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Sharc DSPs boost memory capacity

Posted: 13 Nov 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:DSP? memory? interface?

Analog Devices Inc. (ADI) has announced the ADSP-2164x, the fourth generation of its Sharc floating-point DSPs. It offers two times performance boost over earlier Sharc DSP and a 60 percent increase in on-chip memory capacity. It has an enhanced instruction set that reduces memory needs by 30 percent. The DSP family includes the 21469 for industrial and instrumentation; the 21469W, 21465W, and 21462W for automotive audio; and the 21467 for home theater. The family also has a pro-audio version of the 21469 that ADI previewed in October.

The device works at a maximum of 450MHz, a mere 50MHz faster than previous Sharcs, but achieves two times performance boost through accelerators. The 2164x features hardware accelerators for FIR filters, IIR filters, and FFTs, all of which are widely used signal processing operations. The accelerators can run in parallel with the DSP, effectively doubling the processor's performance.

The 2164x carries several features that improve the performance of the memory system. These include a 60 percent increase in on-chip SRAM to 5Mbits, and a new variable instruction set architecture. The new instruction set supports 16- and 32bit-wide instructions in addition to the 48-bit-wide instructions backed by previous Sharcs. The compressed instructions reduce code footprints by as much as 30 percent, lowering the need to fetch instruction from slow external memory.

Other features of the 2164x include hardware engines for sample rate conversion and (on select family members) digital transmission content protection. Available interfaces are DDR2 memory interface, link ports for communication between Sharc chips, and a MediaLB interface for connecting to automotive Media Oriented Systems Transport networks. The Sharc processors targeting audio applications come with certified decoders in on-chip ROM, including digital theater system-HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby TrueHD.

The new Sharc provides significantly more compute power than its main competitor, the TI C67x DSP family. The 2164x gets most of its performance advantage from its hardware accelerators. This feature is not available on TI's C67x family. However, TI has a fast Fourier transform/FIR coprocessor on its fixed-point C550x DSPs. It will be interesting to see if TI responds to the superior performance of the 2164x by bringing this coprocessor over to its C67x line. The new Sharc processors will be available for sampling in Q1 09.

- Kenton Williston
DSP DesignLine

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