'LSI is the first SoC vendor to hit the magic 16-core mark for an ARM based phone chip, but the Axxia 5500 isn’t what you think. It does have 16 cores, is for cell phones, but it is aimed at the other side of a call, the base stations.
The Axxia family is something we have told you about in its previous incarnation, the 3400 line, but there are some major changes that come with the new 5500 chips. From an overview standpoint, things may look quite similar, but under the hood almost everything is all new. Some of this is because LSI telegraphed chunks of this architecture at their AIS conference a few months ago and some because it conceptually is just a generational advance. Since the Axxia line is aimed at telecom carriers, a group that can be terribly averse to many types of radical change, this similarity is a good thing.
Meet the new chip, in some ways just like the old chip
The first thing you may notice is that the Axxia 5500 line has up to four clusters of four ARM A15 cores all connected through the CCN-504 bus that LSI co-developed with ARM. This lets the CPUs maintain coherence over the main memory bus, but somewhat counter-intuitively, process control is done across the Virtual Pipeline Task Ring (VPTR). There are very good reasons to run management tasks over a completely separate bus, both for partitioning and fine grained process control ....'