ST-Ericsson's NovaThor L8540: 28nm Cortex A9 SoC with Integrated LTEby Anand Lal Shimpi on February 28, 2012 3:46 AM EST
ST-E is currently laying out its strategy for the company going forward, having suffered a tremendous reduction in revenue as the mobile market has changed dramatically over the past couple of years. We've seen a bit of success from ST-E already with Sony's Xperia P and U announcements, both of which are powered by ST-E's U8500 SoC. Today ST-E is announcing a new 28nm SoC with integrated LTE baseband: the NovaThor L8540.
The L8540 integrates a pair of ARM Cortex A9s running at up to 1.85GHz with a PowerVR SGX 544 GPU running at up to 500MHz. The L8540 features a dual-channel LPDDR2 memory interface. ST-E's new focus is on the mid-to-high end SoC market, but will not directly pursue the premium or entry level markets. Given the focus, you can expect to see more of these highly integrated SoCs which tend to resonate well in these mid-to-high end markets.
The L8540 supports 1080p60 video encode and decode. The baseband supports LTE (FDD/TDD) at up to 100/50Mbps, HSPA+ 42/11Mbps and TD-SCDMA. ST-E claims the L8540 includes pre-integrated connectivity support for Bluetooth, GNSS, WLAN, WiFi Direct, FM and NFC. The pre-integrated connectivity appears similar to what Qualcomm offers at 28nm with its MSM8960, which should offer some tangible power efficiency advantages for data transfers over WiFi compared to discrete 4x-nm WiFi solutions.
ST-E expects a 10% improvement in power consumption as a result of the move to an integrated 28nm SoC compared to previous 4x-nm SoC + LTE baseband solutions. I'm still not sure what to expect in terms of smartphone battery life from the move to 28nm, but I have heard that it is significant.
The Novathor L8540 will begin sampling to customers in Q3 of this year.