NEC Launches New High-Performance, Highly Integrated Microprocessor
VR7701 Processor Integrates High-Performance Core with Memory Controller and Communications Functions for Internet Core Applications
29th April, 2002 - TOKYO and SANTA CLARA, Calif., April 29, 2002 - NEC Corp. (NASDAQ: NIPNY) and its wholly owned subsidiary in the United States, NEC Electronics Inc., today introduced the VR7701™ high-performance 64-bit MIPS® processor. The VR7701 processor is the first product in NEC's new VR7700™ family of integrated processors. The VR7700 processor core builds on NEC's highly acclaimed VR5500™ superscalar processor architecture by adding 256 kilobytes (KB) of on-chip level 2 (L2) cache and a high-speed double data rate (DDR) SDRAM memory controller. The VR7701 processor integrates a 400 megahertz (MHz) VR7700 processor core with a 64-bit 133MHz PCI-X 1.0 bus interface and two 10/100Base Ethernet media access controllers (MAC), as well as several other key peripheral functions. This high-performance, highly integrated processor is an ideal solution for many demanding Internet applications including network switches and routers and blade servers, which require large amounts of data to be moved as quickly as possible.
"The VR7701 processor is the first step in NEC's roadmap to provide a variety of highly integrated microprocessors growing from our innovative VR5500 architecture," said George Wang, general manager, standard solutions strategic business unit, NEC Electronics Inc. "The VR7700 core builds on the performance and superscalar strengths of the VR5500 processor to support our customers developing next-generation products for advanced Internet infrastructure applications. "
"Since its introduction of the VR5500 microprocessor core last year, NEC has continued to improve the core's performance by increasing the operating frequency and optimizing compilers and other software tools to take better advantage of its architectural features," said Cary Snyder, senior analyst with Reed Electronics Group's In-Stat/MicroDesign Resources. "NEC is continuing to bring out products according to evolutionary roadmap plans announced at Embedded Processor Forum last year. Adding the L2 cache and DDR SDRAM interfaces to its VR5500 processor core to create the new VR7700 core should improve performance for a broader range of applications. NEC's VR5500 2001 Analysts' Choice award nomination for Best High-Performance Embedded Processor Chip was largely based on it being the best value in the embedded-processor space -- something NEC's VR7701 microprocessor is likely to build on."
VR7701 Integrated Processor
NEC's VR7701 integrated processor is manufactured using NEC's own 0.13-micrometer process, and is based on the new VR7700 processor core platform, which integrates a 400 MHz processor, a tightly coupled L2 cache, a DDR SDRAM controller, a high-speed NEC-proprietary on-chip bus and various peripherals. With a 1.5-volt (V) core, the VR7701 integrated processor consumes less than five watts of power under typical operating conditions. It supports either 2.5- or 3.3V input/output (I/O) signals. The integrated VR7700 core is highly efficient for use in both general-purpose and application-specific integrated processor designs. It uses the same superpipelined out-of-order (OOO) instruction execution architecture developed for the VR5500 core to increase performance. The platform is flexible and can be adapted to support other communications interfaces such as HyperTransport, PCI Express (3GIO) or Infiniband, and deliver high-speed Internet access solutions such as Gigabit Ethernet. The NEC-proprietary on-chip bus operates at 200 MHz and supports multiple device ports that provide independent 64-bit read and write data paths to the processor's L2 cache and memory subsystem to minimize memory bottlenecks.
The VR7701 L2 cache supports 4-way set associative, writeback policy, a least recently used (LRU) algorithm, and error code correction (ECC) protection. The memory controller supports both DDR and single-data rate (SDR) SDRAM dual in-line memory modules (DIMMs) with ECC protection. The integrated DDR/SDR SDRAM uses 128-byte burst transfers to match the L2 cache line size.
The VR7701 processor also includes a PCI-X interface, two 10/100Base Ethernet controllers, a local bus unit with two serial interfaces, an interrupt controller and several timers. The PCI-X unit supports a 64-bit bus interface with 133 MHz clock frequency and has a 512-byte read/write buffer for slave operations and a 128-byte read/write buffer for master operations. The two-channel 10/100Base Ethernet MAC controller has independent direct memory access (DMA) and first in, first out (FIFO) buffers for send and receive packets to optimize Ethernet performance. The local bus unit not only supports 8-, 16-, and 32-bit device interfaces to connect flash ROM and standard peripherals, but also shares a bus bridge to connect two 16550-compatible serial interfaces, an interrupt controller, and a 10-channel interval timer.
NEC Electronics also offers broad software support for the VR7701 processor, including operating systems such as Linux®, VxWorks and other major operating systems, as well as compilers from Algorithmics Ltd., Green Hills Software, Inc. and Red Hat, Inc. The VR7701 processor is compatible with NEC's VR5500Ô, VR5432Ô and VR5000Ô processors, enabling a broad range of middleware and third-party tools support for this new high-performance processor. To further aid in application development, a VR7701 reference board will also be available from NEC Electronics.
Pricing and Availability
Samples of the VR7701 processor are expected to be available in June 2002 in a 500-pin advanced ball-grid array (ABGA) package. The VR7701 processor is expected to be available in production quantities in fourth quarter 2002.
About NEC's VR Series Microprocessors
NEC's VR Series™ 64-bit MIPS microprocessors provide comprehensive solutions for embedded system designers. Developed around the MIPS architecture, all of the VR Series microprocessors are backward code-compatible and highly scalable. With its extensive line of microprocessors at many price/performance points, NEC can deliver complete solutions for the Internet world. The company's VR4100Ô and VR5500 product families deliver system products for Internet access devices in the consumer, communications, automotive and industrial markets. Likewise, the new VR7700 family provides support for applications at the core of the Internet such as blade servers, switches, routers and other server applications.
Furthermore, NEC Electronics is committed to providing complete design environment support for its VR Series microprocessors by offering a wide range of companion chipsets, development platforms and a comprehensive set of development tools. For more information, visit http://www.necel.com/microprocessor/index.cfm.
About NEC Corporation
NEC Corporation (NASDAQ: NIPNY) is a leading provider of Internet solutions, dedicated to meeting the specialized needs of its customers in the key computer network and electron device fields through its three market-focused in-house companies: NEC Solutions, NEC Networks and NEC Electron Devices. NEC Corporation, with its in-house companies, employs more than 140,000 people worldwide and saw net sales of approximately $39 billion in fiscal year 2001-2002. For further information, visit the NEC home page at http://www.nec.com/.
About NEC Electronics Inc.
NEC Electronics Inc., headquartered in Santa Clara, California, is one of the leading developers, manufacturers and suppliers of semiconductor products in the United States. Committed to meeting customers' cost, performance and time-to-market requirements, the company offers solutions ranging from standard products to system-on-a-chip (SoC) solutions, as well as customized products for next-generation designs. NEC Electronics also offers customers the benefits of a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Roseville, CA, and the global manufacturing capabilities of its parent company, NEC Corporation (NASDAQ: NIPNY). For more information about products offered by NEC Electronics Inc., visit the NEC Electronics Website at http://www.necel.com.
NEC Electronics Inc., VR Series, VR4100, VR5432, VR5000, VR5500, VR7700 and VR7701 are either registered trademarks or trademarks of NEC Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. All other registered trademarks or trademarks are property of their respective owner.