Freescale i.MX6 DualPlus and QuadPlus SoCs Gets Faster 2D and 3D Graphics, Higher Memory Bandwidth

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Freescale unveiled three new models for its i.MX 6 family processor for consumer, industrial and automotive markets in May. Two models are an upgrade to existing i.MX6 Quad and i.MX6 Dual processors, as the new i.MX 6QuadPlus and i.MX6DualPlus processors features four and two Cortex A9 cores, together with improved 2D and 3D GPUs delivering around 50% faster performance, an “optimized” SDRAM controller, more SRAM, and a prefetch and resolve engine. The third model, i.MX 6UltraLite, features a single ARM Cortex A7 core and hardware security, and targets applications such as electronic Point Of Sales (ePOS).

Freescale i.MX6 Processor Family
Freescale i.MX6 Processor Family (Click to Enlarge)

That means there are now 9 i.MX6 processors, and today, I’ll focus on the two new “Plus” versions. Since they are based on the original i.MX6 Quad and i.MX6 Dual processors, the best way to have a look at these is to compare them to their predecessors.

Features i.MX 6QuadPlus i.MX 6Quad i.MX 6DualPlus i.MX 6Dual
CPU 4x ARM Cortex A9 up to 1.2GHz 2x ARM Cortex A9 up to 1.2GHz
I-Cache/D-Cache 32KB/32KB L1, 1MB L2
Embedded SRAM 512KB 256KB 512KB 256KB
Memory Interface 2x 32 LP-DDR2, 1-ch, x 64 DDR3/LV-DDR3, Page and Channel Interleaving at 533 MHz
Hardware Video Acceleration Open GL ES 1.1/2.0/3.0
OpenCL 1.1 EP
OpenVG 1.1, 2DBLT, 8 layer composition, 4 shaders, 720 MHz, embedded prefetch and resolve engine
Open GL ES 1.1/2.0/3.0
OpenCL 1.1 EP
OpenVG 1.1, 2DBLT, 2 layer composition, 4 shaders, 594 MHz
Open GL ES 1.1/2.0/3.0
OpenCL 1.1 EP
OpenVG 1.1, 2DBLT, 8 layer composition, 4 shaders, 720 MHz, embedded prefetch and resolve engine
Open GL ES 1.1/2.0/3.0
OpenCL 1.1 EP
OpenVG 1.1, 2DBLT, 2 layer composition, 4 shaders, 594 MHz
Package 21 x 21 BGA 0.8mm

So we can see the SRAM doubled, GPU improvements include a faster shader frequency (720 MHz vs 594 MHz), and 8-layer composition support instead of just two, and the prefetch and resolve engine. Strangely the “newly optimized 64-bit DDR3/LVDDR3/LPDDR2-1066 memory interface to increase bus bandwidth ” is not reflected in this table, and the company did not name Vivante has the GPU vendor. The good news is that the news parts use the same package, and actually pin-to-pin compatible, meaning in due time we may see Wandboard Quad Plus or UDOO Quad Plus or other boards and products coming to market.

Freescale i.MX 6QuadPlus Block Diagram
Freescale i.MX 6QuadPlus Block Diagram

All other features and peripherals are identical including video playback capabilities, Gigabit Ethernet, SATA, low speed I/Os, and so one. The data in this table has been extracted from Freescale’s i.MX 6 Series Comparison Table.

Freescale posted a video comparing the 2D and 3D graphics performance of i.MX 6QuadPlus against i.MX 6Quad with a memory bandwidth, fractal, texture and 8-layer composition demos, indeed showing significant performance improvement in the order of 50% to over 100%.

i.MX 6DualPlus and i.MX 6QuadPlus processors have been sampling since May, but mass production is only planned for October 2015, while i.MX 6UltraLite processor must have started sampling in July 2015, with no date announced for production. More information should soon be available on Freescale i.MX6 product page.

Thanks to Nanik.

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xcore
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xcore

“three new models for its i.MX 6 family processor”

so basically nothing has changed since they came out in 2011 a slight bump , they have not even added USB3, never mind usb3.1 automotive or even an extra few sata IP for long term future use.

its a shame as i thought they might finally lead again with a new real release as they did with i.MX 6 in 2011, especially given they have been acquired and so more debt relief

daveisdigital
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daveisdigital

xcore is right, this is just silly. Why even bother offering a ‘refresh’ of a very stale product when all of your competitors are in the midst of releasing things like quad/octal 64-bit cores with far more modern GPUs, USB 3.x, etc? Disappointing.

xxiao
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xxiao

this looks like the old Motorola cellphone story…they had a big hit with a decent product, then stay stale until got beaten totally to death.

No
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No

Don’t forget that these are pin-compatible “drop-in” replacements, no need to redesign the existing products…
For all other new SoCs this is not the case.

But yeah – i.MX8 comes rather late which is indeed disappointing…