TI OMAP 4440 vs Freescale i.MX 6
When TI announced its newest OMAP 4 processor, the OMAP 4440, the specs were impressive. An overall boost in performance by 50 percent, a 125 percent performance boost in graphics, and a 1080p video playback in double the speed of the previous chip were a few of the expectations. Samples are out in early 2011, and we can expect to see these phenoms hit the market later this year. So what does this mean for the market’s first true quad-core chip, the Freescale i.MX 6, who has also been impressing consumers with its promises and is due to debut in late 2011?
Let’s take a closer look at each of the processors. The TI OMAP 4440 employs two 1.5 GHz cores, based on the ARM Cortex A9 architecture, with Symmetric Multiprocessing. The 4440 also adds in two Cortex M3 cores for real time applications. The processor includes hardware accelerators in order to enable high definition 1080p video encode and decode. The battery life is estimated to support 10 hours of HD video playback and 4 hours of HD video recording. 3D photography is possible with two cameras at 12 megapixels each, and 20 megapixel imaging is supported for regular photography. Gaming has been enhanced by the POWERVR SGX540 accelerator allowing consumers both 3D interfaces and 3D game experiences. Two way video chat (in 2D) is also supported.
Freescale’s i.MX 6 processor created market buzz when it was announced, because it will be offered in single, dual, and quad core configurations. The “i.MX 6Quad” version will feature four ARM Cortex A9 cores at up to 1.2 GHz each. Freescale boasts a 5x improvement over their previous generation of processor. The i.MX 6 also supports 1080p HD video playback, including 3D, and all this at an impressively low 350mW power consumption. This translates into 24 hours of HD video on one battery charge. The i.MX 6 promises desktop quality gaming, which is not hard to believe considering it also boasts 200 million triangles per second. (The best estimate I could find on the OMAP 4440 is a 25 percent increase from 4430’s estimated 20 million triangles.)
As the OMAP 4440 and the i.MX 6 both target the mobile multi-media market, who do we expect to win the battle for our smartphones, tablets, and the fight for the booming market of automotive “infotainment”? While head to head tests have yet to be performed, general market sentiment is that the dual-core i.MX 6 and the OMAP 4440 are probably fairly well-matched. The quad-core i.MX 6 will probably outperform the dual-core TI OMAP 4440. The question in the industry is: do we need four cores yet? No one doubts that the day may come when a quad core processor will be necessary, but we’re not quite sure that day is today. Since the OMAP 4440 hits the market first, it may get a head start on Freescale. Until we can see a real time match up, we may have to call the dual-core versions relatively equal, and the i.MX 6 perhaps unnecessarily better.
Niki majored in engineering and mathematics and has been working in the semiconductor engineering and test industries. Her experience has been focused mainly in the test die arena, working to improve performance and die area requirements to the nth degree. After nearly 10 years, Niki decided to take a break from semiconductors to stay at home with her two children. She now enjoys keeping up with the latest in semiconductor news as she chases after a toddler and a crawler.