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 higher by 10% each. The price of 400 MHz chips is comparable to another ultra high-performance DSP, Motorola's $96 SC140-based 300 MHz MSC8101, which provides similar performance. At speeds greater than 400 MHz, however, the 'C64xx chips begin to gain an edge on the '8101, and users of 'C62xx chips have 'C64xx-compatability as a powerful incentive to stay with the 'C6xxx family. Lucent's StarPro2000, containing three 300 MHz SC140 cores and scheduled for production later this year, will ensure that the competitive landscape for 'C64xx chips remains heated.
The 'C6414 targets general-purpose DSP applications with peripherals that include an enhanced 64-channel DMA controller, two external memory interfaces (16-bit and 64-bit), three multi-channel buffered serial ports, and a 32-bit host port interface. The 'C6415 is focused on media applications, supplementing the 'C6414 with a PCI bus and an optional Utopia 2 ATM interface. The 'C6416 tackles 3G wireless infrastructure applications, adding a Turbo coprocessor with programmable parameters and a Viterbi coprocessor to the complement of peripherals on the 'C6415.
Like some of their 'C62xx predecessors, the first three 'C64xx chips will feature a two-level cache made up of two 16K level-one (L1) caches (one for data and one for memory) and a single, unified 1M level-two (L2) cache. The size of the L2 cache is more than seven times larger than TI initially announced, and several other features have also been enhanced; e.g., the 64-channel DMA controller has twice as many channels as TI originally planned. Speed, however, is not among these enhancements: 1.1 GHz chips—which accounted for much of the hype surrounding the announcement of 'C64xx products—are not expected until sometime in 2002.