Fifth Generation TI OMAP5 Processor from Texas Instruments

    Last week in Munich hosted the international exhibition Electronica 2012 - one of the most ambitious annual events in the world of microelectronics. Of course, the well-known Texas Instruments company could not pass by such an event. Her exposition at the exhibition was held under the slogan “Hexagon by Hexagon” (I find it difficult to translate into the great and mighty), which found an echo in the design of the stands.

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    The main specialization of TI (Texas Instruments) is the manufacture of semiconductor technology chips. This company has a long, 80-year history (appeared back in 1930), that is, it formed much earlier than the first integrated circuit was invented.

    Almost 96% of the entire assortment of the company's product line is made up of semiconductor microcircuits, including military electronics devices. TI semiconductors are used in audio devices, in telecommunication systems, communication devices, as well as consumer electronics, in computers and peripheral devices for them.

    The company is the fourth largest semiconductor manufacturer in the world, second only to flagships such as Intel, Toshiba and Samsung.

    Nowadays, the products of this company are confidently chosen by electronic engineers, since they are truly ergonomic, high-performance and efficient solutions. The TI chips implement many functions at the hardware level, due to the combination of which OMAP technology allowed to reduce the cost of mobile devices, providing, for example, video transmission at a frequency of 30 frames / sec. At the same time, processors based on this technology are characterized by relatively low power consumption, and at the same time, by the wide range of available features.

    And this year Texas Instruments announced 2 processors of the new, already fifth series - OMAP 5 .

    The main applications of the new OMAP processors from TI:
    • in professional audio equipment: mixers, audio synthesizers, equipment for audio conference and broadcast communication
    • in portable instruments and devices: audio, measuring and consumer
    • in medical technology (portable also)
    • in automation of production: programmable controllers, test and measuring equipment
    • in smartphones
    • in tablets and e-books

    The new fifth-generation OMAP processor family currently contains 2 chips: OMAP 5430 and OMAP 5432. The first is positioned by the company for smartphones, and the second is mobile computers. In fact, the differences between the two processors are not so significant and we can talk about them as one processor of the TI OMAP 5 family.

    The processors contain four main cores that are made using 28 nm technology.

    Cortex-A15 is now the fastest of ARM microarchitectures. Its performance at comparable frequencies is 1.5 times higher than that of its direct competitor, the TSMC Cortex-A9 processor. For example, the A15 chip at frequencies up to 800 MHz will work at about the same speed as the A9 chip at a frequency of 1.5 GHz.

    At the beginning of next year, another manufacturer, Apple, plans to release a processor of close technological adaptability and competitive A6, also manufactured using the 28-nm process technology (as Apple itself claims).

    Another closest competitor to the OMAP 5 processor is the Exynos 4 Quad processor, made using HKMG technology. It will be produced using the 32nm process technology, which is slightly weaker than TI. This processor may contain 4 Cortex A9 cores operating at frequencies up to 1.4 GHz. The manufacturer claims that the 4-core Exynos 4 Quad processor will consume 20% less energy than the dual-core 32-nm Exynos 4 processor.

    In terms of energy consumption, the new OMAP 5 processor outperforms its closest relatives.

    Key technical advantages of the new OMAP 5 processors

    • Cortex A15 processor cores - up to 2 GHz
    • support for 4 cameras for recording video with a resolution of up to 1080p, including in 3D
    • OMAP 5 processors are three times more computationally efficient and five times more powerful in 3D games than the previous generation chips and their direct competitors
    • relative power consumption in the new processor will be reduced by 60%, compared with current models
    • the new Cortex-A15 chip is created using the latest, 28 nm technology
    • the performance of the top version of the processor, compared to OMAP 4430, will increase fivefold at the level of graphics and three times at the level of the main processor
    • new processor supports playback and recording of 3D-video at a resolution of 1080p

    In addition, the OMAP 5 processor provides support for HDMI, up to 8 GB of RAM based on dual-channel DDR3 / DDR3L sockets. The power consumption of the processor will not exceed the performance of current chips for mobile devices. For example, you can listen to up to 140 hours of audio quality CDs until the battery of the device containing the platform with the new processor is completely discharged. In general, OMAP 5430 processors are designed for flagship tablets and smartphones, and OMAP 5432 are designed for mid-range products.

    In a new generation processor, tasks that do not require high performance will be processed by a pair of additional Cortex-M4 ARM cores - they are not so demanding on battery resources. All the hardware improvements presented above allow the processor on the new platform to control three displays simultaneously having QSXGA resolution (2560 × 2048 pixels). It is possible to broadcast a video stream via an interface such as HDMI 1.4a, which has support for 3D technology.

    As for the input data, here the processor can easily cope with four cameras running in parallel with a total resolution of its sensors up to 24 megapixels. I also note one more function that is supported at the level of hardware solutions: the possibility of combined data processing with the TI DLP picoprojector, which has an integrated camera.

    This means that the pictures from the projector become interactive, a kind of touch screen that appears on any surface where you direct the beam of the projector. In addition, the authors focus on supporting this processor three-dimensional interfaces such as Microsoft Kinect.

    The new platform includes controllers SDXC, SATA 2.0, as well as OTG USB 3.0, there is support for hardware acceleration and coprocessors for implementing functions such as recognition of objects, faces, and text.

    The commercial launch of electronic devices based on TI OMAP 5 is expected early next year. The first products were already presented at the TI booth at the Electronica 2012 trade fair held last week in Munich.

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