Samsung Pushes Cortex-A8 to 1GHz

Continuing its transformation from a low-cost vendor to a high-performance supplier, Samsung has rolled out a pair of new application processors, each containing a 1GHz Cortex-A8 CPU. The S5PC110 targets smartphones, whereas the S5PV210 is designed for netbooks. The chips follow the 65nm S5PC100, a custom version of which powers the iPhone 3GS. The new 45nm processors are due to sample in December.
Samsung worked with Intrinsity to develop a custom implementation of the Cortex-A8 CPU. Although the 1GHz CPU is no faster than the Cortex-A8 used in TI’s 45nm OMAP3, Intrinsity touts that its design achieves this speed while operating at just 1.0V, minimizing power consumption. Neither TI nor Samsung has disclosed power data, however, so the extent of any power savings is unclear.
The PC110 also extends the multimedia performance of its predecessor, quadrupling the 3D performance to 40 million triangles per second and adding full HD (1080p) video encoding and decoding. To better position the processor for netbooks, Samsung created the PV210 version, which uses a less expensive (0.65mm pitch) package and adds a second 32-bit DDR2 SDRAM channel to boost software performance.
Samsung is known for selling basic ARM9 and ARM11 application processors at very low prices, mainly into navigation devices (PNDs). By partnering with Intrinsity and Imagination, the company now offers leading-edge processors that can compete for high-end smartphones. In addition to the iPhone, Samsung’s processors appear in its own Omnia phones (replacing Marvell’s PXA) and in the Acer Tempo. The new 45nm processors should help Samsung continue to gain smartphone designs. –Linley

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