Marvell shows off 64-bit ARM SoCs + LTE and more

Computex 2014: SAS, Flash, and more new silicon

Marvell logoMarvell had a lot of controller goodies at Computex alongside their new SAS and SoC/device silicon. In short there are a lot of interesting low-level parts that SemiAccurate saw there that should be coming out soon.

The first thing that SemiAccurate saw was the flash controllers. On the device side there was the current Marvell 88SS9293 SATAe/NVMe 4x PCIe 2.0 controller. It was shown off as a 512GB M.2 (aka the moronic broken by committee) form factor and will support “1ynm” MLC NAND, OS boot, and Dev Sleep. In short it is almost all you need for a current PCIe flash controller especially considering this.

Marvell 5th gen Flash controller

The next generation will be smaller by production

Following that device is the 5th generation Marvell flash controller called 88SS1074. Most of our readers will figure out the specs based on the obvious naming scheme but let’s go over them anyway. It starts out with a new generation of LDPC error checking which is pretty much a necessity for its TLC and 15nm NAND support. In case you didn’t figure it out, the “y” in 1ynm above was a 5, for some reason Marvell could not say that on the demo next to this one.

All of this is based on a 28nm process although the foundry was not named. Marvell claimed this controller is optimized for M.2 form factors but I can’t really be sure what that exactly entails. No details were given but considering there is really no competition for the chip and this is the second generation of Marvell PCIe flash controller, any lingering bottlenecks from the 88SS9293 generation are likely gone here. No performance numbers were given out.

Marvell PXA1928 Quad-A54 plus LTE modem

64-bits plus modem in a reference design

On the CPU side there was a nice surprise, the quad-A53 PXA1928 SoC. This was the first live demo of a 64-bit phone SoC with an LTE modem that I have seen even though others have been previously announced. Once again there weren’t many specs given out, none really, other than a “5-mode” modem and “High-performance multimedia and ISP”. That last one allows for an “assertive display”, basically dynamic contrast adjustment to better show images while lowering screen brightness to save power. The PXA1928 is aimed at mass market/1000RMB devices which are ripe for a low-cost 64-bit Cat 4 LTE SoC. This should sell quite well.

Marvell SAS12 controller boards

Sassy SAS controllers at 12Gbps

Last up is SAS controllers, something I forgot Marvell made. At Computex there were two new devices shown off, an 8-port and a 16-port SAS12 chip. They were shown off in two formats, one in a NAS/cloud-in-a-box 2U server form factor, the other in an upcoming Highpoint 40-port PCIe RAID card. If you want a lot of high-end storage, your wishes will be granted soon enough.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate