ARM, Nufront Unveil Integrated Chip

U.K.-based ARM's technology will power Nufront's 40 nanometer system-on-a-chip with the ability to integrate dual-core Cortex-A9 MPCore processing at 2 GHz speed. The NuSmart 2816 is intended for ultra-thin laptops and all-in-one desktops, netbooks and tablets, and was unveiled in China on Tuesday night.

Nufront has long partnered with ARM on next generation processor technology and claims to have several variants of this chip. The manufacturer now uses the most advanced 40nm process for chip design and manufacturing, with the capacity to operate inside mobile TVs and other devices, as well as browser-related and cloud-related applications, said Bob Morris, Director of Mobile Computing at ARM.

"The performance of the Cortex-A9 can compete with today's laptops," Nufront Director of IC Design Jensen Yang told CRN. "In moving from the second to the third era of processing, we're providing high performance, but also low costs."

In order for Cortex-A9 based products to become widely available in China, NuFront has set a target of selling $250 laptops by providing an integrated, power-efficient solution. The single-core, 0.8 watt, low-power version will not just be for tablets, but smartphones as well, Yang said. According to both companies, this will eliminate functional components by integrating all computer functions on to a single 40 nanometer die running at 2 GHz.

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NuFront is working on open-source platforms like Ubuntu and Android, as well as with Microsoft. But ARM distinguished itself from other vendor offerings, Yang said, with its advantages in memory, storage and performance. Part of ARM's strategy is to get into the server space, where working with NuFront could allow them to build a full-blown server and desktop application for a 20 nanometer device in the next year or two, Yang said.

Nufront NuSmart 2816 products based on ARM's chip architecture will be available in China by the end of the year, Morris said. Products with the new architecture are slated to be shown at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Also next year, Nufront is planning to deliver several other computer system chips, one of which is currently under development, according to a press release from ARM.