vivante.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 5 years ago

    Obligatory RIP Intel.

      • NeelyCam
      • 5 years ago

      Definitely RIP Intel.

      This one has REAL 64b. Intel’s is just a hacked-together extension that they had to steal from one of the ARM licensees.

    • chuckula
    • 5 years ago

    It’s about freakin’ time!
    These chips will definitely get the best folding scores on a smartphone.
    BECAUSE WHAT GOOD IS A SMARTPHONE IF IT CAN’T FOLD?*

    * Apple’s getting closer with the bendy iPhone 6, but it’s still not quite a fold.

    • anshu87
    • 5 years ago

    Looking past the useless core count these look pretty good. Cat 4 LTE, 4 core A53 & decent GPU? for $100 is sweet.

    • maroon1
    • 5 years ago

    Cortex A53 is high end ?! LOL

    • anshu87
    • 5 years ago

    Charlie D says the GPU is from Vivante.

      • Pwnstar
      • 5 years ago

      LOL charlie?

    • mesyn191
    • 5 years ago

    8 of these A53 cores @ 1.5Ghz seems kinda dumb. There are almost no tablet work loads that’ll make use of 4 much less 8 cores.

    I’d rather have had 4 higher clocked A53’s or a better GPU, or heck, a bigger better cache L1/L2 cache + 4 1.53Ghz A53’s.

    Stupid core/stat number inflation game is just wasting money.

      • NeelyCam
      • 5 years ago

      8 is the magic number. It makes everything better.

      Why do you think AMD calls their four-module chips “octa-cores”? Because they like octopi?

    • tipoo
    • 5 years ago

    Stupid. Stupid stupid stupid. It’s marketing, nothing else. The fourth core in mobile devices is already touched so little. Two big cores are better than four small, and four big cores would definitely be better than 8 small.

    I guess the issue here is R&D cost. Apple can front the money for high performance per core parts, Intel can, Nvidia is getting there but with issues, but for a lot of other players in this market, to up theoretical max performance that big research cost for single core performance cant be made, so they throw more cores at the problem. And it’s not good for consumers, since only the first three to four cores will see use in the vast majority of apps, even with background stuff happening.

    The Cortex-A53 isn’t even the high end to start with ffs, there’s no point in eight of those for tablets instead of 4 of its bigger brother.

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