Electronic Design
ARM Microcontroller For The Cloud Delivers Quad Cores And Quad Peripherals

ARM Microcontroller For The Cloud Delivers Quad Cores And Quad Peripherals

Marvell is adding a quad core ARM v7 microcontroller to its Armada family. The Armada XP targets enterprise applications like cloud computing servers. It will also find a home in high performance NAS and multimedia servers. The 1.6 GHz Armada XP chip (Fig. 1) can deliver 16,600 DMIPS performance for less than 10W of power. It support SMP and AMP configurations. The architecture (Fig. 2) includes a 2 Mbyte L2 cache and has a 64-bit DDR2/DDR3/DDR3L memory interface with ECC support. It can handle memory up to 800MHz clock rates. There is also a NAND flash interface.

Marvell has been targeting storage controllers with its Armada line. The Marvell Plug Computer was a single core system-on-a-chip (SoC). It has been used in products like PogoPlug and Seagate's Dockstar (see Pogoplug and DockStar Are Internet NAS Boxes). The Armada XP delivers significantly more computing power and adds XOR RAID hardware support.

The number four shows up a bit in the Armada XP design. In addition to four cores, the chip has four x4 PCI Express Gen 2.0 units. Two can be used a four x1 ports. On the communication side there are four Gigabit Ethernet ports. These high speed serial interfaces are supported by sixteen Marvell SERDES.

The numbers change when examining the other built-in peripherals. For example, there are three USB 2.0 ports and two SATA 2.0 ports. Lower bandwidth ports include I2C, UARTs and SDIO.

The Marvell ARMADA XP (Extreme Performance) series includes one, two and four core versions.

  MV78130 MV78230 MV78160 MV78260 MV78460
Cores 1 Core 2 Cores 1 Core 2 Cores 4 Cores
L2 Cache 1Mbytes 1Mbytes 1Mbytes 1Mbytey 2Mbytes
DRAM 32bits+ECC 32bits+ECC 64/32bits+ECC 64/32bits+ECC 64/32bits+ECC
PCI-e 2.0 1 unit
x4 / quad x1
1 unit x1
1 unit
x4 / quad x1
1 unit x1
2 unit
x4 / quad x1
1 unit x4
2 unit
x4 / quad x1
1 unit x4
2 unit
x4 / quad x1
2 unit x4
Gigabit Ports 3 Ports 3 Ports 4 Ports 4 Ports 4 Ports
SERDES Lanes 7 Lanes
PCIe/SGMII/SATA/
QSGMII/ETM
7 Lanes
PCIe/SGMII/SATA/
QSGMII/ETM
12 Lanes
PCIe/SGMII/SATA/
QSGMII/ETM
12 Lanes
PCIe/SGMII/SATA/
QSGMII/ETM
16 Lanes
PCIe/SGMII/SATA/
QSGMII/ETM
Local Bus 16-bit 16-bit 32-bit 32-bit 32-bit

Marvell is making sure operating system support is available. Board support packages and drivers for Linux, Wind River's VxWorks and BSD are available.

TAGS: Digital ICs
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