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Marvell debuts speedier ARM Cortex-A9 networking SOC

May 9, 2013 — by Eric Brown 4,819 views

Marvell announced a new member of its Linux-ready Armada 300 line of system-on-chips (SOCs) designed for a wide variety of networking applications. The Armada 375 is equipped with a dual-core Cortex-A9 processor clocked at either 800MHz or 1GHz, and offers gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, SATA 2.0, and PCI Express connectivity.

The Armada 375 is the fastest of Marvell’s trio of Armada 300 networking SOCs, including the consumer-oriented Armada 300, which is used in Marvell Plug Computer designs. It is most similar to the Armada 370, which uses a homegrown ARMv7 design, clocked to 1.2GHz.

For the Armada 375, Marvell is directly licensing ARM’s Cortex-A9 design, and features dual cores clocked to 800MHz or 1GHz. The faster processor pushes the platform from the Armada 370’s high-end consumer focus to more SMB and enterprise applications. These are said to include network attached storage (NAS), high-volume enterprise access points, media servers, and video surveillance systems. Operating system support was not listed, but the Armada processors have all run Linux in the past.


Marvell Armada 375 detailed and overview block diagrams
(click images to enlarge)


The feature list below is very similar to that of the Armada 370, including the integrated security engine with encryption support. Armada 375 highlights include a DDR3 memory controller, a gigabit Ethernet PHY, and interfaces including USB 3.0, SATA 2.0, PCI Express (PCIe), and more. The SOC supports booting from NAND, SPI, SATA, PCIe, or UART, says Marvell. The company touts the SOC’s low power consumption, but lists no specs.

Specifications listed for the Armada 375 include:

  • Processor core — dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 at 800MHz or 1GHz
  • Cache — 32KB 4-way L1 cache per core; 256KB shared 16-way L2 cache
  • Memory — 32-bit DDR3/3L controller
  • Networking — 2x gigabit Ethernet PHY with EEE
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 3.0/2.0
    • 4x multiplexed SERDES interfaces
    • 2x PCIe Gen 2.0 x1
    • 2x SATA 2.0
    • SDIO and NAND flash
    • 2-channel TDM for VoIP
    • Audio PDIF
  • Other features — power management, power-on reset, RTC, thermal sensor, SMP/AMP modes, security acceleration engines
  • Dimensions — TFBGA 19 x 19mm, 0.65mm ball pitch

The presumably Linux-ready development platforms for the Armada 375 will be available early in the third quarter. The kits will include networking software with data path acceleration and a full set of control plane applications, as well as software drivers and board support packages, says Marvell. The Armada 375 SOC itself will begin sampling in June.

More information may be found at Marvell’s Armada 300 product page.

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