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Intel unveils next-gen XScale processors

Apr 12, 2004 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 7 views

Intel took the wraps off its next generation XScale mobile processors today, at the Intel Developer Forum in Taipei, Taiwan. Intel says that its new PXA27x processors (formerly code-named “Bulverde”) incorporate several new technologies aimed at the multimedia, low power, and security requirements of advanced cell phones and wireless PDAs.

According to Intel, the processors can support full motion video conferencing on mobile phones and DVD-quality video playback on PDAs. The PXA27x's will be offered in clock speeds ranging from 312 to 624 MHz, and with as much as 64MB of stacked Intel StrataFlash memory.

Along with the processors, Intel also introduced a new multimedia accelerator for 3D rendering, software, a reference design to assist developers of mobile phones and PDAs, and a higher density version of its stacked packaging for adding Flash memory.

The PXA27x processors are the first to integrate Intel's “Wireless MMX” technology, which Intel says increases performance in applications such as 3D games and advanced video. Additionally, the new chips incorporate “Wireless Intel SpeedStep technology,” which reduces power consumption by “intelligently managing voltage and frequency changes similar to the technology used in the company's notebook processors.”

Also for the first time, Intel has integrated security features through its “Intel Wireless Trusted Platform” to provide services such as trusted boot, secure storage of private information and cryptographic keys, and support for common security protocols. Intel has also added “Intel Quick Capture” technology, to enhance the performance of camera-phones with cameras that deliver images of four or more megapixels.

The PXA27x family also makes use of a newly developed “Mobile Scaleable Link,” a high-speed (up to 416 Mbits/sec) interface used to transfer data from wireless networks to the processors, according to Intel. Additionally, the PXA27x family debuts a higher density of Intel's Flash + processor stacking technology, resulting in better than twice the density of previous Flash memory packaging.

In support of the PXA27x processor family, Intel introduced the 2700G multimedia accelerator, which Intel says provides advanced video and graphic capabilities that enable full screen video at full frame rates without sacrificing battery life. According to Intel, the 2700G delivers DVD-quality video playback on VGA displays and supports a wide range of video formats, including MPEG-2, MPEG-4, and Microsoft's Windows Media Video9. The 2700G supports high resolution (up to SXVGA) on dual displays, enabling users to view two independent images simultaneously. The dual display capability is useful for applications such as video conferencing or running presentations directly from a PDA or other wireless device, Intel says. Additionally, Intel claims the 2700G enables an “outstanding” 3D mobile gaming experience.

Intel also introduced a cell phone reference platform based on the PXA270, 2700G multimedia accelerator, and 64MB of Wireless Intel StrataFlash memory. Intel says that the platform is its first to support a number of wireless networks (or “modes”) including cellular GSM/GPRS, Wi-Fi (802.11b) and Bluetooth technologies, and that the platform supports “full-featured” operating systems from multiple vendors including Microsoft, PalmSource, Symbian, and MontaVista. The platform was developed in conjunction with system integrator Intrinsyc, according to Intel.

Additionally, Intel says it is supporting the PXA27x processor with its Intel Compiler and Intel Integrated Performance Primitives, as well as optimized board support packages with drivers and power management software.

The 312 MHz PXA270 processor is currently sampling and will be available in full production quantities this quarter, with a suggested list price of $32 (USD) in volumes of 10,000 units. The Intel 2700G Multimedia Accelerator will be priced at $17.

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