Scratching the surface: The 2010 DSP Directory
Robert Cravotta, Technical Editor - April 22, 2010
|Third-party software-development-tool providers|
|Where did they go?|
This directory aims to provide designers and system architects enough visibility to dig into the processor options and quickly narrow the list of candidate processors for their project. This year's update of the DSP Directory covers the company summaries similar to the summaries in previous editions, but it does not include updates to the product detail pages and device tables that have become part of this directory over the past few years. You can still visit earlier editions of the directory, where you can still find the extended information. The directory lists the companies selling software-programmable processors, cores, and software-development resources, providing an overview of each and identifying the latest developments over the previous year at each company.
This directory lists companies that have experienced changes, such as dropping from the directory, with a "Where did they go?" sidebar to help you find companies that EDN no longer lists, whether because they closed their doors, changed their focus, were acquired, or were spun off. As always, the Web site duplicates and expands upon the material you find in the print version.
If this directory helps you find or choose a device or core, please let the vendor know how you found its part. Help us continue to improve it by visiting the directory or by sending your comments and feedback to email@example.com.
Actel offers single-chip, nonvolatile-FPGA technologies along with signal-processing capabilities, such as filtering and domain conversion. The company's DirectCore system-level IP (intellectual-property) blocks target use with its FPGAs, such as the RTAX-S and ProASIC3 device families. When you implement the flexible IP cores in Actel's flash- and antifuse-based FPGAs, they are immune to firm errors and tolerant of radiation. The company's devices support live-at-power-up capability, which allows them to target military, communication, aerospace, and medical applications that require no power-up delay.
Altera's FPGAs and HardCopy ASICs incorporate features that enable high-performance digital signal processing in a number of systems, including broadcast, communications, medical, military, mobile/wireless, and high-definition video. These features include embedded memory blocks, multipliers, processors, and high-speed I/Os and external memory interfaces. Altera also offers tools, IP, reference designs, and development kits to facilitate the development of DSP solutions. Using the company's DSP Builder tool, designers can go from system definition/simulation using the Simulink environment from The MathWorks to system implementation. The latest version of DSP Builder features the advanced blockset capability which allows timing-driven Simulink synthesis. Altera also provides a portfolio of IP MegaCore functions to design and build DSP datapaths with its FPGAs.*
Analog Devices' Blackfin, SHARC, SigmaDSP, TigerSHARC, and ADSP-21xx processors and analog microcontrollers make up the company's embedded-processing and DSP portfolio, supporting high-speed, multi-DSP signal-processing, converged signal- and control-processing, fixed-function-processing, and microcontroller applications. Development tools for all of the company's processors include the VisualDSP++ integrated development and debugging environment, EZ-Kit Lite evaluation kits, EZ-Boards evaluation boards, and EZ-Extender daughtercards and emulators, as well as tools from SigmaStudio, and µClinux.
The Blackfin processor family combines a 32-bit RISC-like instruction set with 16-bit dual MAC (multiply/accumulate) units and targets convergent applications with audio-, video-, and data-processing requirements. The 32-bit floating/fixed-point SHARC processor family targets applications ranging from consumer, automotive, and professional audio to industrial, test-and-measurement, and medical equipment. Analog Devices' SigmaDSP audio processors provide a single-chip audio system with a 28/56-bit audio DSP, ADCs, DACs, and microcontroller-like control interfaces. Signal-processing elements include equalization, crossover, bass enhancement, multiband dynamics processing, delay compensation, speaker compensation, and stereo-image widening, which you can use to compensate for the real-world limitations of speakers, amplifiers, and listening environments.
The TigerSHARC processor family offers high floating-point- and fixed-point-performance with glueless multiprocessor scalability to target wireless-communications-infrastructure, medical-imaging, industrial-imaging, and military applications. Analog Devices' ADuC7xxx ARM7TDMI family integrates 12-, 16-, and 24-bit ADCs; 12-bit DACs with flash; SRAM; and digital peripherals for industrial, instrumentation, medical, communications, and automotive applications. The ADuC8xx series integrates true 12- to 24-bit analog precision, in-circuit reprogrammable flash/electrically erasable memory, and an on-chip 8052 core. ADSP-21xx processors are code- and pin-compatible DSPs that operate as fast as 160 MHz and consume as little as 184 µA of power. The ADSP-21xx family is ideal for speech processing and voice-band modems, as well as real-time-control applications.
ARM licenses semiconductor IP (intellectual property), including processors, peripherals, interconnect, and physical libraries for the development of complex SOC (system-on-chip) devices. ARM processors target automotive, consumer-entertainment, imaging, networking, storage, security, and wireless applications, and ARM bases them on a common architecture that emphasizes performance, low power consumption, and reduced system cost. The company offers a range of processor cores, including the ARM7, ARM9, ARM10, and ARM11, as well as the Cortex family of processors featuring Thumb-2 technology and the SecurCore processor family. ARM's DSP-enhanced cores support products that require a mixture of DSP and control functions on a single core. ARM Neon technology provides powerful, flexible acceleration for media and DSP applications; ARM OptimoDE (data-engine) technology targets power-efficient, deeply embedded signal-processing applications; and the ARM9E processor family is well suited for products for microcontroller-DSP and Java applications.
Atmel bases its DSCs (digital-signal controllers) on its proprietary AVR32-UC3 and AVR32-AP7 cores and ARM's ARM926EJ-S core. AVR32- and ARM-based DSCs use the same peripheral set, which includes DMA on all peripherals and Atmel's peripheral DMA controller, multilayer high-speed bus architecture, Ethernet MAC (media-access controller), USB (Universal Serial Bus) host/device, ADC, and serial-communication peripherals, as well as an optional external-bus interface. Atmel's Cap customizable microcontroller, which it based on the ARM processor, provides a large block of digital logic that application developers can customize to include a DSP coprocessor.
The company's Diopsis families of dual-core, VLIW (very-long-instruction-word), floating-point DSPs include its complex-domain, GFLOPS (billions-of-floating-point-operations-per-second) Magic core with ARM7- or ARM9-based microcontrollers. The MagicV DSP tool chain, including an IDE (integrated development environment), a C compiler, a linker, an archiver, and a graphical JTAG debugger, thanks to the C-oriented DSP architecture, fully exploits the parallelism of the processor resources. Moreover, a library of 200 C-callable DSP routines, implementing optimized DSP algorithms, including FFTs (fast Fourier transforms), filters, and matrix computations, is available.
Atmel Roma is an Atmel design center, whose mission is to develop the Diopsis family of audio-oriented SOCs (systems on chips) and the Magic DSP engine inside them. Atmel Roma also develops software tools and Diopsis-based reference designs.
AustriaMicrosystems bases its high-performance analog ICs on more than 25 years of analog design and system know-how with its own state-of-the-art manufacturing and test facilities. The company offers customized and standard analog products focusing on power management, sensors and sensor interfaces, and portable audio. The flexible, fully integrated AS3525 audio-processor system employs a 200-MIPS ARM9TDMI core; it can perform MP3 (Moving Picture Experts Group Layer 3), AAC (advanced audio coding), AAC+, WMA (Windows media audio), and Ogg, and it can support extensive user interfaces, motion graphics, and video playback. Large on-chip RAM leads to power consumption of 58 mW for a complete flash-based MP3 player.
Cambridge Consultants' expertise covers semiconductors, wireless communications, radar systems, advanced sensors, and control systems in automotive electronics, medical devices, and consumer goods. The company's IC-design capabilities include high-precision analog mixed-signal and RF products.
The company's portfolio of IP (intellectual property) and development tools includes an extensive library of analog, digital, mixed-signal, and wireless IP cores together with embedded software-development and debugging tools, protocol stacks, and design platforms for ASICs and FPGAs. Designers can tailor the portable, flexible IP cores to their specifications with flexible licensing contracts that can be royalty-free. Cambridge Consultants' silicon-IP offering includes 16- and 32-bit XAP processor cores and the APE2 configurable-datapath DSP.
Ceva licenses a family of synthesizable, programmable DSP cores, DSP-based subsystems, and application-specific platforms, including video, multimedia, HD (high-definition) audio, VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol), Bluetooth, and SATA (serial advanced technology attachment). In 2009, Ceva introduced the Ceva-XC communication processor, a configurable DSP for 3.5G/4G (fourth-generation) mobile handsets and wireless infrastructure. The low-power, high-performance approach addresses the evolving needs of implementing LTE (long-term evolution)/4G, WiMax (worldwide-interoperability-for-microwave-access), and SDR (software-defined-radio)-based wireless-communications applications.
In early 2010, Ceva introduced the MM-3000, a multipurpose, programmable HD (high-definition) video- and image-processing platform for connected multimedia devices. The fully software-programmable, low-power platform uses scalable, configurable multicore architecture to support advanced video codecs and image-signal processing for portable multimedia and home-entertainment devices.
The Ceva-X and Ceva Teak DSP architectures form the foundation for a range of IP (intellectual-property) cores from Ceva that support features for advanced signal-processing requirements. Ceva hardware- and software-development tools support all of Ceva's DSP cores and system platforms, as do Cevanet-technology partners, which provide application software, RTOS implementations, simulation tools, and EDA tools.
Chipwrights is a fabless semiconductor company that offers DSPs and SOCs (systems on chips) for audio-, video-, and image-processing applications. The Chipwrights processor family combines a 32-bit, RISC-like serial application processor with an array of 32-bit MAC (multiply/accumulate), ALU (arithmetic-logic-unit), and shift parallel processors. The products' parallel, scalable architecture enables them to process more data than conventional single- or dual-core devices with fewer cycles and lower power consumption.
The company offers turnkey options for IPTV (Internet Protocol television) and IP cameras, including an evaluation board; system software; the Linux 2.6 operating system; the Eclipse IDE (integrated development environment); the FFMPEG (Motion Picture Experts Group); QT library; a Web-kit-based browser; and a comprehensive audio, video, and image library, including MPEG, JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group), REAL (remote electronics access for libraries), Win Media, dewarping, image filters, and color filters. Use the IPTV turnkey product to develop video-decoding applications, such as IP-Card for TV, PMPs (portable media players), navigation, and PDAs (personal digital assistants). The IP-Camera turnkey product is useful for developing any camera application, such as CCTV (closed-circuit-TV), Web, and conference-room cameras. In addition to turnkey products, the company offers a media-development kit for developing any audio/video application.
Cirrus Logic develops high-precision analog- and mixed-signal ICs for the consumer and energy markets. Cirrus Logic DSPs target audio applications and feature an extensive library of audio-processing algorithms for feature differentiation.
CoreWorks sells licensable silicon IP (intellectual property). SideWorks, a DSP technology targeting cost- and power-sensitive applications, such as multimedia and communications, enables the creation of DSP cores that are both configurable before fabrication and reconfigurable. The movement of data and some aspects of the execution unit's functions are programmable at runtime. SideWorks does not run as a stand-alone processor; it instead couples with a general-purpose host processor that manages program flow and data input/output. Therefore, CoreWorks also supplies FireWorks, a compact, 32-bit RISC CPU core. CoreWorks' initial business model is to license fully preconfigured standard IP modules employing the SideWorks architecture or creating SideWorks instances for customer-specific needs. A SideWorks mixed-radix FFT (fast-Fourier-transform) module is currently available, and modules targeting digital audio, including Dolby digital and AAC (advanced audio coding), are under development.
Evatronix SA develops electronic virtual components comprising IP (intellectual-property) cores, along with complementary software and supporting development environments. The company also provides electronic-design services. Product lines cover a range of products, from interface controllers and microprocessors to integrated SOC (system-on-chip)-development platforms. Evatronix offers the 16-bit C32025 family of programmable DSP cores that targets industrial, home, and consumer applications.
Freescale Semiconductor designs and manufactures embedded semiconductors for the automotive, consumer, industrial, and networking markets. Freescale offers programmable DSPs based on StarCore technology that target advanced communications and networking-infrastructure equipment. The company also offers advanced 16-bit DSCs (digital-signal controllers) that find use in factory automation; building and lighting control; and a range of motor-control applications, such as large appliances.
Freescale's flagship six-core MSC8156 DSP employs SC3850 StarCore DSP technology to advance the capabilities of wireless-broadband base-station equipment. The MSC8156 has been qualified on advanced 45-nm-process technology. Free-scale last year introduced the MSC8154, a four-core version of the MSC8156. In February 2010, the company introduced the MSC8155, which is a higher-performance, cost-optimized version of the MSC8156. The MSC8155 includes next-generation acceleration and interconnect technologies that boost overall chip performance and further enhance the capabilities of broadband wireless-base-station equipment.
Hyperstone's processors provide integrated RISC/DSP functions for applications requiring high-speed microprocessors and high-performance DSPs. These processors feature dual execution units in a pipelined architecture sharing the same registers. The system can mix RISC- and DSP-specific programming transparently to the programmer. RISC and DSP instructions execute with a high degree of parallelism, resulting in high throughput. Typical applications include telephony, VOIP (voice-over-Internet Protocol) telephony, video, digital cameras, and general signal processing.
Hyperstone builds its HyNet series of networking processors around its RISC/DSP core and adds integrated peripherals, including Ethernet, real-time Ethernet, serial, and ATM (asynchronous transfer mode), supporting high-speed communications, additional internal RAM, video interfacing, PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) support, DMA, and more. These processors target applications requiring high-speed signal processing, communications, or both, including real-time Ethernet. HyNet processors are ideal for any application requiring signal processing, along with industrial applications, such as real-time Ethernet and motor control, and wired/wireless communications.
Infineon Technologies offers 8-, 16-, and 32-bit DSC (digital-signal-controller) and microcontroller families with DSP capabilities, targeting motor-control and transportation-power-train applications. In 2010, Infineon introduced the XC82x and XC83x families, adding 16-, 20-, and 24-pin package devices to its XC800 family, which uses a vector-computer coprocessor to enable low-cost, sensorless field-oriented control for less than $1 (1000) using an 8-bit device.
More challenging control schemes will benefit from the newly expanded XE16xN family. This 16-bit family offers a range of flash memories from 128 to 256 kbytes and performance as great as 40 MIPS. As with most XE16x devices, this family offers two independent ADCs, which you can synchronize. High-end servo-drive systems can benefit from the new TC11x7 devices, which offer as many as 48 ADC channels and memory of 1, 2, or 4 Mbytes. These tricore-based devices support a clock speed of 180 MHz and can perform as many as three instructions per clock cycle with a superscalar architecture.
The company has also introduced application kits, which are adaptable to a customer's motor. These kits are scalable from 12 to 230V, and their modular design allows for interchangeability between 8- and 16-bit processors to reach the best cost/performance ratio for specific applications.
Lattice Semiconductor provides FPGAs, CPLDs, and programmable mixed-signal devices for clock and power management. Four of its FPGA families will be of interest to DSP designers. The nonvolatile LatticeXP2 FPGA family combines flash configuration memory, LUT (look-up-table) logic, and embedded memory and DSP blocks. Users can program the embedded DSP blocks to implement functions such as multiply, multiply/accumulate, and multiply/add/subtract. The LatticeXP2 devices provide as many as 40,000 LUTs, as many as 32 18×18-bit multipliers, and 885 kbits of embedded memory.
The low-cost LatticeECP2 and Lattice-ECP2M FPGA devices provide as many as 100,000 LUTs, 168 18×18-bit multipliers, 5.3 Mbits of block memory, embedded DSP blocks, and 16 channels of 3.125-Gbps SERDES (serializer/deserializer).
In February 2009, the company announced the LatticeECP3 FPGA family of low-power-consumption, low-cost SERDES-based FPGA devices. The LatticeECP3 family offers multiprotocol 3.2G SERDES with XAUI (10-Gbps-attachment-unit-interface) jitter compliance, DDR3-memory interfaces, as many as 320 multipliers, high-density on-chip memory, and as many as 149,000 LUTs.
Lattice provides many DSP-based IP (intellectual-property) cores, including DUC (digital upconverter), DDC (digital downconverter), an FFT (fast-Fourier-transform) compiler, a CIC (cascaded-integrator-comb) filter, a FIR (finite-impulse-response)-filter generator, Reed-Solomon encoders and decoders, convolution encoders, Viterbi decoders, and turbo-coding functions. Lattice includes all these IP cores in its Lattice IPexpress tool, which allows users to parameterize and generate IP on their desktops. Lattice also provides a block set for The MathWorks Matlab and Simulink. Lattice includes the IPexpress tool and Simulink block in its ispLever design-tool suite.
Microchip's dsPIC DSC (digital-signal controller), a 16-bit-data modified Harvard RISC machine, combines the control advantages of a high-performance, 16-bit microcontroller with the high computation speed of a fully implemented DSP to produce a tightly coupled, single-chip, single-instruction-stream option for embedded-system design. All of Microchip's 16-bit DSC and microcontroller families share the same core instructions; DSCs add DSP instructions. They also share peripherals and development tools and have compatible pinouts.
During 2009, Microchip introduced the first seven next-generation dsPIC33F GS series DSCs for common, multiloop SMPSs (switch-mode power supplies) and other power-conversion applications. These devices come in DSC packages as small as 6×6 mm for digital-power conversion and provide as much as twice the performance at a significantly lower price than Microchip's first SMPS family. They feature an intelligent power peripheral, which includes interconnected analog comparators, PWMs (pulse-width modulators), and ADCs for digital-power applications; designers can software-configure them to a variety of topologies.
Microchip introduced a series of reference designs employing the dsPIC33F GS DSCs, which demonstrate how digital-power techniques reduce component count, lower product cost, eliminate the need for oversized components, and incorporate topology flexibility. Reference designs included the pure-sine-wave UPS (uninterruptible-power supply), digital interleaved power-factor correction, and ac/dc reference designs.
New DSP-related development tools include Microchip's free, royalty-free high-performance-DSP library, which enables embedded-system designers to combine DSP and microcontroller control code with the 32-bit PIC32 microcontroller family. Microchip released additional tools supporting motor-control applications, including the dsPICDem MCHV (motor control/high voltage), which supports high-voltage, closed-loop motor-control applications using ac-induction motors, BLDC (brushless-dc) motors, or PMSMs (permanent-magnet synchronous motors). The cost-effective dsPICDem MCSM (motor-control/stepper-motor) development board allows the creation of unipolar and bipolar stepper-motor applications.
MIPS Technologies offers a line of processor cores for DTV (digital-television), broadband-access, Wi-Fi (wireless-fidelity), cable-set-top-box, DVD (digital-video-disc)-recorder, HD (high-definition) DVDs, and VOIP (voice-over-Internet Protocol) applications. The fully synthesizable, 32-bit MIPS32 74K cores can achieve operating frequencies greater than 1 GHz in a 65-nm process. The MIPS DSP ASE (application-specific extensions) Revision 2 includes 74 built-in DSP instructions that can eliminate the need for a separate DSP core. Four 64-bit accumulator registers that provide fast local storage boost signal-processing performance. A robust suite of software-development tools, the MIPS DSP library, and a third-party DSP applications network support the 74K core family.
NXP creates semiconductors, systems, and software that target TVs, set-top boxes, identification applications, mobile phones, cars, and other electronic devices. Employing the TriMedia DSP technology, the PNX1005, PNX1002, PNX1700, and PNX1500 media-processor series target use in video and complex audio processing in security and surveillance, including CCTV (closed-circuit-television), videoconferencing, and professional-video applications. NXP has optimized the PNX1005 for h264 video codec, intelligent video analysis, and video enhancement. The company also offers the PNX1002 dedicated audio processor for 16-channel audio acoustic processing. Special versions for the automotive and industrial markets are also available.
The CoolFlux DSP is an ultra-low-power programmable core for portable-audio applications. It targets products including headsets, hearing devices, and portable audio players. This C-friendly audio-DSP core combines low gate count and good performance. NXP uses the CoolFlux DSP for custom-designed chips, and the DSP is part of a global technology-licensing program, resulting in a well-supported DSP platform and ecosystem. The CoolFlux BSP (baseband-signal processor) extends the classic CoolFlux DSP core with complex arithmetic, SIMD (single-instruction/multiple-data) parallelism, and Viterbi and FFT (fast-Fourier-transform) instructions.
Octasic is a global provider of DSP silicon and software products for the converged-carrier, enterprise, and endpoint-communication-equipment markets. The company bases its DSP products on Opus, an asynchronous-DSP architecture. Octasic's Vocallo multicore media-gateway DSP product, the first Octasic product employing the Opus core, represents a new generation of multicore DSPs for media gateways.
On Semiconductor supplies power- and signal-management products. The company's BelaSigna product line of ultra-low-power audio-processing systems targets portable-system applications, such as mobile handsets and accessories, hands-free communication, industrial hearing protection, and ALDs (assistive-listening devices).
Innovations over the past year include the BelaSigna 300, an ultra-low-power, high-fidelity audio processor for portable communication devices, which delivers audio clarity without compromising size or battery life. With 24-bit precision computing, BelaSigna 300 eliminates noise and echo from communications channels and still has resources for additional audio-management features. Its dual-core architecture ensures an evenly balanced workload, optimizing processing efficiency and minimizing power consumption. As a small audio-processing system, the BelaSigna 300 WLCSP package can fit into PCB (printed-circuit-board) layouts with little or no impact on the size of the end product.
PicoChip's family of high-performance multicore DSP processors includes 200 to 300 processors, each a 16-bit Harvard architecture that is programmable with ANSI C, to deliver total performance of 200 GIPS (billion instructions per second) and 30 GMACS (billion multiply/accumulate operations per second). Although these processors are usable for any high-performance-DSP application, the company primarily focuses on the wireless infrastructure. The processor finds use in base stations as common platforms for both WiMax (worldwide-interoperability-for-microwave-access) and LTE (long-term evolution). It also supports baseband for femtocells, small base stations for indoor coverage. The company released several new reference designs, including support for WiMax Wave 2 with MIMO (multiple input/multiple output), a WiMax femtocell, or access point, and a TD-SCDMA (time-division-synchronous-code-division-multiple-access) femtocell.
Pixelworks designs, develops, and markets semiconductors and software for the advanced-display industry, including advanced televisions, multimedia projectors, digital-streaming-media devices, and LCD panels. Pixelworks' line of programmable BSPs (broadband-signal processors) can handle multiple codecs for high-quality IPTV (Internet Protocol television) video and other digital-video applications. The company offers the DreamStream application-reference software for designers using the BSP chips. In addition to the BSP ICs, Pixelworks offers devices ranging from single-purpose, discrete ICs to SOCs (systems on chips) that can process and enhance the video signal throughout the entire path in the system.
The RC (Research Center) Module provides IP (intellectual property) for VLIW/SIMD (very-long-instruction-word/single-instruction/multiple-data) processors with a flexible and high-performance vector-matrix engine. The architecture targets industrial video-image processing, navigation, multimedia, and telecommunications and provides scalable performance by employing a programmable operand width of 1 to 64 bits. This flexibility allows designers to trade precision for performance. The NeuroMatrix DSP family includes NM64xx chips and synthesizable NMC (NeuroMatrix core).
The new NM6405 processor is the third generation of NeuroMatrix DSP family. The architecture employs the 32/64-bit NMC3 with an eight-stage pipeline and an 8-kbyte cache that supports eight read/write memory operations per clock cycle and that an accelerated vector-unit operand loads. RC Module offers SOC (system-on-chip) design service that it bases on RC Module's NMC3 and ARM's ARM1176JZF-S core. Software- and hardware-development tools, as well as real-time signal- and video-image-processing systems, are available.
NEW Renesas Electronics
Renesas Electronics offers devices with built-in FPUs (floating-point units), including the SuperH devices in the SH-2A and SH-4A series of high-performance, 32-bit RISC processors. By combining both DSP and FPU capabilities into a single RISC CPU core, they save power and overall system cost.
Recent introductions in the SH-2A series include the SH7216, SH7262, and SH7264, which offer single- and double-precision FPUs. The SH7216 offers as much as 1 Mbyte of embedded flash and connectivity peripherals, such as Ethernet, USB (Universal Serial Bus), and CAN (controller-area network). The SH7262 and SH7264 offer as much as 1 Mbyte of on-chip SRAM for digital-audio systems and graphics-display applications. The new SH-4AL-DSP-based SH7366 processor provides multimedia support, including a VPU (video-processing unit) and USB. For portable multimedia systems, the 400-MHz SH7723 delivers 2.8 GFLOPS (billion floating-point operations per second) and supports a video-processing function, a 2-D graphics accelerator, and USB. A new audio-video-player-media reference platform employs Renesas' SH7264 microcontroller and Express Logic's ThreadX RTOS.
The 90-nm-based SH74504 and SH-74513 devices provide the performance and memory to target advanced driver-assistance safety systems. The 600-MHz SH77650 SOC (system on chip) targets use in vehicle image-recognition-processing applications, and the SH77721 SOC suits low-range to midrange car-navigation systems. With 1920-MIPS performance at 533 MHz, the dual-core SH7786 processor also incorporates a fast DDR3-SDRAM interface for data transfers as fast as 4.27 Gbytes/sec, making it suitable for multimedia systems and next-generation car-navigation systems.
RFEL (RF Engines Ltd) provides high-specification DSP products for FPGAs and digital receivers and products for the defense, government-services, communications, and instrumentation markets. Applications include communications base stations, satellite-communications systems, test-and-measurement instrumentation, and custom wideband receivers and transceivers. RFEL's cores and SOC (system-on-chip) designs primarily target Xilinx and Altera FPGAs.
RFEL's FPGA designs are available as firmware, COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) implementations, custom hardware, or finished products. At the high end of this specialist DSP area, standard EDA tools cannot provide designs that meet the main parameters of performance, power consumption, and speed. The standard range of cores includes the HyperSpeed cores for applications requiring as much as 6.4G-sample/sec performance. The HyperLength cores provide transforms with as many as 1 million points, typically running at complex sample rates as great as 200M samples/sec on Xilinx devices. The Matrix range includes different-length DFT (discrete-Fourier-transform) cores that you can combine to configure FFTs (fast Fourier transforms) to match the number of points an application requires.
You can use ChannelCore64 for extracting as many as 64 narrowband channels from one or two wideband ADC inputs. RFEL bases the core on a novel channelization architecture that provides the flexibility you traditionally associate with DDC (digital-downconverter) cores and ASIC devices with greater silicon efficiency. The main features are 64 independent downconversion channels, support for two 16-bit ADC inputs reaching 220M samples/sec, alias-free channel bandwidths as wide as 687.5 kHz, independent tuning of channels' center frequencies with a resolution of less than 0.01 Hz, and a fractional resampler for setting output sample rates with a resolution of less than 0.01 Hz. You can reconfigure channels without affecting the operation of other channels. The core supports an end-to-end dynamic range of more than 80 dB as well as gain control.
Other techniques include the PFT (pipelined-frequency transform), which is relevant for real-time multichannel-filter-bank applications. You can also apply the polyphase DFT or WOLA (weighted overlap and add) when applications require a uniformly distributed multichannel-filter bank.
Sensory's RSC family of devices performs recognition, speech synthesis, and general-purpose product control. The RSC line supports speaker-independent recognition, speaker-dependent recognition, speaker verification for voice biometric security, 2400-bps speech compression for speech playback, and music synthesis. The RSC-4x family provides on-chip integration of features, including a microphone preamplifier, twin DMA units, a vector accelerator, and a hardware multiplier, all of which allow a designer to build a system with little more than a battery, a speaker, a microphone, and a few resistors and capacitors. Multiple ROM options are available. Sensory's SC-6x series of DSPs offers multiple options for introducing speech- and music-synthesis abilities into consumer products. Members of the SC-6x line can store as much as 37 minutes of speech on-chip and include as many as 64 I/O pins for external interfacing.
Silicon Hive, a supplier of semiconductor IP (intellectual property), designs, builds, and licenses application-specific products for communications and media processing, tuned processor cores, and program-development tools with application libraries. Silicon Hive processor cores target the requirements of application domains and are high-level-programmable from ANSI C.
The company's processor lineup includes the Avispa-CH1, a high-performance C-programmable data processor for communications-signal processing. The Avispa-IM2 is a general-purpose, C-programmable data processor. These two processors are scalable to a high level of operations per cycle, with multiple options for precision, I/O, and memory configurations. The Moustique-IC2 is a C-programmable SIMD (single-instruction/multiple-data) processor targeting image-signal-processing applications with multiple options for SIMD-vector dimension, I/O, and memory configurations. All processors come with a software-development environment, application libraries, and proven SOC (system-on-chip) integration and verification packages.
Sound Design Technologies
Sound Design Technologies provides ultra-low-power DSP products for audio processing, and the company offers 3-D MCM (multichip-module), SIP (system-in-package), and HDI (high-density-interconnect)-substrate technologies. The programmable, multiprocessor Voyageur DSP platform maximizes instructions per microwatt using a reconfigurable architecture and an integrated high-resolution ADC and DAC in miniature packages. The reconfigurable-multicore system comprises hardware accelerators and DSP cores. The system includes five embedded DSP cores, four of which contain dual MAC (multiply/accumulate) units with customized instruction sets for audio processing, including single-cycle logarithmic and exponential functions. Hardware accelerators include FFT (fast-Fourier-transform)/IFFT (inverse-FFT) accelerators, hard-wired FENG (filter-engine) blocks of FIR (finite-impulse-response) and IIR (infinite-impulse-response) filters, and a perfect-reconstruction, programmable time-domain filter bank for subband audio processing.
GUIDE (Gennum Universal Integrated Development Environment), the Voyageur platform-development tool, supports developers' efforts for firmware development, debugging, and testing.
Fabless semiconductor company SPI (Stream Processors Inc) offers parallel-processor options targeting consumer and industrial applications. Its Stream Processor architecture brings computing cost down to ASIC levels and makes the performance benefits of parallel processing easily accessible to programmers. Delivering more than 200 GMACs (billion multiply/accumulate operations), SPI's C-programmable stream processors enable designers to adopt a software-driven model and eliminate dependencies on inflexible ASICs or complex multi-DSP or FPGA implementations.
The company's Storm-1 family supports video- and image-processing in applications such as intelligent video surveillance, high-definition videoconferencing, broadcasting, and multifunction printers. The Storm-1 family comprises the software-compatible products-from the low-cost, low-power SP8LP-G30 suitable as a single-chip IP (Internet Protocol) camera, to the SP16HP-G220, which delivers 448 GOPS (billions of operations per second) of computation performance and targets high-end imaging and multichannel-video applications. The RapiDev tool suite, development kits, libraries, and a network of third-party developers help customers shorten time to market and slash total costs.
The Stream Processor architecture combines data parallelism with a sophisticated C development environment to simplify the programming task. To the programmer, the processor looks like a single core, in which the tools and underlying hardware manage synchronization, on-chip memory, and data movement. The compiler-managed memory hierarchy provides predictable performance, high ALU (arithmetic-logic-unit) use, and efficient bandwidth management.
Fabless semiconductor company Stretch offers a family of software-configurable processors with embedded programmable logic. The processors target video and imaging, security, and industrial applications. System developers can easily program and configure Stretch processors using C/C++ development tools. The S6 architecture offers a second-generation ISEF (instruction-set-extension fabric), a processor array, and a programmable accelerator.
Stretch's reference designs are available for PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) DVR (digital-video-recorder) add-in cards, stand-alone DVR systems, and IP (Internet Protocol) cameras. Supported resolutions range from CIF (Common Intermediate Format) to HD (high-definition) CCTV (closed-circuit television). Reference designs are available as development platforms or as fully featured OEM units. The Stretch IP (intellectual-property) library includes H.264 AVC (advanced-video-coding) and H.264 SVC (scalable-video-coding) codecs, as well as image-enhancement and video-analytics algorithms. A rich application programming interface is common across all Stretch reference designs.
Tensilica offers 32-bit customizable data-plane processors, DSPs, and standard processor cores. The Diamond Standard 108Mini, 212GP, and 232L integrate a 32×32-bit multiplier and 32-bit integer divider. The Diamond Standard 570T includes dual 32×32-bit SIMD (single-instruction/multiple-data) multipliers and a 32-bit integer divider as well as 16-bit DSP instructions. Tensilica offers preconfigured DSPs for audio and video. The 330HiFi audio DSP includes dedicated audio instructions to decrease frequency requirements and supports more than 60 popular audio codecs. The 388VDO video DSP targets standard-definition D1.
In 2009, Tensilica introduced the ConnX DSP brand. The 16-bit, dual-MAC (multiply/accumulator)-unit ConnX D2 uses two-way SIMD instructions with a compiler that runs TI and ITU intrinsics. The ConnX Vectra DSP engine uses 64-bit instruction words with three issue slots for ALU (arithmetic-logic-unit), MAC, and load/store operations. The three-issue, VLIW (very-long-instruction-word) ConnX 545CK DSP has eight-way SIMD units, dual 128-bit load/stores, and a Viterbi convolutional coder accelerator. The ConnX BBE (baseband engine) 16 employs a core vector pipeline comprising 16 18×18-bit MAC units with instructions for FFT (fast-Fourier-transform) butterflies, parallel complex multiple operations and signal-filter structures.
All of the ConnX, audio, and video DSP offerings are options for the Xtensa LX3 configurable processor. Xtensa LX3 can deliver RTL (register-transfer-level)-equivalent I/O through direct interfaces that bypass the local/store operation. Designers can use the Xtensa LX3 processor to design their own custom DSPs.
Designers can mold Tensilica's Xtensa processors to fit the application by selecting and configuring predefined elements of the architecture and by inventing new instructions and hardware-execution units for maximum performance. The generated software-tool chain, including compilers and debuggers, reflects all of the designer's changes.
Tensilica offers a processor-development tool kit, which contains all of the tools necessary to create, analyze, and build high-performance DSPs and application-specific processors. The tool kit uses Tensilica's Eclipse-based Xtensa Xplorer integrated design environment, which serves as the cockpit for the design experience. From Xtensa Xplorer, designers can profile application code, identify hot spots that can benefit from acceleration, and make the changes necessary to speed up that code. Using a check-box menu within the GUI (graphical user interface), designers can configure processors to include needed features and remove features-options for processor interface, memories, operating-system support, EDA scripts, debugging and trace, and more.
Texas Instruments offers a broad portfolio of programmable DSPs. The TMS320C5000 DSP platform offers reduced power consumption and advanced signal processing. The TMS320VC5505 and TMS320VC5504 provide higher integration with low standby and active power for portable medical, biometrics, and audio/voice applications. The TMS320VC5505 eZdsp USB (Universal Serial Bus)-stick development tool offers a full-featured emulator and integrated development platform for only $49.
The TMS320C6000 DSP platform comprises high-performance fixed- and floating-point DSPs. The low-cost, networked TMS320C6743 DSP offers higher system performance, increased on-chip memory, and an integrated MAC (multiply/accumulate) unit for floating-point ease and precision with the efficiency of fixed-point processing. TI also offers the TMS320C6742, TMS320C6746, TM2320C6748, and OMAP (open multimedia-applications processor)-L138 with connectivity options and unique peripherals in a low-cost, low-power format for intelligent occupancy sensors and power-protection systems.
DaVinci video processors include processors, software, tools, and support for developing digital-video applications. The TMS320DM365 processor employs an ARM926EJ-S with an integrated image-signal processor for intelligent video processing and provides multiformat, multirate video with production-qualified H.264, MPEG (Motion Picture Experts Group)-4, MPEG-2, MJPEG (Motion Joint Photographic Experts Group), and VC1 (video codec 1) codecs. It targets use in video-security applications.
TI's ARM Cortex-A8 based OMAP35x processors, including the OMAP3503, OMAP3515, OMAP3525, and OMAP3530, provide laptoplike performance at handheld power levels. The OMAP35x processors target applications such as portable navigation devices, Internet appliances, and portable patient-monitoring devices.
Tilera offers high-performance multicore processors targeting embedded-networking, security, multimedia-processing, and wireless-infrastructure applications. The Tile processor family targets applications requiring intensive packet processing for layers three through seven at 1- to 20-Gbps throughput. Services such as deep-packet inspection, flow monitoring, and intrusion prevention are ideal targets for Tilera's processors. In the multimedia and DSP arena, the Tile processors enable HD (high-definition)-video applications, such as videoconferencing, surveillance, and broadcast head-end equipment, as well as wireless-backhaul and baseband processing.
The Tile64 processor SOC (system on chip) has 64 full-featured processor cores plus system-integration blocks, including four DDR2-memory controllers with ECC (error-correcting code); two 10-Gbps, four-lane PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) interfaces; two XAUI (10-Gbit-attachment-unit-interface) 10-GbE (gigabit-Ethernet) controllers; two 1-Gbit RGMII (reduced-gigabit media-independent-interface) Ethernet controllers; and 64 bits of flexible I/O that can support HD-video input or other high-speed interfaces. The device includes 5 Mbytes of cache, and each processor core can independently run a full operating system, such as Linux. It is available in speeds of 600 to 866 MHz.
Tilera based the Tile64 family on a tiled multicore architecture with a mesh-based on-chip interconnect that delivers as much as 32 Tbps of interconnect bandwidth between the cores and allows scaling the architecture beyond hundreds of cores. In addition to multicore processors, Tilera also offers turnkey PCIe appliance boards and a suite of multicore software-development tools.
Tilera's MDE (multicore development environment) is a complete standards-based multicore-programming option that enables developers to take full advantage of the parallel-processing potential of the Tile processor architecture. It includes a graphical IDE (integrated development environment) with ANSI C and C++ compiler, a multicore-aware debugger and profiler, a hardware simulator, and Tilera's powerful iLib parallel-programming library. Tilera also delivers a standard runtime environment using full SMP (symmetric-multiprocessing) Linux 2.6 and a system hypervisor.
IC-design foundry VeriSilicon provides custom options and SOC (system-on-chip) turnkey services. The company acquired the ZSP division from LSI. VeriSilicon's licensable ZSP digital-signal-processing cores and star-IP (intellectual-property)-based SOC platforms target applications in the voice, wireless communications, and multimedia markets.
NEW Virage Logic
Virage Logic offers semiconductor IP (intellectual property) for the design of complex ICs. The company's product portfolio includes processors, interface IP, embedded SRAMs and nonvolatile memory, embedded test and yield-optimization products, logic libraries, and memory-development software.
Last year, Virage Logic acquired ARC's processors cores that ship in more than 425 million units annually in products such as digital and mobile TVs, portable media players, PCs, laptops, flash storage, digital cameras, and smartphones, as well as in medical and government systems. The ARC configurable 32-bit processors work with Sonic Focus audio-enrichment IP to offer SOC (system-on-chip) designers complete approaches with rapid, low-risk paths to market.
Xilinx offers programmable-logic products. The Xilinx XtremeDSP development-tool package provides a comprehensive design suite that enables you to use The MathWorks' Matlab and Simulink modeling environments for FPGA design. Use this DSP-design environment early in the design flow to explore hardware options for high-level algorithms or to assemble complete DSP systems for production that are highly optimized and include RTL (register-transfer-level) logic, IP (intellectual property), and embedded processing.
The XtremeDSP tool package includes both System Generator for DSP and the AccelDSP Synthesis Tool. Together, they form a flexible, integrated, and powerful DSP-development environment for FPGAs. System Generator includes the Xilinx DSP block set, which helps produce optimized logic for Xilinx programmable devices. More than 90 DSP building blocks are available for the Simulink modeling environment.
Fabless semiconductor company XMOS develops SDS (software-defined silicon). The company's programmable devices are available for $1 to $15. To ensure that development costs do not negate the unit-cost savings, the company offers an innovative way to access the programmable hardware through a software-based design flow that bypasses hardware descriptions and logic synthesis.
XMOS bases its technology on XCore, a compact, event-driven, multithreaded processor. This 32-bit RISC processor supports as many as eight threads and is integrated with support resources into the XCore tile building block. Multithreading permits concurrent processing of distinct functions, ranging from I/O interfaces to complete software applications. With as much as 400 MIPS per tile, the XCore engine has the performance to implement multiple complex real-time hardware and software functions.
Third-party software-development-tool providers
CMX Systems' core business is to develop real-time, multitasking operating systems; TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) stacks; flash-file systems; USB (Universal Serial Bus) stacks; and the CAN (controller-area-network)-open stack for 8-, 16-, and 32-bit microcomputers, microprocessors, DSPs, and DSCs. CMX's RTOS supports more than 50 processor families and more than 30 C-compiler vendors. CMX also offers the tiny CMX-MicroNet, a TCP/IP stack that targets 8-, 16-, and 32-bit and DSP processors with limited ROM, RAM, or both. The company also offers CMX TCP/IP, a full-featured TCP/IP stack for 16-bit, 32-bit, and DSP processors. CMX also offers flash-file systems for memory management and CMX-USB to assist designers wishing to add USB connectivity to their products.
Over the previous year, the company expanded product support, including porting RTOS, TCP/IP stacks, and USB host/device/OTG (On-The-Go) stacks to the new ARM, Cortex-M3, and ColdFire processor families. The company added RTOS-kernel awareness for Keil Realview tools for ARM and completed RTOS ports to the Atmel Xmega, STMicroelectronics STM8, Renesas RX600, and Renesas SH-2A. All CMX products feature full source code, no royalties, and free technical support and updates with every purchase.
Green Hills Software
Green Hills Software provides real-time operating systems; operating systems; certified software; hypervisor and virtualization software; security software; cryptographic algorithms; protocols and related software; hardware-debugging devices; networking software; static analysis; file systems; computer compiler programs; computer utility programs; and computer programs for writing, editing, analyzing, and debugging other computer programs. Green Hills products target 32- and 64-bit automotive, avionics, consumer, industrial, medical, telecommunications, and networking applications.
The TimeMachine debugging suite combines a familiar debugger interface that enables developers to step and run forward or backward through code. Standard debugging tools, such as execution and data breakpoints, are available. The TimeMachine suite includes PathAnalyzer, which enables developers to view an application's call stack over time to help identify bugs and inefficiencies in code. The EventAnalyzer displays a view of operating-system events over time and helps track down bad interactions, such as deadlocks and race conditions between tasks.
The feature-rich Multi development environment for C, C++, EC++, and Ada tightly couples with Green Hills Software's operating systems, compilers, and debugging probes. Multi's advanced cross referencing simplifies the search for references to any symbol or macro in a program by showing the location and role of any variable or procedure. Runtime error checking automatically pinpoints the source of a variety of runtime errors, eliminating the need to search for bugs in problem-free areas. The performance analyzer pinpoints where to focus optimization efforts by identifying which blocks of code are taking the longest to execute. The code-coverage utility improves product quality by identifying whether the system has executed areas of code. Code-coverage analysis allows developers to focus their efforts on creating tests to ensure 100% coverage and eliminate latent bugs. The project builder streamlines program configuration, allowing developers to get started quickly and to easily manage multiple configurations of their programs.
Matlab, a high-level technical-computing language and interactive environment for algorithm development, data visualization, data analysis, and numeric computation, is applicable to a range of applications, including signal and image processing, communications, control design, test and measurement, financial modeling and analysis, and computational biology. Matlab provides a number of features for documenting and sharing work. Designers can also integrate Matlab code with other languages and applications to distribute Matlab algorithms and applications. Add-on toolboxes, separately available collections of special-purpose Matlab functions, extend the Matlab environment to solve domain-specific problems related to digital-signal processing.
Simulink, an environment for multidomain simulation and model-based design for dynamic and embedded systems, provides an interactive graphical environment and a customizable set of block libraries that let engineers design, simulate, implement, and test a variety of time-varying systems, including communications, controls, signal processing, video processing, and image processing.
Matlab integrates Simulink, providing access to a range of tools to develop algorithms; analyze and visualize simulations; create batch-processing scripts; customize the modeling environment; and define signal, parameter, and test data. Add-on products extend Simulink software to multiple modeling domains, and they provide tools for design, implementation, and verification and validation tasks.
Micrium delivers to the embedded market a full portfolio of embedded-software components for automotive, avionics, consumer-electronics, medical-device, military and aerospace, networking, and SOC (system-on-chip) applications. The company's products include its µC/OS-II RTOS; a TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) stack; a USB (Universal Serial Bus) device, host, and OTG (On-The-Go) stack; a CAN (controller-area-network) stack; a file system; a GUI (graphical user interface); a flash loader; a Modbus slave and master; and clock- and LCD-control modules. Designers have ported these components to numerous platforms from a variety of manufacturers, and they can run in any embedded system.
The company also offers µC/Probe, a versatile tool that enables engineers to visualize embedded systems in a live environment. When embedded-system developers use this product, it gives them a window into otherwise-inscrutable hardware platforms. Designers can implement mC/Probe for a variety of uses, from debugging to demonstrations.
Micrium's RTOS, µC/OS-II, is certified for avionics RTCA (Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics) DO-178B and EUROCAE (European Organization for Civil Aviation Equipment) ED-12B; medical devices certified under FDA (Food and Drug Administration) 510(k) use µC/OS-II; and Micrium meets the requirements of the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) 61058 standard for transportation and nuclear systems. Its µC/TCP-IP is a compact, reliable, high-performance TCP/IP stack that enables rapid configuration of required network options.
National Instruments empowers scientists and engineers with software such as NI LabView and modular, cost-effective, off-the-shelf hardware. With National Instruments LabView graphical-system-design platform, developers can design a signal-processing algorithm using a variety of methods, including graphical data-flow programming, state-based system design, text-based programming, dynamic system simulation, and configuration-based development. The design platform supports building functional prototypes and final implementations with off-the-shelf hardware that features real-time processors, FPGAs, and modular analog and digital I/O. LabView features graphical development tools for each of the three phases of DSP design.
For algorithm designers, LabView provides more than 600 math- and signal-processing functions ranging from filters to transforms to statistical analysis. In addition, tool kits and modules that extend LabView's capabilities to more specialized areas are available. One example is the LabView digital-filter-design tool kit, which provides interactive tools for design, analysis, and implementation of digital filters. This tool kit provides a variety of filter topologies and analysis tools for design, modeling, and implementation of both fixed- and floating-point digital filters. Other products include modulation, sound-and-vibration, and spectral-measurements tool kits.
For prototyping, National Instruments provides a variety of off-the-shelf hardware platforms, including the NI CompactRIO (rapid input/output) that comprises modular analog, digital, and communications I/O with an FPGA and a floating-point processor.
For deployment, the LabView microprocessor modules provide a path to programming both traditional DSPs, such as the Analog Devices Blackfin and the Texas Instruments c6000 series, and more general-purpose processors, such as those from ARM, PowerPC, and x86.
|Where did they go?|
Virage Logic acquired ARC.
Cradle Technologies has not been active in DSPs this year.
Improv has been inactive in the DSP market this year.
On Demand Microelectronics
On Demand Microelectronics has been inactive in the DSP market this year.
Renesas merged with NEC Electronics to form Renesas Electronics.
STMicroelectronics no longer supports new designs with the ST240, and there are no new DSPs to promote.
*Editor's note: This story was updated on April 23, 2010, at 10:45am eastern time to reflect a more current description of Altera.
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