Freescale announces i.MX6 ARM Cortex A9 Multi-core Processor

Right before CES 2011, Freescale announced i.MX6 series, its latest multi-core Cortex A9 processor aimed at smartphones, tablets, eReaders and other consumer electronics equipment. Here’s an excerpt of the press release:

Freescale delivers dramatic performance advances for tablet, smartphone, eReader, automotive infotainment and other hot consumer marketsCompatible i.MX 6 series scales from one to four cores and raises the bar with a new portfolio of high-performance, low-power multicore processors

AUSTIN, Texas – Jan. 3, 2011 – Freescale Semiconductor introduces the i.MX 6 series of quad-, dual- and single-core applications processors designed to deliver outstanding performance and scalability to manufacturers targeting the hottest selling smart mobile, automotive infotainment and embedded device categories.

Integrating one, two or four ARM® Cortex™-A9 cores running at up to 1.2 GHz each, the i.MX 6 series delivers up to five times the performance of Freescale’s current generation of applications processors. This performance provides additional headroom for unbounded user experiences in next-generation tablets, eReaders, smartphones, automotive infotainment systems and other exciting consumer and automotive products.

Potential applications include mobile devices featuring 3D video playback, desktop-quality gaming, augmented reality applications and content creation capabilities – all delivered in ultra-sleek form factors and with significant battery life advantages over many of today’s most popular mobile devices.

Check out the full Freescale i.MX6 Press Release.

They will start delivery of samples end of 2011, so you can expect products to be delivered with this chip sometimes in 2012, a bit before products based on Cortex A15 / Mali T-604 are released.

Freescale i.MX 6Solo, i.MX 6Dual, i.MX 6QuadThe main features of i.MX 6 Series Platform:

  • ARM Cortex-A9 up to 1.2 GHz
  • 1080p encode and decode (simultaneous, enabling videoconferencing)
  • 3D High Definition video playback
  • Low power (350mW for 1080p video playback)
  • Video output: HDMI 1.4, MIPI and LVDS display ports
  • MIPI CSI-2 camera
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Multi-port USB 2.0
  • PCI Express
  • Comprehensive security

i.MX6 series are aimed at automotive, consumer and industrial applications and comes in 1, 2 and 4 cores namely:

  • i.MX 6 Solo:
    • Single ARM Cortex A9 at 1.2GHz
    • 256KB L2 cache, Neon, VFPvd16, Trustzone
    • Next generation 3D graphics
    • External memory support up to 32bit DDR3 and LPDDR2
    • Integrated EPD controller
  • i.MX 6 Dual:
    • Dual ARM Cortex A9 at 1.2GHz
    • 1 MB L2 cache, Neon, VFPvd16, Trustzone
    • 3D graphics with 4 shaders up to 200MT/s
    • External memory support up to 64-bit DDR3 and 2-channel 32-bit LPDDR2
    • Integrated SATA-II
  • i.MX 6 Quad:
    • Quad ARM Cortex A9 at 1.2GHz
    • 1 MB L2 cache, Neon, VFPvd16, Trustzone
    • 3D graphics with 4 shaders up to 200MT/s
    • External memory support up to 64-bit DDR3 and 2-channel 32-bit LPDDR2
    • Integrated SATA-II

You may consult Freescale i.MX6 Series Fact Sheet for more details.

We do not know much about the GPU, however you can notice that at 200 Million Triangles per second, the GPU is over twice as fast as NVidia Tegra 2 (90MT/s) and over 5 times faster than Mali 400 (30 Mt/s).  5 times is exactly the performance improvement announced earlier for Mali T-604… So i.MX6 Series might be one of the first to embed the new ARM GPU Mali T-604.

i.MX6 Series will apparently use i.MXS development kit that was also used for other i.MX series such as i.MX5 Series.

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