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2.6.27 adds dual-core Feroceon support

Oct 15, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 9 views

Kernel patches supporting three new Feroceon-architecture system-on-chip (SoC) families from Marvell have been merged into the mainline Linux 2.6.27 kernel. The patches cover the low-power, dual- and single-core MV7x SoCs, as well as Marvell's Kirkwood (88F6000) SoC and upcoming Loki (88RC8480) SoC.

In other ARM-related news, long-time ARM kernel hacker Nicolas Pitre implemented highmem support for ARM, a feature sure to please big compilation projects like Nokia's effort to port Ubuntu to ARM. Pitre reports having successfully tested the feature on a Marvell DB-78×00-BP Development Board with 2 GB of RAM.

Announced in May, with an expectation of a third quarter ship date, the dual-core MV78200 and single-core MV78100 and MV76100 are based on Marvell's ARMv5TE-compliant Feroceon core. Available with a development board and Linux BSPs (board support packages), the MV7x SoCs are said to enable “green” system design for devices including routers, base stations, high-volume laser printers, storage devices, and single-board computers (SBCs).

The single-core MV78100 is pin-compatible with the dual-core MV78200 version (see diagram below), says Marvell, and the MV76100 is a stripped down version of the MV78100. They offer an on-chip crossbar architecture that provides any-to-any connectivity for concurrent transactions among multiple logical units, says the company. The SoCs will initially support system clocks between 800MHz and 1.2GHz.

MV78200 in typical implementation
(Click to enlarge)

The patch set also covers the Marvell 88F6000 “Kirkwood” SoC, which was announced in early June. The ultra-low-power SoC targets IP-based home gateways, set-top boxes (STBs), home routers, media servers, and mobile Internet devices (MIDs). The 88F6000 integrates Feroceon cores that clock to 2GHz, and draw 2 Watts, Marvell says.

In addition, a patch is provided for the upcoming Loki (88RC8480), which Marvell has yet to formally announce. As reported in early June when the Linux 2.6.27 patch process came to light, the processor integrates a Feroceon core that clocks from between 400MHz and 1GHz, with a mix of on-chip peripheral interfaces aimed at storage and networking.

The Feroceon micro-architecture was first supported in the recent 2.6.25 Linux kernel release, which added patches for Marvell “Orion” SoCs commonly found in network-attached storage (NAS) devices. The kernel's Orion architecture support has now been updated with the new MV7x patch.

According to the “git pull” for the Orion patches, which we summarized back in June when it was filed, the patch set includes:

  • Latencytop support
  • Memory access optimizations used by the Feroceon core
  • More Orion related changes and additional Orion-based device support
  • Marvell Loki (88RC8480) SoC support
  • Marvell Kirkwood (88F6000) SoC support
  • Marvell 78xx0 SoC support

The positive reply to the pull request can be found here.

Thanks to Sylver Bruneau for alerting us to this development.

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