System on Chips – What is it and what is inside it?
What is an SoC?
A system on a chip is a microchip that contains all the parts and circuitry that are needed for a system, for example a smartphone or a wearable computer. Used in small, increasingly complex consumer electronic devices, SoC’s are the fundamental building block to creating the internet of things. In the case of smartphones and tablets, they do not offer the same amount of internal space as desktops and laptops for the various components needed. As a result, the internal parts must be made to be as small as possible in order to maximise battery size. An SoC is used to store some of the components that power the smartphone, while using a minimal amount of space.
What is inside an SoC?
Central Processing Unit (CPU):
The CPU can contain a single or multiple cores, and is what makes everything possible on a smartphone.
Similarly to a computer, memory is required to perform the various tasks smartphone and tablets are capable of, and therefore SoCs come with various memory architectures on board
Graphic Processing Unit (GPU):
The GPU is an important component of the SoC, responsible for handling the processing of complex graphics on a smartphone/tablet.
The Northbridge component handles communication between the CPU and other components of the SoC.
Often times SoCs will come with certain modems required by mobile operators, e.g. a modem for 4G LTE connectivity.
Some SoCs may also have other components responsible for other types of connectivity, including Wi-Fi, GPS/GLONASS or Bluetooth.
As the complexity of SoC’s continue to evolve and the internet of things continues to grow, smartphone manufacturers will continue switching chips to stay in front of their competition. At Marvell, SoC’s are used in a variety of their solutions from storage, printing and home automation. Want to find out more about Marvell’s innovative products? Swing by their website more information.