London– Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. has introduced a dual-core Cortex A9-based applications processor, codenamed Orion, capable of running at a clock frequency of 1-GHz and intended for advanced mobile applications. The processor is designed for such applications as tablets, netbooks and smartphones, Samsung said.
Designed using Samsung's 45-nm low-power process technology, Orion features a pair of 1-GHz ARM Cortex A9 cores, each comes with a 32-kbyte data cache and a 32-kbyte instruction cache. Samsung also included a 1-Mbyte L2 cache to optimize CPU processing performance and provide fast context. In addition, the memory interface and bus architecture of Orion support multimedia applications including high-definition video playback. A graphics processing unit allows Orion to deliver five times the 3-D graphics performance of the previous processor generation from Samsung.
Samsung did not state whether the GPU is based on Mali licensed from ARM Holding plc, a PowerVR core licensed from Imagination Technologies Group plc or a third alternative.
Orion, originally slated to come in at 800-MHz clock frequency, is set to be followed by Pegasus, Hercules, Mercury, Venus, Draco and Aquila, according to Samsung's ARM roadmap leads to quad-core Aquila.
Orion includes interfaces commonly used in mobile devices to configure various peripheral functionalities. Storage options include NAND flash, moviNAND, solid-state disk or hard disk drvive, providing both SATA, and eMMC interfaces. Customers can also choose between LPDDR2 and DDR3 DRAM styles. A global positioning system (GPS) receiver baseband processor is embedded in the processor.
Orion features a triple display controller so that it can drive two on-device screens as well as driving a third external display such as a TV or a monitor, via an on-chip HDMI 1.3a interface. Orion is designed to support package-on-package (POP) with memory stacking to reduce the footprint. A derivative of Orion, which is housed in a standalone package with a 0.8-mm ball pitch, is also available.
Samsung's new dual-core application processor, Orion, will be available to some customers, but not to others, in the fourth quarter of 2010 and is scheduled for mass production in the first half of 2011.
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