As digital signal processors (DSPs) continue to gain favor among design engineers, a new breed of high-performance DSP devices is emerging. These high-performance devices typically distinguish themselves from other DSPs through the use of such features as larger on-chip memory, co-processors, and Gigabit Ethernet. Demand for such devices has recently risen, especially as high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) phones have begun creeping into the telecom market. The HSDPA phones, which allow users to download streaming video and TV shows, need high-performance DSPs because of its number-crunching ability and its ability to dissipate less heat than traditional microprocessors. “In the smart phone market, we’re seeing a big trend toward people who want this type of capability,” says Danny Petkevich, DSP platform marketing manager for Texas Instruments. In addition to high-end telecom, the high-performance DSPs are also considered a good fit for wireless infrastructure, video and imaging devices. “There are designers who don’t need all the memory and interfaces of a high-performance DSP and would prefer to have lower speed and lower cost,” Petkevich says. “But for a certain class of applications, high performance makes sense.”
TI’s Big-Bandwidth DSP
Texas Instruments’ new 1-GHz C6454 DSP provides twice the memory and I/O bandwidth as predecessors, as well as advanced specialization features. It achieves twice the number of 16-bit MMACs (million multiply accumulate cycles per second) and four times the EDMA (Enhanced Direct Memory Access) throughput of earlier devices. Incorporating 1 MByte of memory and Gigabit Ethernet the C6454 can be applied to machine vision, medical imaging and digital video products. Read more about the C6454 DSP at http://focus.ti.com/docs/prod/folders/print/tms320c6454.html?
Freescale’s 4-GHz Performer
Freescale’s MSC8144 is targeted at wireline and wireless applications, ranging from enterprise VoIP media gateways and video conferencing servers to wireless voice transcoding and 3G cards. The MSC8144 combines four StarCore DSP cores at up to 1 GHz each, and reportedly delivers one of the industry’s highest Gigahertz performance levels, equivalent to 4-GHz single-core DSP. Read a product summary of the MSC8144 at http://www.freescale.com/webapp/sps/site/prod_summary.jsp?
TI’s Baseband Booster
Texas Instruments’ TCI6487 is a 3-GHz performing wireless infrastructure baseband product that aims to boost GSM-based base stations, while addressing new markets WiMAX and TD-SCDMA. With three cores running at 1 GHz each, the TCI6487 reportedly enables base station manufacturers to extend their existing designs, while also entering into new, small form factor applications. Read more about the TCI6487 at http://www.ti.com/corp/docs/landing/tci6487/flash.html.