The power of communication
Two new digital signal processor (DSP) cores from Texas Instruments (Houston, TX) are designed for consumer and broadband communications infrastructure applications, from digital voice and data to audio and video. The TMS320C64x is built for power, with speeds up to 1.1 GHz and performance near 9,000 MIPS-10 times the performance of its predecessor, the TMS320C62x. The C64x is aimed at broadband communication as well as precision imaging for medical and security networking applications, says Henry J. Weichman, C6000 strategic marketing manager. The other new DSP is the TMS320C55x, which is built for efficiency, running at a power consumption of just 0.05 mW per MIPS with speeds up to 400 MHz-six times lower power than its predecessor, the TMS320C54x. The C55x will offer longer battery life for applications in miniaturized portable products like cell phones with mobile Internet use, Internet audio players, digital cameras, and hearing aids. It saves energy by shutting down any part not being used for a particular calculation, says Mark Mattson, C5000 product marketing manager.
ZiLOG®(Campbell, CA) offers the new Z80S183 and Z80S188, with the promise that these 8-bit processors can address up to 1 Mbyte of memory-far higher than the 8-bit standard of 64K-so they can compare in performance to 16-bit microprocessors. The Z80S183 includes an eight-channel 10-bit A/D, a 10-bit D/A converter, and an eight-channel complex waveform generator (POG). It is ideal for applications in electronic banking, gaming, gas meters, industrial control, motor controls, musical instruments, oscilloscopes, and remote switches, ZiLOG says. And the Z80S188 provides 8 Mbyte addressing capability, along with 4 KB of ROM and 1 KB of RAM. It is designed for applications from security and instrumentation to secure processing.
Fast as a
A new 8-bit microprocessor from Rabbit Semiconductor (Davis, CA) boasts computation speeds in floating-point calculations that make it competitive with some more expensive 16- and 32-bit processors, the company says. The Rabbit 2000's design team created this speed by evolving the architecture of the Z180, developed by Hitachi and bought by Zilog nearly 30 years ago, says Pedram Abolghasem, a Rabbit hardware design engineer. "We realized the Z180 was deficient in certain areas, like number crunching and C-language ability," Abolghasem says. "So when we were designing the Rabbit, we looked at legacy instructions and eliminated them." By dropping some rarely used instruction sets, the designers freed 18 single-byte op codes, which are short and fast. The result was a fast-multiply operation that took 12 clock cycles instead of 20. And where the Z180 took 3 clock cycles to fetch eight bits of data from memory, and 4 clock cycles to write it to memory, the Rabbit 2000 takes 2 and 3 clock cycles for these jobs. Currently used in industrial control applications, the Rabbit 2000 ships with new peripherals (like extra serial ports) and a C compiler.
A shot of
For systems demanding high reliability and low cost, space and power consumption, Motorola has introduced the "Kahlua" MPC8240 Integrated PowerPC Processor. It uses a 32-bit, superscalar PowerPC 603e processor core, providing floating point support, memory management, 16-Kbyte instruction and data caches, and power management features. Kahlua is highly integrated, reducing chip count from five discrete chips to one, thus reducing component cost. It is targeted at systems using PCI interfaces in networking infrastructure and telecommunications, as well as control processing in applications such as routers, switches, network storage applications, and image display systems.
tops for speedy chips
IBM is using new materials technology in its top-shelf, 64-bit POWER3-II microprocessor. Instead of aluminum, it uses copper to link transistors in the chip, increasing performance while it decreases the size and power consumption, thanks to copper's great conductive properties. In one test, the copper processor helped to speed up a computational fluid dynamic (CFD) model of the aerodynamic properties of car designs by 90 %. In the test, the Analysis and Design Application Co. Ltd. (ADAPCO, Melville, NY) ran its STAR-CD analysis software on a POWER3-II server. The results were much faster than the previous UNIX-based IBM workstation. IBM plans to use the copper chips in its RS/6000.
After four years of top-secret development, Transmeta (Santa Clara, CA) has finally released a product. The company's owners include Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, financier George Soros, and Linux operating system creator Linus Torvalds, but until now the group has produced more rumors than chips. Now comes Crusoe. Designed for mobile Internet computing, the Crusoe processor family includes the x86-compatible TM5400 and TM3120, billed as "hardware-software hybrids that replace millions of power-hungry transistors with software." The TM5400 is designed for high performance, up to 700 MHz, and uses LongRun power management, to get the most out of ultra-light mobile PCs running Microsoft Windows and NT operating systems. Applications may include office applications, multimedia games, and DVD movies. The TM3120, which operates at up to 400 MHz, is designed for economical Web pads and mobile clients, including the Mobile Linux operating system. Both use the PhoenixBIOS™from Phoenix Technologies Ltd. (San Jose, CA) in their reference designs.