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Multicore DSPs enable code, tool reuse

Posted: 30 Apr 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:DSP? multicore? PCIe? interface?

Freescale Semiconductor has released a family of programmable DSPs that delivers the optimal blend of low cost and high performance for a broad range of applications in the medical, aerospace/defense and test/measurement markets.

Based on Freescale's SC3850 StarCore DSP core, the MSC825x family of scalable DSPs offers more performance and functionality at half the cost of comparable alternative technologies.

The new MSC825x family of multicore DSPs brings the performance of the SC3850 core to additional applications that require high performance, reusable hardware platforms and flexible software architectures.

Freescale's MSC825x family consists of four pin-compatible, fully programmable, single-, dual-, four- and six-core DSPs. Integrated features such as multiple DDR controllers, two Serial RapidIO interfaces and a PCIe interface make designing with the MSC825x devices highly flexible. Pin and peripheral compatibility with Freescale's MSC815x family enables code and tool reuse and allows customers to scale from a single-core device to multicore devices, or to create multiple products based on the same hardware.

"With the introduction of the MSC825x DSP family, we are extending the value of Freescale's high-performance StarCore technology to additional customers in high-growth markets," said Scott Aylor, general manager and director of DSP products for Freescale's Networking and Multimedia Group. "Manufacturers of medical, aerospace/defense and test/measurement equipment can look forward to significant cost savings and outstanding performance from Freescale's newest family of programmable DSPs."

The MSC825x family's processing performance enables additional channels for TETRA base stations, as well as advanced measurement capabilities for wireless communication testers. State-of-the-art, high-bandwidth, low-latency peripheral interfaces permit customers to interconnect multiple DSP processors without the need for Layer 2 switching, reducing customers' system cost. Test/measurement applications enjoy increased throughput and reduced software complexity, and medical applications such as CT scanners gain real-time communication capabilities and more accurate control.

At the high end of the family, the MSC8256 device is based on six SC3850 StarCore DSP cores running at 1GHz on a single die delivering 6GHz of raw DSP performance, or 48 GMACs (Giga Multiply and Accumulate) per second of DSP core performance. This is a 2x increase in performance in comparison to the nearest competing solution. Comprehensive memory support includes two 64bit DDR3 running at 800MHz to enable fast system throughput for multicore DSPs. A rich peripheral set includes 2x Serial RapidIO (four-lane) and PCIe x4 interfaces, allowing fast communication between FPGA and DSP to DSP.

Freescale offers a full set of development tools and enablement software for the MSC825x devices. The CodeWarrior integrated development environment leverages Eclipse technology to provide a highly comprehensive multicore development environment for easy programmability. It includes C and C++ optimizing compilers, a source level debugger, core and device simulators, software analysis plug-ins for profiling and program/data trace, and the royalty-free SmartDSP-OS operating system delivered with optimized device drivers. Development boards are available to enable software development, and customers can test their applications today using the MSC8156 and MSC825x application development board or the MSC8156AMC card.

Pricing for the MSC825x DSP family starts at a suggested resale price of $75 in quantities of 1,000. Samples are planned for Q2, and production is planned for Q3.

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