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Applied Micro unveils single-core PacketPro processor

Posted: 09 Jun 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:single-core? PC-based? processor?

Applied Micro Circuits Corp. recently revealed that its dual core Power PC-based Diamondback PacketPro processor now has a single-core version.

The Keelback device also uses an ARM core in the SLIMpro subsystem, the first time the company has claimed it has used an ARM core, although it now confirms that the first of the PacketPro family, the Mamba device launched last year, was actually its first product featuring SLIMpro with the ARM processor.

The Keelback APM86791 PacketPro Gen2 embedded processor is aimed at growing network transport, enterprise and consumer markets providing network security protection against intrusion threats, system hacking and theft of system-level intellectual property.

The Diamondback was launched in March and will be available in volume next month. Keelback has two PCIe Gen 2 and two USB 2.0 peripherals while Diamondback has three of each, although the number of SATAs has been increased from one to 2. The clock frequency is 600MHz to 1000GHz for both families.

The Keelback APM86791 has a single-core, 1.0GHz PowerPC 465 processor with floating point unit, 32KB L1 I-cache, 32KB D-cache and 256KB L2 cache with hardware I/O coherency and DDR3 memory controller with optional ECC.


The APM86791 has the SLIMpro Trusted Management Module (TMM) that provides multilayered encryption and authentication capabilities that manufacturers and network administrators need to make systems impervious to the most sophisticated attacks on security keys, proprietary software code and hardware. Majid Bemanian, senior director of marketing for AppliedMicro, said, "AppliedMicro offers a customizable approach with its TMM as a tamper-proof hardware platform that is impervious to software and hardware attacks, providing developers with the most advanced security for embedded systems."

Secure green zone

The TMM resides in a secure on-chip cryptographic boundary region designed to replace multichip solutions which can be vulnerable to attack. Applied Micro says the TMM makes keys, passwords and digital certifications invisible to hackers.

The TMM also enables secure boot to decrypt and authenticate software during reboot, secure communication to enable connectivity with a remote host using secure communications, secure software updates to decrypt and authenticate new software images, and secure software checks to detect violations and breaches with periodic exams.

The SLIMpro TMM used in the PacketPro Gen 2 family is designed to provide a tamper-proof hardware platform. The Keelback APM86791 uses dedicated secure boot ROM, EFUSE array, encryption engine, RTC, Public Key Accelerator and True Random Number Generator (TRNG) to enable the TMM features. These drivers are necessary to support the growing premium placed on digital rights management through storage security and virtual private network (VPN) applications as networks converge and data traffic becomes more pervasive in the cloud.

The TMM enables enhanced security features through inline Internet Protocol Security (IPSec) for protecting network traffic between hosts, lookaside security for line rate performance at minimal CPU and system overhead utilization, an on-chip protected cryptographic boundary for private/public storage for authentication handshaking, and a crypto engine for quality of service and protected data integrity. The inline IPSec supports Advanced Encryption Standards (AES) AES-GCM and AES-GMAC along with Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP) encryption and authentication at wirespeed performance. Lookaside security includes an integrated DMA engine as well as a true random number generator and a Public Key Accelerator.

Other features available through SLIMpro include intelligent power management, asymmetric multiprocessing, queue and traffic management, and offload acceleration features. The APM86791 has four 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports (RGMII & SGMII), two PCIe Gen1/2 ports, two USB 2.0 hosts with integrated PHY/Serdes and one SATA 2.0 port.

Samples of the APM86791 are expected in the third quarter with volume production to commence in the first quarter of 2012. Other members of the Packetpro family come in 27 x 27 HFC-PBGA packages. But for the Keelback, Applied Micro has been able to move to a smaller 19x19 WB-PBGA package and produce the device using the 40nm TSMC CMOS process.

- Colin Holland
??EE Times

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