Tuesday, May 31, 2016

NXP i.MX 8 DV — alive and kicking

The team at NXP have really impressed me with how quickly they were able to bring up the new i.MX 8 DV. If you haven’t heard about it, the DV is a development vehicle that NXP introduced in advance of their upcoming family of i.MX 8 processors, and this thing is a beast.

Mapping closely to the upcoming production device, the DV sports dual A72 and quad A53 cores, along with a host of M-cores and dual Vivante GC7000XSVX GPUs. Combined graphics processing jumps sixfold over the previous generation of i.MX devices. The device also has a strong hardware isolation story: 16 partitions are available to map the various hardware blocks on the device and guarantee isolation between them. This architecture greatly facilitates virtualization and even the ability to partition hardware independent of a hypervisor.

Why is this so great? Chips this powerful can span multiple displays in the vehicle. You could have an infotainment system and a digital instrument cluster running on a single i.MX8. Because you don’t have to worry about virtualizing a single GPU (which is quite the challenge), you can carve up the chip’s graphics and processing power to isolate the infotainment system from the cluster. This, in turn, minimizes your scope of certification. Achieving ISO 26262 for a cluster is daunting enough; achieving it for a complex infotainment system as well is off the scale.

This device marks a change in how QNX Software Systems and NXP work together. For the first time NXP is bringing up a new chip on the QNX OS and Linux in parallel. Usually, Linux come first, but not this time. I am, needless to say, delighted by this level of cooperation between our two companies.

At FTF, NXP demonstrated the i.MX 8DV, and it looked great.

Advanced 3D graphics on an i.MX 8DV.

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