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Tools figure into designers' platform picks

Posted: 03 Oct 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:texas instruments? code composer studio? integrated development environment? dsp? fpga?

With their latest generation of DSP chips pretty well accounted for, chip vendors are turning their attention to beefing up software development tools, which continue to grow in importance for system designers choosing processor platforms.

Texas Instruments Inc., for example, recently launched what it calls the Platinum Edition of its Code Composer Studio (CCStudio) integrated development environment (IDE). Microchip Technology Inc. has released a speech-encoding and -decoding library for its dsPIC digital signal controller. Designers looking to put DSP functions into Xilinx Inc.'s virtex-4 FPGA designs can now turn to Synplify Pro Software 8.1 from Synplicity Inc. For its part, Analog Devices Inc. is touting the latest software tools from third-party vendors with the launch of its blackfin DSP telematics platform aimed at the automotive market.

TI's CCStudio Platinum Edition provides a single IDE that supports multiple TI DSP platforms in one installation, saving DSP OEMs both time and expense in the design of multiprocessor, multiplatform applications, according to the company. The Platinum Edition also makes code debugging less frustrating with two new features that can save developers a great deal of time when tracking down pervasive bugs. CCStudio Rewind allows programmers to backstep through their source code with a single keystroke, while the connect/disconnect feature lets developers hot-swap a target board in seconds to eliminate hardware suspects during debug.

TI's CCStudio Platinum Edition supports all TI platforms, including the TMS320C6000, TMS320C5000 and TMS320C2000 DSPs, as well as OMAP.

Microchip Technology expects that its new speech-encoding and -decoding library will be a welcome addition for embedded-system designers working with limited bandwidth or memory. The library, dubbed dsPIC30F, touts a 16:1 maximum compression ratio. Compared with lower compression methods, it makes it possible to transmit more messages for a given time and bandwidth or to store longer messages in a given amount of memory, the company said.

Sounds good

As for sound quality and intelligibility, the library achieves a Perceptual Evaluation of Speech Quality score of 3.7 to 4.2. And because the library is based on the Speex open-source audio-compression format, it is offered royalty-free for a one-time licensing fee.

The library's speech encoder samples data at 8kHz using either the dsPIC's on-chip 12bit ADC or a 16bit input from an external codec. The output of the encoder is a compressed 8Kbps stream. Encoding requires 19MIPS (worst case), 33KB of program memory and 6.2KB of RAM.

Designers working with Xilinx Virtex-4 FPGA designs can now add DSP functionality with the help of Synplify Pro Software 8.1. The Synplicity product allows users to take advantage of the different operating modes of the Virtex-4's DSP48 blocks by automatically implementing selected XtremeDSP structures. Users can also leverage the Virtex-4 device family's ability to cascade multiple DSP blocks.

ADI's Blackfin ADSP-BF534 and ADSP-BF539 processors drive the company's Blackfin automotive telematics platform and provide connectivity to the CAN and most bus networks. ADI works closely with its third-party vendors, such as Green Hills Software Inc., which provides secure development tools such as the Multi IDE; C, C++ and EC++ compilers; and Green Hills Probe and Slingshot probe.

According to ADI, the tools give automotive embedded-system developers a solution that will address all their development needs and offer broad OS support.

- Marty Gold

EE Times

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