TI tunes latest tablet chip for upcoming Windows OS

TI's OMAP4470 tablet chip will support the Microsoft's DirectX technology

Texas Instruments on Thursday announced a quad-core chip for tablets with features to boost application and graphics performance in Microsoft's upcoming Windows OS.

The OMAP4470, which also targets thin laptops and smartphones, will support Microsoft's DirectX technology to provide a realistic gaming experience for devices running the upcoming Windows OS.

Microsoft earlier this year said the upcoming Windows OS would work on ARM processors, including chips from TI, Nvidia and Qualcomm. Microsoft offers Windows 7 for x86 chips from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices, and bundles DirectX tools to improve graphics and application performance.

The OMAP4470 chip has ARM CPUs that are powerful enough to run desktop applications, but power-efficient to be used in mobile devices, TI said in a statement. DirectX will bring a new set of gaming and video applications to devices running on OMAP4470 chips, the company said.

The chip will also harness the combined processing power of CPUs and a graphics core from Imagination Technologies to enable new DirectX applications, TI said.

TI announced the chip at the Computex trade show in Taipei. Rivals Nvidia and Qualcomm also detailed quad-core ARM processors for devices like tablets at the show.

The OMAP4470 has a hybrid design, with two CPUs running at 1.8GHz for high-performance applications, and two low-power processor cores for secondary applications to prolong the battery life of devices. The high-performance CPUs, based on ARM's Cortex-A9 processor design, provide an 80 percent boost on Web browsing compared to older TI chips, the company said.

The OMAPP4470 uses Imagination's PowerVR SGX544 graphics core, which enhances gaming, user interface, Web and media applications, TI said. The chip will be able to play back full high-definition video, and a display subsystem will support HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) so devices can be connected to high-definition displays.

The chip takes a page from PCs by harnessing the combined computing power of CPUs and graphics processors. Graphics processors are considered to be faster than CPUs at executing certain calculations, and many tasks such as Adobe Flash applications are being off-loaded to graphics processors for faster processing. Parallel programming tools such as Microsoft's DirectX help manage parallel task execution.

The chip also supports OpenCL, a parallel-programming standard backed by companies including Intel, Apple and Advanced Micro Devices.

In addition to the upcoming Windows OS, devices using the chip will also be able to run Google's Android OS, TI said.

Devices based on the chip will reach market early next year, TI said. The chip, made using the 45-nanometer process, will ship for sampling later this year.

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