07
Sep
conan_orion

Remember the Cortex-A9 we talked about just a few days ago - the one that can clock in at well over 2 GHz on a 28nm process? Turns out Samsung has had its eyes on that bad boy for a while - they've now announced a mobile CPU based on the architecture (one caveat, though - the chip is manufactured on a 45nm process).

The lack of a major die shrink may keep things running at a more reasonable clip (1 GHz), but the improved architecture still allows for huge improvements over today's tech. Namely:

  • Dual 1 GHz A9 cores
  • 64 KB data and instruction cache
  • 1 MB L2 cache
  • HDMI 1.3a
  • Full 1080P video encode/decode at 30 fps
  • Triple display controller
  • Up to 5x the 3D graphics performance over previous Samsung processors

Further, it looks like we're looking at a fairly flexible chip here:

For design flexibility and system BOM cost reduction, Orion integrates a set of interfaces commonly used in mobile devices to configure various peripheral functionalities. For example, with this processor, customers have the choice to use different types of storage including NAND flash, moviNANDTM, SSD or HDD providing both SATA, and eMMC interfaces. Customers can also choose their appropriate memory options including low power LPDDR2 or DDR3, which is commonly used for high performance. In addition, a global positioning system (GPS) receiver baseband processor is embedded in the processor to seamlessly support location based services (LBS), which is critical in many emerging mobile applications.

The news gets better: the chip will be available to some customers as early as Q4 2010, with mass production in full swing for 1H 2010.

samsung_arm_roadmap

Leaked slide from September 2009

[Source: Engadget]

Samsung Introduces High Performance, Low Power Dual CORTEXTM - A9 Application Processor for Mobile Devices

TAIPEI, Taiwan--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a world leader in advanced semiconductor solutions, today introduced its new 1GHz ARM® CORTEXTM A9-based dual-core application processor, codenamed Orion, for advanced mobile applications. Device OEM developers now have a powerful dual processor chip platform designed specifically to meet the needs of high-performance, low-power mobile applications including tablets, netbooks and smartphones. Samsung's new processor will be demonstrated at the seventh annual Samsung Mobile Solutions Forum held here in Taiwan at the Westin Taipei Hotel.

"Consumers are demanding the full web experience without compromise while on the go," said Dojun Rhee, vice president of Marketing, System LSI Division, Samsung Electronics. "Given this trend, mobile device designers need an application processor platform that delivers superb multimedia performance, fast CPU processing speed, and abundant memory bandwidth. Samsung's newest dual core application processor chip is designed specifically to fulfill such stringent performance requirements while maintaining long battery life."

Designed using Samsung's 45 nanometer low-power process technology, Orion features a pair of 1GHz ARM Cortex A9 cores, each comes with a 32KB data cache and a 32KB instruction cache. Samsung also included a 1MB L2 cache to optimize CPU processing performance and provide fast context switching in a multi-tasking environment. In addition, the memory interface and bus architecture of Orion supports data intensive multimedia applications including full HD video playback and high speed 3D action games.

Samsung's new application processor incorporates a rich portfolio of advanced multimedia features implemented by hardware accelerators, such as video encoder/decoder that supports 30fps video playback and recording at 1080P full HD resolution. Using an enhanced graphics processing unit (GPU), the new processors are capable of delivering 5 times the 3D graphics performance over the previous processor generation from Samsung.

For design flexibility and system BOM cost reduction, Orion integrates a set of interfaces commonly used in mobile devices to configure various peripheral functionalities. For example, with this processor, customers have the choice to use different types of storage including NAND flash, moviNANDTM, SSD or HDD providing both SATA, and eMMC interfaces. Customers can also choose their appropriate memory options including low power LPDDR2 or DDR3, which is commonly used for high performance. In addition, a global positioning system (GPS) receiver baseband processor is embedded in the processor to seamlessly support location based services (LBS), which is critical in many emerging mobile applications.

Orion features an onboard native triple display controller architecture that compliments multi-tasking operations in a multiple display environment. A mobile device using the Orion processor can simultaneously support two on-device display screens, while 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 0.8mm ball pitch, is also available.

Samsung's new dual-core application processor, Orion, will be available to select customers in the fourth quarter of 2010 and is scheduled for mass production in the first half of 2011.

Aaron Gingrich
Aaron is a geek who has always had a passion for technology. When not working or writing, he can be found spending time with his family, playing a game, or watching a movie.

  • http://twitter.com/Dennis_Sak Dennis Sakellaropoulos

    Nice one there! Considering the success of Hummingbird, this one should be speedy as hell!

  • JohnB

    Hummingbird already blows everyone else with Cortex A8 design out of water. Just look at the results here:

    http://smartphonebenchmarks.com

    With this Cortex A9 based Orion, I think Samsung will again beat everyone else with Cortex A9 design. Qualcomm and Texas Instrument has already announced their own versions based on A9 already, but I don't think their GPUs are as powerful as the one found in here.

    Way to go, Samsung!

Quantcast