Marvell unveils triple-core chip for tablets

Marvell on Thursday announced a triple-core chip for tablets and smartphones that it says will deliver breakthrough graphics and application performance.

The chip company's Armada 628 triple-core chip has two cores running at 1.5GHz and a third core running at 624Mhz, the company said. The chip has an integrated graphics engine that will allow it to play 3D high-definition video.

The chip is based on an Arm processor design and includes two cores for high-performance computing, to run applications over multiple cores, and a third core optimized for low-power computing. The third core "is designed to support routine user tasks and acts as a system management processor to monitor and dynamically scale power and performance," Marvell said.

The chip is available for customers to test, Marvell said.

This is perhaps the first triple-core chip available for tablets and smartphones. Companies such as Texas Instruments and Qualcomm have already announced dual-core chips based on Arm designs for tablets, which could appear in devices next year.

Chip companies usually add cores in a chip as an energy-efficient way to improve performance. Triple-core chips are new to tablets and smartphones, but not to laptops and desktops. Advanced Micro Devices has released triple-core chips for PCs where the cores split up processing between main applications and background applications like antivirus.

Marvell said that the chip will be able to provide up to 10 hours of full 1080p HD video or 140 hours of music on a single charge. The chip also supports the USB 3.0 interface.

Arm licenses its designs to chip makers like Marvell and TI. Arm has said that its processors can scale to quad-core and beyond, but that it was up to chip makers to design and manufacture such chips. Marvell has also said it wants to put Arm-based chips in servers.

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