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Processor boosts wired, wireless nets performance

Posted: 16 Apr 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:network processor? wired wireless? system network?

Cavium Networks has announced its next-generation network processor, the Octeon II, which aims to boost performance for a wide range of wired and wireless network systems.

Octeon II uses an upgraded version of Cavium's custom cnMIPS64 core, doubling from 16 to 32 the maximum number available in one chip. The core adds a number of new instructions and includes support for the 3G Snow algorithm used in 3G cellular networks. The core now runs at maximum data rates of 1.5GHz, up from 900MHz.

The chip now supports serial RapidIO to link to banks of DSP typically used in wireless base stations. It also upgrades support from DDR2 to DDR3 memory and from 2.5GHz to 5.0GHz PCIe. Xaui ports are also boosted from 3.125 to 6.25GHz.

The chip also boosts the maximum number of hardware accelerators on board from 24 to 75. Power consumption for the chips ranges from 7W to 17W.

The first version of the Octeon II to ship will be the CN63XX, a two-to-six core devices with 2Mbytes L2 cache. Cavium ultimately plans to ship lower and higher end parts.

The CN63XX will sell for prices ranging from $59-199 depending on configuration in 10,000 unit quantities. The company does not expect to sample the chip until late this year.

Companies including Brocade, Cisco Systems, IBM and Juniper Networks use first-gen Octeon parts today in a wide range of systems including routers, switches, appliances and storage arrays.

The chip will compete with embedded processors from Freescale and a new line of processors from LSI Corp. geared for wireless systems.

- Rick Merritt
EE Times

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