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Panasonic to ship 45nm chip ahead of Intel

UniPhier video processor out before 'Penryn'

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Panasonic is set to become the first technology company to release products that consumers can actually buy and take home that contain 45nm chips, its parent, Matsushita, claimed today.

The Diga-brand DVD and Blu-ray Disc recorders containing the 45nm chip, a video processing part called UniPhier - short for UNIversal Platform for High-quality Image Enhancing Revolution, believe it or not - will go on sale on 1 November, albeit only in Japan. Even so, that's still more than a week ahead of Intel's first 45nm processors, assuming they're available to buy at launch.

UniPhier is a 250m-transistor codec chip supporting the H.264 - aka MPEG 4 AVC - capable of dealing with two "full HD" - by which we assume Panasonic means 1080p - images at the same time.

Panasonic also said the part can churn through 3D graphics and has the ability to number-crunch encryption alogorithms - though it didn't specify which ones.

Panasonic UniPhier
Panasonic's UniPhier achitecture
Click for full-size image

The company sees UniPhier as the foundation for a range of products, from media-oriented mobile phones to in-car entertainment systems. There are three versions of the chip. One, for phones, contains just a basic "instruction parallel processor", while the second model, aimed at portable AV devices, adds a "data parallel processor" and what Panasonic calls a "hardware engine" - specific algorithm accelerators. The third UniPhier is designed for home entertainment products and in-car kit, takes the second model's design and builds in more hardware engines.

All these cores fit into system-on-a-chip parts that incorporate an ARM processor, a memory controller, I/O, video signal processing circuitry and, in some cases, 2D and 3D graphics processing.

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