LONDON -- Fujitsu Semiconductor Ltd., a company in turmoil as its system-LSI business unit is being merged with that of Panasonic Corp., is taking the big-little concept and Mali-T624 graphics cores licensed from ARM Holdings PLC into the industrial sector.
Fujitsu said in a press release that its first system on a chip based on these licensed technologies will include dual-core Cortex-A15 and dual-core Cortex-A7 processors cores and is intended for use in consumer and industrial applications and for systems with visualization systems where users control systems via on-screen graphics. In addition, Fujitsu plans to use a quad-core Mali-T624 GPU to take over certain tasks from the CPU cores to further enhance performance while saving power.
The company did not say when the chip would be available, where it would be manufactured, or in what manufacturing process.
The big-little processor strategy -- where a power-optimized processor core is paired with a performance-optimized core as part of a dynamic voltage and frequency scaling regime, and application software is allowed to switch between them -- is reckoned to save energy over implementations based on a single micro-architecture. Fujitsu said the big-little strategy is an efficient way to build a quad-core ARM system and can save up to 70 percent of the energy while still delivering peak performance.
Though the big-little concept was introduced in 2011, it has taken until now for the first implementations to start hitting the market. Samsung's Exynos Octa, a four-by-four implementation of this strategy aimed at mobile devices, is designed into some versions of the Galaxy S4 mobile phone. Renesas Electronics and its Renesas Mobile Corp. have unveiled the R-Car H2 to provide automotive entertainment.
More designs should start coming forward soon. ARM had 17 big-little licensees at the last count. (See: London Calling: Big-little is sweet 16.) The publicly declared ones are CSR, Hisilicon, Fujitsu, Marvell, MediaTek, and Renesas.
"Being able to bring a flexible, high-performance solution to address the dynamic market associated with visual computing is vital for Fujitsu Semiconductor," Mitsugu Naito, executive vice president of its advanced products business unit, said in the release.