InsideDSP — In-depth analysis and opinion

News from EPF: Heterogeneous DSP Designs

Three new DSP architectures were presented at the Embedded Processor Forum in San Jose last month. All three architectures are heterogeneous, i.e., they each combine a DSP with other performance enhancing hardware. All three architectures also target communications applications. It is already common in communications applications to find boards that combine DSPs, general-purpose processors, reconfigurable logic, and ASICs, albeit with each on a separate chip. As the potential for Read more...

Jeff Bier’s Impulse Response—Hetero-genius Designs for DSP

Business guru Michael Porter once observed that the U.S. railroads failed because they took too narrow a view of their business. They thought their business was just the railroads—in fact it was transportation. DSP processor vendors are now at the crossroads of what could be a similar situation. If they take the narrow view that their business is just DSPs, they might go the way of the U.S. rail system. On the other hand, if they see themselves as DSP applications solution providers— where Read more...

ADI's ADSP-2191: More Bang for the Buck

Analog Devices recently announced the ADSP-2191, the first single-core member of its ADSP-219x family. According to ADI, the '2191 will operate at 160 MHz at 2.5 volts. The 16-bit '2191 targets telecommunications applications with a DMA controller, an 8- or 16- bit host port interface, three synchronous serial ports, two serial peripheral interfaces, and one UART. Along with the chip itself ADI will offer a suite of communications algorithms that are optimized for the '2191. Chips are Read more...

News from ICASSP: New NEC Architecture for 3G

During last month's ICASSP conference in Salt Lake City, NEC unveiled the SPXK5, the company's latest DSP architecture. This low-power DSP targets 3G terminal applications with a dual-MAC VLIW architecture. The SPXK5's key competitors include TI's 'C55xx line, the ST100 from STMicroelectronics, StarCore's SC110, and the Micro Signal Architecture from Analog Devices and Intel. According to NEC, samples will be available by the end of this year, with commercial production scheduled for mid-2002 Read more...

Jeff Bier’s Impulse Response—And Then There Were None

Tasking, one of the last independent providers of DSP software development tools, announced last month that it has been acquired. Over the past few years many of Tasking's competitors have also been acquired—several by major DSP processor vendors; Texas Instruments, Motorola, and Analog Devices have each acquired development tool specialists. Such acquisitions highlight how important tools have become to DSP system developers. In the early days of embedded DSP software, programs were Read more...

Texas Instruments Announces the First ‘C64xx Family Members

Texas Instruments recently announced its first three products based on the 'C64xx DSP core: the TMS320C6414, TMS320C6415, and TMS320C6416. All three devices are scheduled to begin sampling in June 2001, about a year and a half after TI originally announced the core. The target speed for initial samples remains an aggressive 600 MHz, but 400 and 500 MHz versions of each device will also be available. Prices for the 400 MHz 'C6414 begin at $95, with prices for the 'C6415 and 'C6416 scaling Read more...

Conexant Licenses LSI Logic's ZSP Core for Wireless Mobile Applications

On March 16 LSI Logic announced that it will license its ZSP core to Conexant for use in wireless mobile applications. Following on the heels of Broadcom and IBM, Conexant's deal with LSI Logic is a strong endorsement of the ZSP's potential as a licensable core—a potential that has not always been clear. In 1998 ZSP Corporation, the original developers of the core, demonstrated silicon at a then-impressive 200 MHz, but the architecture was unable to get traction in the market. BDTI analyzed Read more...

Jeff Bier’s Impulse Response—Caveat Emptor

In the ancient Near East the number 40 was a literary device symbolizing "an impressively large number," not a precise quantity. "It rained for 40 days and 40 nights," "they wandered in the desert for 40 years,"—the examples are countless. In the modern world of DSP processors, the term "10X" has taken on a similar function. Vendor claims that a processor is, e.g., "10X faster than existing DSPs," often don't mean that the processor is really 10 times faster—only that it is "much faster." Read more...