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Sep 19, 2012

Marvell and Stanford SMILE Plug Computer

Multinational company Marvell is one of the world’s largest ARM developers and today they are announcing the availability of the SMILE plug computer, in collaboration with Stanford. This is a very small system that looks mostly like a router.

The SMILE system has a Marvell ARMADA 300 system-on-chip (SoC) inside along with a Marvell Avastar 88W8764 Wi-Fi controller and these offer the user two USB 3.0 ports along with two SD card slots and WirelessN. The ARMADA 300 is a low-power single-issue CPU operating at 800 MHZ, but a 1 GHz and a 2GHz version are also available. It has 32 KB level 1, 4-way associative cache and a 256 KB unified 4-way, set-associative level 2 cache. It can support DDR2 or DDR3 memory with frequencies up to 1066 MHz and also has two Gigabit LAN MACs and support for two PCI-Express slots.

The official description on Marvell’s site mentions USB 2.0 support on the ARMADA 300 family, but the SMILE system has USB 3.0 ports so there might be a new, more advanced ARMADA 300 chip inside the small system. On an interesting note, the system has such modest power consumption that, for areas where power delivery is unstable, it can also come with a small 5 vault battery that will help the system continue working despite any power fluctuations. The initial announcements talked about an ARMADA 370 SoC and we think that this single-core 2GHz chip is the likely culprit for the interesting abilities of SMILE. The company advertises SMILE as a media server, home automation computer, remote access system or a micro cloud for the classroom and this is exactly where they’ve collaborated with Stanford. For those that are interested in acronyms, SMILE is short for Stanford Mobile Inquiry-based Learning Environment.

Marvell SMILE Cloud Computer powered by ARMADA 370 single core SoC running at 2 GHz
Images credits to Engadget


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