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ST considers 3D graphics core in next chipsets

Posted: 09 Jun 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:3D graphics core? processors? image? displays?

STMicroelectronics NV is currently negotiating with IP licensors regarding the inclusion of 3D graphics processing core in the next portable equipment chipsets and TV processors.

Others may ask whether Advanced Micro Devices Inc. can extend its influence from an established position within ST's Nomadik mobile processor, or whether ARM Holdings plc can gain design wins for its Mali graphics architecture.

Philippe Lambinet, executive VP, home entertainment and displays group, ST, said an upcoming TV processor, with code name Freeman, would not include a 3D graphics processing core, but the next chip is expected to have it. That is currently being designed for implementation in 32nm CMOS.

When asked whether Lambinet would build or buy the graphics processing core, he noted that, "I it is something we will license in, preferably in synergy with Tommi, but not necessarily." He was referring to Tommi Uhari, executive VP for mobile, multimedia and communications group, ST.

Lambinet refused to identify the IP providers he is considering. ST has worked with Imagination Technologies Group plc in the past, together with ARM Ltd and Advance Micro Devices Inc. (AMD), which could also be part of those being considered for graphics.

ST shared the results of its collaboration with AMD when it announced in February 2008 the Nomadik STn8820 chip, which includes IP from AMD to implement 2D and 3D graphics on mobile handsets. AMD had bought graphics and chipset provider ATI Technologies Inc. in October 2006 for $5.4 billion. At the time, the Nomadik 8820 launch of ST said the inclusion of AMD graphics offered game console providing quality graphics and allowing the display of 3D games, realistic maps and other graphics with intensive applications on mobile equipment.

Recently, ST executives told financial analysts at the annual field trip held in London that the company was getting closer to ARM and would be a leading deployer of next-generation ARM IP processor.

A product manager from ARM said the company was negotiating with all the leading semiconductor vendors in the "mobile space" to take the Mali-400MP core, the multiprocessing version of its Mali 3D graphics processor architecture.

Meanwhile, Lambinet said, "Tommi and I are free to make a different choice," adding they are discussing things daily to make a common choice.

- Peter Clarke
EE Times Europe

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