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OMAP 4470 Improves CPU, Graphics

June 27, 2011

Author: Linley Gwennap

At Computex, Texas Instruments (TI) announced a new OMAP design that fits between OMAP5 and the current OMAP4. The company calls it the OMAP 4470, but it is more than just a faster speed grade of the OMAP 4460; the new design includes significant graphics and memory improvements as well. The 4470 is expected to sample later this year and appear in devices by mid-2012. To simplify system design, it is pin compatible with the 4460.

For starters, the 4470 is rated at a CPU speed of 1.8GHz, 20% faster than the 4460 (which TI originally announced as the 4440 but later renamed the 4460 in typically capricious fashion). TI’s circuit designers have spent the past six months hammering on critical speed paths in the Cortex-A9 CPU to shave off a few dozen picoseconds here and there from the already reoptimized 4460 layout. These guys must be good, as this speed is attained in the same TI-defined 45nm LP process that the other OMAP4 products use.

To feed data to the faster CPUs, TI modified the DRAM controller to support LPDDR2-466 memory, which is 15% faster than in the 4460. Like other OMAP4 processors, the 4470 has two 32-bit DRAM channels; thus, the new chip provides up to 7.5GB/s of peak memory bandwidth.

The 4470 includes a PowerVR SGX544 GPU, which TI is also using in OMAP5. Even with a single core, this GPU delivers twice the raw performance of the SGX540 in the earlier OMAP4 chips. Like the 4460, the 4470 runs the GPU at 384MHz. Assuming this increase translates directly to performance on tests such as GLBenchmark 2.0, the 4470 should deliver about twice the 3D performance of Nvidia’s Tegra 2 and Qualcomm’s MSM8260.

The 4470 provides a stepping stone to the even more powerful OMAP 5430, which will offer dual Cortex-A15 CPUs running at 2.0GHz and a dual-core SGX544 GPU. Compared with the 4470, OMAP5 will offer about 66% more CPU performance and twice the 3D performance. If all goes well, TI will deliver three performance boosts on a half-year cadence: the 4460 in 4Q11, the 4470 in 2Q12, and the 5430 in 4Q12. This combination will cover a wide range of price/performance points without leaving any gaps for competitors to exploit.

For complete coverage of TI’s OMAP lineup, check out our recent report “A Guide to Mobile Processors” at http://www.linleygroup.com/report_detail.php?num=6

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