Marvell has published a press release introducing AP806 quad core Cortex A72 and ARMADA A3700 dual and single core Cortex-A53 chips. But these two chips are called Virtual SoCs (VSoC) and they are said to use MoChi and FLC (Final Level-Cache) architecture.
What does this all means? If I understand correctly, Marvell has decided to create modular SoCs that may just integrate the minimum: CPU, GPU, and memory controller, with other peripherals like Ethernet, SATA, LTE Modem added to the virtual SoC in some ways just like legos. This is done in order to mitigate the cost of manufacturing chips with advanced process nodes (e.g. Finfet 16) with usually has high steep mask costs, and wafer prices. So they may have a single AP806 MoChi module, to create multiple SoCs using different MoChi modules to add peripherals.
Marvell listed some of the key befinits of modular SoCs:
- Changing existing software developed for a single-chip SoC is unnecessary for customers.
- Designed to be highly flexible with point-to-point interconnect, MoChis can be daisy chained or connected in parallel to create VSoCs, enabling countless configurations.
- MoChi interconnect is a packetized and serialized extension of on-die AXI bus
- Micro-SerDes version of MoChi interconnect running at 8Gbits/second or faster balances needs of high bandwidth, low latency, low power, low cost, scalability, and ease of PCB routing.
- Reduces the risk of building new products in state-of-the-art process nodes because only a few compute functions are integrated.
- Drastically reduces the cost of developing SoC products.
Details of how this all work are scarce however, with the company only explaining the MoChi module communicate with each others, and mentioning Aurora2 coherent interconnect technology lower in the press release… Anandtech has some more details, which brings some clarity.
AP806 appears to only have four Cortex-A72 cores, and probably some interconnect logic, while ARMADA A3700 includes Cortex A53 cores as well as “some networking and storage IPs” expandable via additional MoChi modules such as Wi-Fi, BLE, ZigBee, USB, SATA…
Product pages for AP806 and ARMADA 3700A are nowhere to be seen, and pricing and availability information hasn’t been provided.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.
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