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  • lakers_w lakers_w Sep 13, 2013 2:39 AM Flag

    Renesas big-little Quad core LTE MP6530 wins praise: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS/GNSS, 20MP ISP

    LONDON – Renesas Mobile, the mobile chip division of Renesas Electronic Corp., has developed an application processor with on-chip LTE modem that an analyst said could provide competition to market-leader Qualcomm.

    The MP6530 from Renesas Mobile is a quad-core big-little processor and a FDD/TDD Class 4 LTE/DC-HSPA+/EDGE/GPRS/GSM modem on a single piece of silicon, according to Will Strauss, principal analyst at Forward Concepts (Tempe, Arizona). It is thought that this includes dual-core Cortex-A15 and dual-core Cortex-A7 processors licensed from ARM Holdings plc (Cambridge, England).

    Big-little is an approach to energy efficiency developed by ARM, that enables application software to switch between cores optimized for low power and high performance for an overall energy saving in typical use where equipment spends most of its time in standby mode.

    Strauss said he discussed the MP6530 chip with Renesas executives at the Consumer Electronics Show last week, although there doesn't appear to have been any official announcement of the chip.

    The MP6530 appears to be aimed at smartphone applications. It has less processing power than the big-little Exynos 5 Octa from Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. – but does include the multimode modem that extends up to category 4 LTE performance, 150-Mbit per second.

    Strauss said the chip also provides PowerR SGX graphics rendering, dual-channel LP-DDR memory interface, a 20-megapixel image signal processor and wireless connectivity for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, FM radio and GPS/GNSS. Strauss added that the MP6530 modem and application processor could provide "real competition for Qualcomm's current Snapdragon S4 product line." Qualcomm is widely thought of as the market leader in application processors for smartphones.

    However, at CES Qualcomm announced it is sampling its follow-on to the S4 series, the Snapdragon 800 including quad-core Krait400 processor. At the same show Nvidia announced the five-cored Tegra 4 and ST-Ericsson the quad

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    • The modem of the MP6530 provides full global coverage and is already certified said Strauss and there are hardware reference designs and Android support for both smartphones and tablet computers. According to earlier reports the Renesas modem is certified by AT&T and NTT Docomo.

      Author: Linley Gwennap

      After Nvidia and Samsung rolled out Cortex-A15 processors at CES, Renesas Mobile took a different tack, targeting midrange smartphones with its MP6530. Whereas Tegra 4 and the Exynos 5450 have four Cortex-A15 CPUs, the MP6530 has two, slimming down on cost and power. Removing the two big cores leaves room for a complete multimode LTE baseband unit, making Renesas the first company to announce a Cortex-A15 processor with integrated cellular capability. This integration reduces system-level cost and power for LTE smartphones.

      The MP6530 adds two Cortex-A7 cores to the two Cortex-A15s in a Big.Little configuration. The two low-power cores handle most of the processing tasks, extending battery life. Because of Cortex-A15's high power, all A15-based processors announced so far include some sort of alternate low-power core (except the Exynos 5250, which serves in tablets but not yet in smartphones). Unlike some Big.Little designs, the Renesas chip allows all four cores to be active at the same time.

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