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Processor family cuts operating power

Posted: 14 Dec 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:processors? SoC? dual core? embedded?

Applied Micro Circuits Corp. introduces the first members of its PacketPro SoC family. The Mamba single and dual-core embedded processing devices offer the choice of one or two 1.5GHz PowerPC 465 cores. They are optimized for multifunction printers, enterprise control planes, consumer network-attached storage systems, wireless access points and industrial applications, claiming to offer the industry's most advanced capabilities in power management, security and concurrency.

The SoCs are enabled by AppliedMicro's Scalable Lightweight Intelligent Management Processor (SLIMpro), which provides power management, true Asymmetric Multi-Processing (AMP), inline packet processing, look aside hardware offloads, tamper detection and response circuitry for applications demanding low-power operation, end-to-end security and RTOS concurrency.

The power management features of the Mamba devices let developers reduce operating power based on usage models and specific application needs to meet Energy Star compliance, POE standards, and other low-power design requirements. SLIMpro manages multiple power islands on the SoC and regulates peripherals with Wake on LAN, Wake on USB2.0, Wake on general purpose I/O and Wake on RTC. The devices can also scale down the frequency of one or both cores into "doze," "nap," "sleep" and "deep sleep" states. In "sleep" state, device operating power can be reduced to less than 1W and "deep sleep" state can cut power to as little as 200mW.

"Over the next five years, many embedded applications will switch from single-core to dual-core processors to achieve greater performance within existing power budgets," said Linley Gwennap, principal analyst for The Linley Group. "To satisfy this ongoing transition, AppliedMicro enters the market with its PacketPro family of single and dual-core devices with the first PowerPC processors manufactured in TSMC's 40nm low-power process. The power-management features of PacketPro offer the flexibility and control of SoC power consumption which designers require in order to raise their systems' energy efficiency."

Concurrency
The Mamba devices offer the ability to provide true asymmetric multiprocessing where partitions are created on each processing core to run multiple OS independently. Each partition has its own on-chip resources for I/O, memory and processing bandwidth and is protected from interference from other partitions. If a partition crashes, recovering reboot starts while other partitions continue to operate normally. The concurrency features of Mamba also offer failover and redundancy within a system by leveraging active and standby modes of operation.

The Secure Boot feature of Mamba is fenced off by a cryptographic boundary, allowing manufacturers to store critical security parameters on the SoC to authorize access to a boot loader, associated OS and applications. This feature, managed by the SLIMpro Trusted Management Module, protects the runtime code from being copied and offers OEMs protection against intellectual property theft and system cloning.

AppliedMicro's PacketPro acceleration hardware offloads packet processing functions from the main processor cores to improve system performance. The Mamba devices also support network classification, full security processing, traffic shaping, multi-hop queue management and up to 4Gbit/s of offload traffic with minimal intervention of the CPUs.

AppliedMicro's Mamba APM86190 single-core devices and APM86290 dual-core processors feature up to two 1.5GHz PowerPC 465 processing cores with floating point units, 32KB I- and 32KB D-cache, 256KB L2 cache per processor, hardware cache coherency, 1,600Mbit/s DDR3 memory controller with optional ECC. High-speed interfaces consist of two GE ports with classification and TCP/IP offload, one x4 PCIe Gen2, two x1 PCIe Gen 2 ports, two USB 2.0 hosts with integrated PHYs, one USB 2.0 OTG with integrated PHY and two SATA 2.0 ports.

AppliedMicro eases migration to next-generation embedded SoCs by offering developers a wide selection of resources. The company's Serengeti evaluation platform incorporates a dual core APM86290 running up to 1.5GHz and exposes all interfaces available on the SoC. Additionally, the PacketPro family, including all Mamba devices, is supported by an ecosystem of third-party suppliers such as Wind River, VxWorks, Free BSD, Enea, NetBSD and others.

Sample quantities of AppliedMicro's Mamba APM86190 single-core and APM86290 dual-core SoCs are available now and production quantities are expected in Q2 2011.

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