XScale Replacements Ready To Be Included in Future Devices

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Marvell is now shipping a new generation of processors designed for handhelds and smartphones. These are the replacements for the Intel XScale line of processor that are widely used in mobile devices now.

These chips are being released by Marvell because it acquired the rights to the XScale line from Intel earlier this year.

Although the company bought the technology behind the XScale processors, it doesn’t seem to have acquired the name. Marvell’s new chips are being called simply the PXA3xx series, with occasional mentions mentions of their code-name, "Monahan".

The Marvell PXA3xx Series

Leading this new line is the PXA320 (Monahans P), which is currently scalable to 806 MHz, but the company demonstrated it earlier this year running at 1.2 GHz. It has a 256 KB of L2 cache.

This chip sports Intel Wireless MMX 2 accelerating technology, a 2D graphics accelerator, and a 768 KB frame buffer designed to support VGA resolution streaming video.

It is currently shipping in high volume, and customers will be introducing devices based on the Marvell PXA320 in the first quarter of 2007.

The PXA310 (Monahan-LV) can show video at 30 fps at a VGA resolution. Both it and the PXA300 (Monahan-L) are scalable to 624 MHz. These will be shipping in volume in the first half of next year.

The first two processors will support 5 megapixel cameras, while the third will allow for 2 megapixel ones.

Variable Processor Speeds

The PXA3xx series models use SpeedStep technology, which means they run at less than their top speeds unless performing a processor-intensive task.

This allows mobile devices based on these chips to offer good performance while also having long battery lives.

"Today’s consumers require that their personal wireless converged devices support a broad range of mobile multimedia applications including Bluetooth support, web browsing, and camera support — all with extended talk time and a seamless mobile Internet experience," said Sam Arditi Senior Vice President of the Cellular and Handheld Group at Marvell. "Ramping three products in the Marvell PXA3xx family virtually at the same time gives our customers the flexibility to address different markets with an optimized product either for MIPS, video, or cost — all with extremely low power consumption. All Marvell PXA3xx products feature frequency scalability to allow the best power and performance."

More information on the PXA3xxx series can be found on Marvell’s web site.

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