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TI unrolls low-cost DSP-only DaVinci parts

Posted: 16 Nov 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Texas Instruments? DaVinci? DSP? TMS320DM? video processors?

Looking to expand its video-specific media processors into lower-end applications, Texas Instruments Inc. rolled out this week the first DSP-only DaVinci parts, priced as low as $9.95 a unit. TI introduced four processors tuned for the automotive vision applications, video security and video telephony at this week's Electronica 2006 conference in Munich, Germany.

Previous DaVinci devices had been described as SoCs based on DSPs, integrating TI's C64x+ DSP with ARM9 or ARM11 cores. When TI fielded its first DaVinci processors last year, the lowest price was just under $30, said Gerard Andrews, DSP product-marketing manager.

TI is offering the DSP-only DaVinci parts to target the lower prices its original SoCs could not hit, said Will Strauss, president of Forward Concepts Inc. "TI doesn't like to leave stones unturned," he said, adding that the new parts "will not cannibalize the market for existing DaVinci products." Rather, "TI is backfilling the market to reach applications not previously available to DaVinci."

TI hopes to create a new entry point for adding DSP-based video to a system, Andrews said. "Customers are going to say, 'It doesn't cost us that much more to add it, and because TI provides the software, the tools and the infrastructure, it's not as hard to add video as it used to be.'"

TI never intended to make the DaVinci brand name synonymous with a particular architecture, such as "a DSP plus an ARM core," Andrews said. "The term is 'intentionally broad,' to encompass all of TI's DSP-enabled, video-specific offerings," he added. We are making a broad play to try to communicate to the market that video is very important to TI." A spokeswoman said the company expects the total digital video DSP market to grow to $640 million in 2007 and nearly $1.3 billion in 2010.

Tech tricks
The DSP-only DaVinci products required TI to develop software that didn't need the ARM cores to run, Strauss said.

The products mark the first time TI has targeted the automotive vision market. Three of the new processors (TMS320DM-6435, 6433 and 6431) have special features, like support for the CAN bus interface and AEC-Q1000 automotive-quality certification, that suit them for such collision-avoidance applications as lane departure alerts and blind spot detection.

The fourth device, the TMS320DM6437, is optimized to operate a single-chip video phone. The device supports real-time audio-, video- and Internet protocol-based network streaming, as well as an H.264 codec and Common Intermediate Format resolution at 30fps.

All four processors provide 80Kbyte L1D, 32Kbyte L1P cache SRAM; 128Kbyte L2 cache SRAM; a 32bit DDR2 SDRAM controller; and an asynchronous, 8bit-wide external memory interface. All also offer a 10/100Gbps Ethernet MAC and other peripherals.

The parts, sampling now, are slated to reach volume production in Q2, priced from $9.95 to $22.95 each in lots of 10,000 or more.

- Dylan McGrath
EE Times

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