New ST-Ericsson quad-core CPU clocks up to 2.5 GHz while needing 50% less power than its competitors

The fourth manufacturer to announce a new mobile chipset during CES 2013 is ST-Ericsson, which unveiled the NovaThor L8580. This follows events in which Nvidia publicized its Tegra 4 platform, Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 800 and 600 series of chipsets, and Samsung took the world by storm with its eight-core (but not quite) Exynos 5 Octa processor. Now it’s ST-Ericsson’s turn to try and grab some attention from the world’s mobile device makers.

And it may very well achieve that, since the L8580 is said to be the fastest mobile processor with LTE connectivity built-on onto the same die. Surely Qualcomm’s newly announced Snapdragon 800 wasn’t taken into account when making this claim, but we’ll chalk that up to the temporal proximity of the two unveilings. Anyway, the NovaThor L8580 from ST-Ericsson is definitely no slouch. In fact, it consumes half the power that other platforms do at the same performance.

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However, it isn’t based on the ARM Cortex-A15 architecture, which is what we call the latest and greatest today. Nvidia’s Tegra 4 and Samsung’s Exynos 5 chips all use this design, which will effectively become the norm for the top of the line devices of this year.

Instead, the L8580 has four Cortex-A9 cores, so it’s on par with the Exynos 4 Quad from Samsung (seen in such products as the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II) in that regard.

The four CPU cores can be clocked up to 2.5 GHz when needed, but they can also consume as little as 0.6 V of power while performing most day-to-day tasks. In fact, in that incredibly low power state, the NovaThor can deliver 5,000 DMIPS of performance.

The chipset also comes with built-in PowerVR SGX544 graphics from Imagination Technologies (which, let’s not forget, is Apple’s go-to firm for mobile GPUs), running at 600 MHz.

The integrated modem supports LTE FDD/TDD, HSPA+, TD-SCDMA, as well as EDGE on up to 10 different bands at the same time. 1080p Full HD video capture and playback is supported (even in 3D), touchscreens can have resolutions up to 1920×1200, dual displays are supported too (limited to 960×540 resolution each), and phone makers can attach cameras up to 20 MP (rear) and 5 MP (front).

Expect the NovaThor L8580 to power quite a few upper-midrange devices later this year, and perhaps even some flagship offerings from ‘tier 2′ vendors who don’t want to splurge by going for the probably more expensive Tegra 4 and the likes.

This would be a good continuation of ST-Ericsson’s recent tradition of powering midrange smartphones, but a decent step up too compared to, say, the dual-core 1 GHz unit that can be seen at work inside the Samsung Galaxy S III Mini.

With all these new chipset launches, one thing is becoming crystal clear: in the mobile world, the hardware race is nowhere near the point where it starts to cool down. Not yet, at least. Perhaps that will happen at some point in the future, but for now – enjoy holding a device with pretty much obsolete hardware by its one-year birthday!

Via EE Times

Author: Vlad Bobleanta

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  • Reliable

    Unfortunately, Vlad, this “eQuad” is not a quad-core A9, but dual-core only. Please ask STE to confirm the number of Cortex A9 CPUs in L8580, because otherwise you seem to mislead your readers info thinking that this product is something it’s not.