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Toshiba fields 'SpursEngine' for better mobile video

Posted: 25 Sep 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mobile video chip? microprocessor? multimedia processing?

Toshiba says it has developed a high-performance chip that will bring powerful video processing capabilities to consumer electronics devices.

Dubbed "SpursEngine," Toshiba's new high-performance stream chip integrates Synergistic Processing Element (SPE) cores derived from the Cell Broadband Engine (Cell/B.E.), a RISC microprocessor architecture jointly developed by Toshiba, Sony and IBM for accelerating multimedia processing.

The chip works in cooperation with a host CPU and combines the Cell/B.E.'s multicore technology with Toshiba's advanced image processing technology to perform stream processing and image recognition of video sources.

Figure 1: Inductor selection.
Click image to view figure.

"The new co-processor integrates four of Cell/B.E.'s high performance RISC core SPEs, half the number of the full configuration, plus hardware dedicated to decoding and encoding MPEG-2 and H.264 video," Toshiba said in its announcement.

Among other capabilities, SpursEngine utilizes XDR DRAMa memory interface technology developed by chip interface manufacturer Rambusas its working memory, which means it can support high data transfer rates for large volumes of media data.

The prototype of SpursEngine operates at a clock frequency of 1.5GHz and consumes power at 10-20W, the company said.

SpursEngine will be showcased for the first time at the CEATEC Japan 2007 trade show in October. As part of its debut, Toshiba said it will demonstrate the chip's capabilities of 3D image processing and manipulation in notebook PCs. The demonstration will include transformations of hair styles and makeup that instantly recognize and process changes in position, angle and facial expression. The transformations will then be rendered as computer graphics, the company said.

Toshiba said it will make SpursEngine widely available for use in consumer electronics devices, as soon as it completes specifications for commercial production.

- Elena Malykhina

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