Cavium, ARM Partner on Semiconductor Products

ARM announced that Cavium's next-generation products will be powered by ARM's Cortex-A family of processor cores.

Cavium Networks announced that its next-generation products-which are aimed at providing enhanced performance for small and midsize businesses as well as broadband consumer applications-would be powered by ARM's Cortex-A family of processor cores.

The Cavium ECONA processor family has been based on ARM processor technology since its inception, first using the ARM9 and then progressing to the ARM11.
Cortex-A series processors are capable of coherent symmetric multi-core operation with up to four cores with hardware coherency, and have multi-core operating system support, including Cavium's MontaVista Linux distribution.

"Multi-core Cortex-A series processors will provide customers with a dramatic increase in performance over SMB networking solutions available today," said Ian Drew, chief marketing officer at ARM. "ARM pioneered licensable multi-core processor IP in 2005 with the ARM11 Core, and Cavium Networks' adoption of the Cortex-A series further is a strong indication of the success of the scalable, multi-core ARM architecture in the networking space."
The ECONA family of ARM-based processors offers multi-core processors, a set of integrated hardware accelerators, and a range of I/Os for glueless voice, video and data connectivity. Power-management techniques help enable low-power operation, starting at less than one watt, according to a company release. The ECONA family is targeted for applications that includes FTTH (fiber to the home) gateway, network-attached storage, SMB routers, service-provider networking, enterprise wireless access points, multimedia tablets and multifunction printers.
"The combination of ARM's high-performance, low-power multi-core processors with Cavium's proven expertise in developing highly integrated SOCs [systems on a chip] will facilitate a new class of products. This will provide customers with best-of-breed technologies for broadband-connected, digital-home applications," said Kurt Scherf, principal analyst at research firm Parks Associates.

"With the explosion of content creation and consumption via a myriad CE devices within the home, the need for cost-effective platforms that seamlessly process, integrate and distribute this content inside and outside the home is getting more acute. Cavium and ARM continue to deliver solutions that address this challenge," Scherf said.
Also based on ARM technology is Cavium Networks' family of PureVu video processors, which offer full HD SOC solution for interactive and recording video applications. The PureVu video-processor family combines Cavium's SLL (Super-Low-Latency) H.264 video processor, high performance NITROX security technology, and intelligent networking and packet processing capabilities in a fully integrated SOC that brings the company's WiVu technology to a variety of devices in the consumer and enterprise markets.
The degree of integration deployed in the PureVu video processor family is intended to provide OEMs with aggressive system bill-of-materials cost in order to enable mass-market adoption in such devices as flat-panel TVs, Blu-ray players, notebook PCs and netbooks, gaming consoles, as well as SMB and SOHO (small office/home office) video-communication systems.
"Cavium's ECONA and PureVu ARM-based SOCs have propelled Cavium to a leading role in providing energy-efficient, performance-optimized solutions for the digital, broadband-connected home," said Manoj Gujral, vice president and general manager of the broadband and consumer division at Cavium. "With the explosion of multimedia consumption in the connected home, meeting consumers' expectations for an enjoyable user experience requires the ability to seamlessly process and manage multiple applications simultaneously and minimize service interruptions.

"Continuing with ARM along their scalable processor roadmap will extend Cavium's leadership for broadband consumer applications as well leveraging the ARM ecosystem to enable new markets for Cavium," Gujral added.