The Marvell 88DE3010 is part of the ARMADA 1000 lineup, which we had covered briefly in an earlier piece.

This chip is targeted towards Blu-Ray players, TVs and Set Top Boxes. The two PJ1 Sheeva cores (Marvell's custom ARMv5 architecture) can run upto 1.2 GHz, but they are clocked at 900 MHz in the 88DE3010. The TDP of the processor is 5W. A complete set of peripherals is also included.

The video decoder in the 88DE3010  supports simultaneous decoding of two HD streams in MPEG-2, H.264 (AVC), VC-1, MPEG4 (DivX), VP6 SD and WMV9 formats. Audio decoding in the 88DE3010 is carried out on a dedicated audio DSP core, and support is provided for decoding of the popular audio formats (including Dolby, DTS, MP3, AAC, eAAC+, etc) along with audio post processing.

All applications and the OS are run on one of the Sheeva processors. This application processor is dedicated to  applications only and is not utilized for AV decoding or security functions. Elements like Digital Rights Management (DRM), networking stack, AV DMA,etc., are run on the second Sheeva processor, which is called the AV media processor. Both these processors are tightly coupled with a 64-bit 400 MHz (800 Mbps) DDR2 memory system with minimized cache-line refill latency.

The 88DE3010 also integrates a high performance graphics accelerator for OSD and UI functionality. Unfortunately, this is just a 2D graphics core from Vivante, the GC300. The second generation SoC (88DE3100) uses a 3D graphics engine (Vivante GC1000), but that is a long time away from making its way into the hands of consumers. The combination of the graphics pipeline and the high performance CPU  cores helps in enabling applications like Adobe Flash 10.1. Additionally, the 88DE3010 also integrates a video/image processing subsystem that implements Qdeo post processing.

Qdeo video post processing is a similar and comparable in quality to Gennum's VXP (now part of Sigma Designs and, in fact, part of the SMP 8910 which was announced recently). It enables the following post processing algorithms:

  • Per-pixel 3D noise reduction
  • 3D deinterlacing
  • Scaling
  • Natural depth expansion
  • Intelligent color remapping and
  • Adaptive contrast enhancement.

The 88DE3010 also has a HDMI v1.3 transmitter with HDCP, and an NTSC/PAL/Component video encoder with six high frequency video DACs, supporting simultaneous output of CVBS, S-Video, Component and HDMI. System interfaces include single lane end-point/root complex PCIe, 10/100 Ethernet MAC with MII Interface, SATA controller with integrated PHY, USB 2.0 host with PHY, SDIO controller with a 4-bit SDIO interface, and common interfaces like UART, TWSI, etc.

In the DMA space, the Marvell 88DE3010 will be competing with the SMP8646 / SMP8656 SoCs from Sigma Designs. The TViX Xroid A1 also runs Android 2.2, but, on the SMP8656. SMP8656 has a MIPS 24Kf core quoted at 1.51 DMIPS/MHz, running at 500 MHz (with floating point engine) and MIPS 4Kec running at 333 MHz quoted at 1.62 DMIPS/MHz. The officially quoted performance of the PJ1 Sheeva core is 1.46 DMIPS/MHz. Similar to the splitting up of various functions between the two cores in the 88DE3010, the Sigma SDK also runs the networking stack and other interrupt driven activities on the MIPS 4Kec core.

The Dhrystone benchmarks are not the true indicator of performance, but it looks like the higher clock speeds in the 88DE3010 might just provide better CPU performance for Android on the Marvell SoC. However, the SMP8656 includes a 3D graphics engine (Imagination Technologies PowerVR SGX531) while the 88DE3010 has a 2D vector graphics engine (Vivante GC300). This potentially implies smoother graphics with 3D effects on the SMP8656, contributing to a better UI. XBMC is also officially being developed for the SMP8656.

How good will Android be on these media streamer SoCs? What will Android do to the DMA landscape? We are looking forward excitedly to get our hands on one of these units with the final firmware. Now, let us take a look at the Nixeus Fusion XS a little bit more in detail.

Introduction Nixeus Fusion XS : Hardware and Software
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  • therealnickdanger - Friday, March 11, 2011 - link

    If it's any bit as good as the QDEO chip in my LG BH-200 Blu-ray/HD-DVD player (a few years old now), then it should easily beat the HQV benchmarks. After all, it easily meets HQV's own Reon chip in those tests. I'm excited to see what this can do for BD ISOs! :)
  • fbking - Friday, March 11, 2011 - link

    it will be selling on very soon! so you can try when you get it from
  • ganeshts - Friday, March 11, 2011 - link

    For a moment, I thought it was a spam post :)

    Anyways, estimated ship date is not earlier than end of May 2011. Engineers are still working on the final firmware.
  • Venya - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    Why they go with such crappy custom interface??
    Use XBMC as fontend interface and success of this product will be guaranteed!
  • ganeshts - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    XBMC is a bit resource intensive and also requires a 3D graphics engine with full OpenGL ES 2.0 support to have good performance.

    The SMP 8656 will probably be the first media streamer SoC in the market which can run XBMC, but even that has some issues:

    Sigma hired a 3rd party company to do their initial port, which is shown in the picture below. A proof-of-concept is up and running on their SMP8656, and while the GUI is choppy and playback is still not working, it is an impressive effort so far.

    It will be quite some time before you actually get XBMC running on proper media streaming SoCs such as those from Sigma, Realtek and Marvell.
  • Rainman200 - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    XBMC also requires an OpenGL ES 2.0 capable GPU to run as well, XBMC devs are handling Arm ports themselves and it works well under linux on the dev kits they have access too (there are a couple of different hardware acceleration API's in Arm so not all are supported).

    The Marvell soc looks quite good it's a shame it does not have a GPU on it as it could have run XBMC reasonably well even better than the AppleTV2, hopefully the second generation 88DE3100 comes to market sooner.

    This does look pretty nice though from Nixeus, if your making a media streamer the main thing to borrow from XBMC is it's media source system, instead of browsing through UPnP/NFS/AFP/SMB/USB you just add a source and browse though those desired items, it's so much more elegant than the typical systems used in media streamers.

    Also hiring someone with UI design experience or even XBMC skinner to build your players UI is one of the best things you can do even if your streamer cant do as fancy a UI as XBMC. Don't leave it to software engineers or whatever comes with the SDK.
  • Destiny - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    I see a "GFX Engine" on the Marvell chipset block diagram... is that a GPU or seperate GPU?
  • ganeshts - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    The GPU is covered in detail in the text :) It is the Vivante GC300 which supports OpenGL, but it is not a 3D graphics engine, rather 2D only.

    Even if XBMC were to be ported onto this, it will not have good performance. It looks like even the SGX531 is having a bit of trouble keeping up?
  • Destiny - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    What chipsets or hardware is using the SGX531?
  • ganeshts - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    Sigma Designs SMP 8656 in the TViX Xroid A1, but the TViX model doesn't run XBMC, but custom GUI (you can see the demo in the YouTube video linked in the article)

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