LONDON – ST-Ericsson is launching a chip made using silicon-on-insulator technology that it claims is the world's fastest and lowest-power smartphone application processor with integrated LTE modem. The company is demonstrating the chip at the Consumer Electronics Show taking place in Las Vegas.
The NovaThor L8580 ModAp – ModAp for modem and application processor – is the first LTE-capable application processor designed to be implemented in 28-nm fully-depleted silicon on insulator (FDSOI) process technology. It integrates a dual-core Cortex-A9 processor capable of operating at up to 2.5-GHz clock frequency at peak performance, but also capable of operating down at 0.6-V to conserve power. This is a direct result of using an FDSOI manufacturing process.
ST-Ericsson has dubbed its implementation of the dual-core Cortex-A9 on the FDSOI process eQuad. ST-Ericsson argues that two physical cores can run in two different modes, creating an electrically-enabled quad core.
The L8580 also includes a PowerVR SGX544 graphics processor running at 600-MHz and a multimode LTE modem operating at up to 150-Mbits per second. The L8580 will be available in sample quantities in the first quarter of 2013, ST-Ericsson NV (Geneva, Switzerland) said.
In the low-power mode the L8580 can deliver 5,000 DMIPS of performance at 0.6 volts, which is enough computing power for most applications, according to the company. The low-power mode consumes 50 percent of the power at the same performance when compared with bulk CMOS platforms, ST-Ericsson said.
The integrated modem supports up to ten LTE/HSPA/TD-SCDMA/GSM bands for ease of global adoption of LTE smartphones and supports 3GPP Release 10 with LTE up to Category 4 (150Mbps).
The NovaThor L8580 also supports 1080p video encoding and playback at up to 60 frames per second, 1080p 3D camcorder functionality, support for displays up to WUXGA (1920x1200) at 60 frames per second and support for cameras up to 20 megapixels.
The platform provides connectivity support for Bluetooth, GPS, FM, WiFi Direct, Miracast and NFC aided by the CG2905 and CW1260 chips.
"Building on the architecture of our first-generation NovaThor L8540 LTE ModAp announced last year, we believe our new platform represents a real industry breakthrough," said Didier Lamouche, CEO of ST-Ericsson, in a statement., "It combines the most advanced technologies available, including STMicroelectronics' innovative 28-nm FDSOI process, to create an unrivalled blend of unsurpassed performance with unequalled power efficiency in an advanced LTE integrated ModAp."
Lamouche continued: "The creative combination of the key technology ingredients – FDSOI, ultra thin active and isolation layers and innovative double-gate vertical transistors enabling smart body biasing – delivers the response the mobile industry needs in terms of higher performance, extreme power efficiency and technology robustnesss. The results we see on our NovaThor L8580 confirm the disruptive nature of FDSOI technology and next generations of high performance LTE platforms will be able to fully benefit from our breakthrough technology and designs."
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