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Chip shopping? Try an OMAP
So you're picking a processor. Do you need the real-time performance of a DSP, or the interface efficiency of a RISC chip?
Texas Instruments (Houston, TX) thinks you can have the best of both worlds, and they're launching the OMAP5910 to prove it. The dual-core, embedded processor includes both a DSP (digital signal processor) and a RISC (reduced instruction set computer) onboard.
Until now, a RISC processor commanded to do both control tasks and number-crunching would have poor performance in each. Typically, a DSP is best for number-crunching like real time signal processing, and a RISC is best for command and control, or human-control interface. Try to run the wrong job on either chip, and both performance and power efficiency suffer. Your only other option was to link them, which demands dedicated memory channels or buses.
TI had offered OMAPs previously for high-end vertical applications only, such as 2.5 and 3G handsets from Ericsson, Nokia, Sendo, and Sony. But the new 5910 is designed to satisfy 90% of a much larger market, without incurring the cost of designing a custom ASIC. It's aimed at designers of next-generation apps like digital media, biometrics, location-based services, enhanced gaming, and telematics. (The origin of the acronym is "open multimedia application platform," though the full name is no longer used.)
Now a developer can work in his own API, then partition certain tasks between the DSP and ARM sides of the processor, says Greg Mar, worldwide marketing manager. Larger companies often employ system partitioners, and smaller firms can hire TI to do it for them. "Developers said 'Give us the integration; don't make us do it'," Mar says. " 'Don't say ARM or DSP is better. Give me the best solution for each task, so my IP can shine with the fewest changes'."
Pilot applications include Phat Noise, which provides digital media storage for your car. Samples are available Aug. 5, with volume production expected by Q1, 2003. Check www.omap.com for more details. Texas Instruments, www.ti.com. Enter 599
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Data sharing access
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