Electronic Design
2 GHz SoC Combines Many Cores For High Performance Mobile Devices

2 GHz SoC Combines Many Cores For High Performance Mobile Devices

Texas Instruments' latest OMAP 5 family (Fig. 1) combines a pair of Cortex-A15 processor cores, a pair of Cortex-M4 cores, a C64x DSP core, a security subsystem, a multi-pipe display system and a host of peripherals. There are a dozen processor cores in this system-on-chip (SoC) platform when other specialized on-chip processors are included in the count. This puts it in a different class than Nufront's 40nm, 2 GHz NuSmart 2816 (see 2GHz Dual Core Cortex-A9 Targets Tablets) that uses a pair of Cortex-A9 MPCore cores. Texas Instruments has significantly raised the bar for mobile device support with the OMAP 5.

The family currently includes two 28nm instances. The first is the OMAP5430 (Fig. 2) that is targeted at high performance smartphones. It supports dual-channel, LPDDR2 Package-on-Package (PoP) memory and can drive three displays. Processor and memory come in 14mm by 14mm BGA package. The OMAP5432 (Fig. 3) addresses cost-sensitive mobile computing and consumer products. It supports dual-channel DDR3/DDR3L memory and comes in a 17mm by 17mm, 0.5mm pitch BGA. The OMAP5432 can support four cameras and four displays at once. Both chips support HDMI 1.4a and USB 3.0 (see USB 3.0: A Tale Of Two Buses ) On-The-Go (OTG) Super Speed and include an integrated PHY interface. They can also handle MIPI serial camera and serial display interfaces and the MIPI SLIMbus.

Obviously the Cortex-A15 cores are for the main applications. The Cortex-M4 cores can handle real time chores as well as run many of the background application support such as streaming audio. The C64x DSP core provides additional real time processing horspower. Texas Instrument's SMP (symmetrical multiprocessing) support can activate any or all of the cores as necessary. Hardware virtualization is supported by the Cortex-A15 cores.

The multi-core POWERVR SGX544-MPx graphics subsystem is suitable for 3D gaming and 3D user interfaces. The platform supports OpenGL ES 2.0, OpenCL v1.1, OpenVG v1.1 and EGL v1.3. 2D support is augmented by a dedicated 2D BitBlt graphics engine. The chips are capable ot handling images up to 24-megapixel 2D or 12-megapixel S3D.

TI's M-Shield mobile security subsystem incorporates the ARM TrustZone technology. This include secure flash support and secure boot support. Cracking one of these systems is going to be very tough.

Comprehensive Linux support is provided by Texas Instruments. This includes support for full 1080p60 multi-standard HD record and playback as well as 1080p30 stereoscopic 3D record and playback. Drivers are provided for the Smart Reflex 3 power management system. This means Android will definitely be in the works and there are discussions with Microsoft so Windows may eventually be running on an OMAP 5 chip.

Texas Instrument's is highlighting the chip's ability to handle applications like stereoscopic 3D and gesture recognition. It can easily handle those but its success will more likely lie in its ability to readily handle the more conventional multimedia mobile applications. The again, it may open up new vistas sometime later this year when chips will make it into the hands of developers.

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