Nufront Preps $250 ARM-based 1080p Desktop PC for CES

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by Jacqueline Emigh

With CES 2011 now only about four months away, China-based Nufront is reportedly readying a $250, 1080p video-enabled ARM-based desktop PC for display at the annual international consumer electronics showcase in Las Vegas.

Capable of running at a speedy 2GHz, the economical desktop machine will be among the first PCs to sport an ARM Cortex-A9 processor. Nufront’s desktop PC will be based on the NuSmart 2816, a 40 namoneter (nm) system on a chip (SoC) manufactured by Taiwanese chip giant TSMC.

Other components of the NuSmart 2816 include a built-in multi-core 2D/3D graphics processor, a 1080p multi-format video engine, a 64-bit DDR2/3-1066 memory controller, USB 2.0, Ethernet connectivity, SATA-II controllers, and general controllers.

Nufront claims that the 2816 is energy-efficient, too, consuming less than two watts of electricity when operating at 1.8GHz.


nusmart 2816 ARM desktop

Laptops and netbooks under way, too
Nufront also plans to use the NuSmart 2816 in ultra-thin laptops and high performance tablets, although pricing hasn’t yet been bandied about for the A9-enabled mobile PCs.

As some see it, a PC based on a 2GHz NuSmart is likely to feel faster than a conventional 1.66 GHz Atom-based netbook, and it will eat up less energy. However, the Atom offers better specs on benchmarks such as floating point graphics and JavaScript.

Nufront is reportedly working with operating systems (OS) that include Android, Linux, and Microsoft Windows.

Nufront isn’t alone with A9 devices
Nufront certainly won’t be alone in prepping Cortex A9-based PCs for 2011. In a financial briefing earlier this year, Warren East, CEO of ARM Holdings, described the A9 as ARM’s most powerful processor. East also said, though, that the A9 will ultimately be superceded by the Eagle Core, an even more powerful chipset licensed by Texas Instruments (TI) just last month.

Meanwhile, shipments of Cortex A9-based SoCs from TI are anticipated later this year for devices slated to appear early in 2011.

In addition, Nvidia has announced the the Cortex A9 for use within its Tegra-2 processor. Marvell Technology has unveiled a four-core implementation of the ARM chip architecture.

According to an unverified account in the Chinese newspaper Digitimes, an upcoming “mini” version of a second-generation Apple iPad will also use a Cortex A9.

Nufront forthcoming about desktop PC and other plans
However, other desktop PCs based on Cortex A9 chipsets haven’t yet been gaining attention, if any are now in the planning stages.

Nufront, on the other hand, has been particularly forthcoming about its intentions for the A9, issuing a press release on Businesswire about these plans and already demoing the $250 desktop PC in places that include San Francisco.

In addition, Nufront is reportedly already at work on a next generation of A9-based chipsets, including a single-core running at 1.2GHz and two quad-core chips, one of which will reach a sizzling 2.5GHz.




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