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A/V, memory glitz and glam at IIC-China

Posted: 19 Feb 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:audio processor? MCU? DSP? PMP? mobile TV?

More than 240 international semiconductor tycoons and local manufacturers are expected to take part in the 13th International IC-China Conference and Exhibition (IIC-China) that kicks off Feb. 28 at the Chengdu New International Exhibition and Convention Center.

Every year IIC-China exhibit halls come alive with the latest audio and video platforms in demo. With the demand of high-quality musical effect and high-definition video, the key is to find the perfect combination of audio/video offering. And as audio/video continue play great role of consumer electronics, it brings new challenges to microprocessor performance.

Portable market
Texas Instrument Inc. will showcase it newest DaVinci platform that integrates a DSP and an MCU at the upcoming conference. Not to be outdone, Analog Devices Inc. is set to highlight its Blackfin processor family with optimized performance to satisfy strict requirements of portable applications. The products have been widely applied to portable media player (PMP), VoIP telephone, IP video camera and mobile TV equipments.

Tensilica Inc. will exhibit its second-generation Diamond series of processor featuring multiplication and division units with optimized hardware to reduce memory power usage by 30 percent. CEVA, on the other hand, will bring its Mobile-Media-Lite multimedia solutions for mobile TVs, entry-level PMPs and multimedia mobile phones.

High-def viewing
With the upcoming 2008 Olympic games, the demand for large-screen HDTV is increasing. However, the substandard images of large-screen TV sets still bother consumers. Seeking to address this, NXP Semiconductors will display its patent video postprocessor used for Motion Accurate Picture Processing. The video postprocessor can help TV manufacturers significantly raise the quality of high-definition motion picture in LCD TVs and eliminate visible halation and blur by integrating movie judder cancellation, motion sharpening and vivid color management.

Freescale Semiconductor, on the other hand, will exhibit its first-generation Symphony series of dual-DSP 24bit audio processors, the DSP56720 and DSP56721. These devices are designed for consumer electronics, professional audio and automobile applications, which need higher-level audio processing performance, such as Blu-Ray and HD-DVD players, household A/V receivers, vehicle amplifiers, infotainment systems, professional audio notes recorders, musical instruments and amplifiers.

Demand for cellphones with multimedia functions such as music, games and videos, has seen robust growth over the past years. To meet this demand, NEC Corp. has developed an audio processor that can make cellphones continuously play music for 50hrs. The single-chip uPD99910 audio processor integrates a CPU and a DSP, which is particularly used for music rebroadcast, and an interface that is used for copyright protection. In addition, the uPD99910 does not need an additional application processor.

Local manufacturers including C2 Microsystems will also showcase its DSP SoC products, while PowerLayer Microsystems Inc. will exhibit its MyHD series of HDTV processing chips and solutions. The MyHD series enables a number of common CRT TV sets to receive HDTV program pictures at low cost.

Next-gen memory battle
Following the latest developments in the memory arena, this year's IIC exhibition will feature memory manufacturers with their newest lines of non-volatile flash memory technology, both NAND and NOR.

Toshiba Corp. will exhibit its NAND series product, the mobile LBA-NAND, which expands handset storage capacity. For this product series, the single-level cell (SLC) of storage programs can be randomly set and the saving multilevel cell (MLC) is employed. In a type of chip processor, users can set SLC fitting for high-speed writing and reading with random capacity and increase MLC of each device's data saving amount.

Meanwhile, Spansion Inc. will showcase its 65nm Mirrorbit ORNAND series flash memory with 512Mbit, 1Gbit and 2Gbit capacities. The Mirrorbit ORNAND series will allow mobile phone OEMs to offer products with rich multimedia functions, including DTV, up to 5Mpixel continuous photo-taking and audio with CD quality. In addition, Spansion employs a multichip packaging program for increased starting speed and energy savings in standby mode.

While storage density is upgrading, storage security also attracts the industry's attention. IntellaSys will show his OnSpec xSil269 memory controller chip, which achieves 128bit hardware encryption security protection. The hardware encryption and decryption functions installed in xSil269 chip integrate with discrimination of true and false two-stage software password to prevent illegal access to files stored in the memory.

SSD frenzy
Even with the various NAND flash offerings, it is expected that solid-state drives (SSD) will steal the IIC show. The solid-state hard disk is has the interface specification, definition, function and even the size of common HDDs. However, adopting flash memory, SSD offers higher data security and portability. It is especially applicable in military, vehicle, industry control, video monitor, Internet monitor, network terminal, electric power, medical treatment, aviation and navigation equipment fields.

Toshiba will showcase its high-capacity 128Gbit SSD products with NAND flash memory designed mainly for computers. The products' carrier corresponds to multiple-valued MLC controller developed by the company. The devices offer fast read and write function, parallel data transmission and mass customization of writing area. With MLC technology, Toshiba can reach 128Gbyte capacity under 1.8-inch format.

Samsung Electronics is also expected to display its new external SSD hard disk with 1.8-inch and 2.5-inch specifications. Both type offer 64GByte capacity, SATA II interface specification, 100MBps writing speed and 120MBps read speed. By putting 50nm process SLC flash memory particles inside, the SSD hard disk improves the working mode of traditional hard disk, which increases data management efficiency and reduces energy consumption.

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