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ST starts selling ARM processor with configurable logic

Posted: 20 Jul 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:arm924es risc? processor? programmable logic? spear?

STMicroelectronics NV said Monday (July 18) it has started selling the first member of a family of configurable chips based on the ARM924ES RISC processor core integrated with an area of programmable logic.

The family name is SPEAR standing for Structured Processor Enhanced Architecture. The initial device implemented in a 110nm CMOD process includes: an ARM946ES capable of running at 192MHz clock frequency with data cache, instruction cache, and data and instruction tightly-coupled memories, three USB version 2.0 ports; an Ethernet 10/100 MAC; a 16-channel 8bit A/D converter; an I2C interface; three UARTs; memory interfaces; and 400kgate equivalent programmable logic.

ST was not clear in its press release or online materials about whether the device could be programmed using a bit stream to set SRAM bits, in the manner of an field programmable gate array, or whether the array required programming in manufacture. Nor did ST discuss whether the array was licensed from a third party.

In a statement Vittorio Peduto, general manager of ST's computer systems division, said turnaround times can be as short as few days, using e-beam prototyping with a mass production ramp up of six to eight weeks time from the final RTL design availability, suggesting the programmable logic is not user- or field-programmable.

Samples of this first member of the family are already available, with pricing in the range of $13 each in volume quantities, ST said. Full evaluation boards will be shipping in September. A special dual-mode development environment has been implemented to allow ST customers to develop their solution with an external FPGA, and then verify the solution and map it into the configurable logic inside the chip.

Additionally, ST said it would provide a simplified version with the programmable logic completely removed for any device in the family.

- Peter Clarke

EE Times

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