LONDON NEC Electronics Corp. looks set to grab a share of the lead in terms of high performance ARM processors at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week with a quad-core Cortex-A9 design. The technology is due to showcased on the booth of ARM Holdings plc (Cambridge, England), the originator of the Cortex-A9 multiprocessing core.
Marvell Technology Group Ltd., a supplier of chips for storage, communications and consumer electronics, claimed to have developed the world's first "quadruple" core processor based on the ARM architecture at the Consumer Electronics Show, but did not show the technology or provide any detail. It is not clear whether Marvell's design is based on Cortex-A9 or is a custom design. The Marvell design is said to run at a clock frequency in excess of 1-GHz.
Similarly the A4 processor, designed by Apple Inc. and used within its iPad computer tablet, is said to run at greater than 1-GHz but the internal architecture has yet to be described publicly. It is thought to be a customized multicore A-class processor with PowerVR graphics core.
Other processors on show at Mobile World Congress are set to include the dual-core Cortex-A9 Tegra mobile web processor from Nvidia and dual-core Omap-4 processor from Texas Instruments.
NEC has been an eager proponent of multiprocessing with the ARM architecture. NEC made the first implementation of multicored ARM processor back in 2005. It was a test chip based on the ARMv6 instruction set architecture, comprising four ARM11 processors running with cache coherence and made by NEC using a generic 130-nm manufacturing process.
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