ARC's Second Generation Audio Subsystem Offers Support for Multi-Standard, Multi-Stream Audio Decode and High-Speed Audio Encode ELSTREE, England, March 21, 2006
– ARC International (LSE: ARK), the world leader in configurable CPU/DSP cores and application subsystems, today announced the ARC™ Sound Advanced Subsystem, a configurable solution that is pre-verified to reduce component cost and power while accelerating design time for next-generation consumer products. The ARC Sound Advanced Subsystem combines a library of industry leading audio codecs with ARC’s award-winning 128-bit SIMD (Single Instruction Multiple Data) accelerator, a dedicated dual-channel DMA engine and a configurable ARC 700 family core. In simulated customer results, the subsystem consumed up to 80 percent less power by operating at a lower frequency and with a smaller size than many competing solutions. Depending on system-on-chip (SoC) implementation, the ARC Sound Advanced Subsystem can eliminate the need for additional silicon devices, such as dedicated DSPs, further lowering total cost.
The market opportunity for the ARC Sound Advanced Subsystem is considerable. Arizona-based market research firm Forward Concepts predicts that SoCs with embedded multimedia capabilities will become the norm. “The trend is for SoC devices to include media processing in the chip, rather than rely on off-chip DSPs,” said Will Strauss, Forward Concepts’ founder and president. “According to our recent survey, SoC designers don’t care about maximum MIPS anymore. They want optimum MIPS, and they don’t want to pay for the extra headroom they might get with a solution offering more horsepower.” ARC believes the best solution for this is through the use of configurable technology.
By leveraging ARC’s configurable SIMD capability, the ARC Sound Advanced Subsystem effectively lowers power requirements for next generation audio applications such as high speed audio encoding (including Dolby® Digital 5.1 Creator) and multi-stream, high fidelity audio decoding. In an High Definition camcorder, an SoC with the ARC Sound Advanced Subsystem can create six (5.1) channels of high quality Dolby Digital audio. In a car audio product, the ARC Sound Advanced Subsystem can rip music to MP3 or AAC at 12x normal speed while decoding three other streams in parallel.* All this is done without a dedicated DSP and all at power levels that enable low cost packages without excessive cooling requirements. Because the ARC Sound Advanced Subsystem is based on a 700 family configurable processor, it can run a variety of industry leading operating systems such as Linux, MQX, ThreadX with others being ported. Because of the programmability of ARC’s Media Subsystem architecture, new codecs can and will be added to the hardware. All this is accomplished using considerably less power than competing solutions, including standalone DSPs, thus resulting in longer battery life and lower cost packaging.*
“When ARC approached us with the request to develop AAC encoding software and sample rate conversion for playback of multiple decoded streams of audio, we were eager to contribute to the project,” said Cliff Parris, managing director at ESPICO. “Our core competency is developing software for signal processing applications. The ARC Media Subsystem architecture combining a configurable 725D core loosely coupled to a dedicated SIMD engine with a comprehensive audio instruction set presented us a novel platform to showcase our expertise. The elegant result speaks for itself.”
Derek Meyer, senior vice president of sales and marketing at ARC, said, “This is the third successful product in our ARC Media Subsystem roadmap. Each was created with customers’ needs in mind, and each had customers signed up before the product was officially introduced. In creating the ARC Sound Advanced Subsystem, we focused on helping our customers reduce power and total silicon cost to give them more competitive products. We also leveraged the audio skills of ESPICO – a leader in the field of audio algorithms – to deliver software optimized for this unique hardware solution. ln its first design win, the ARC Sound Advanced Subsystem allowed our licensee to extend their ASSP and replace a competitor’s DSP. This resulted in more revenue for our licensee and lower overall system cost and power for their customer. Once again, the benefits of configurability gave ARC’s licensee a way to differentiate and grow their revenue and margin, while saving R&D costs and staying on schedule.”About the ARC™ Sound Advanced Audio Subsystem
ARC Sound Advanced is the third in a line of ARC Media Subsystems. It combines ARC’s award winning 128-bit SIMD accelerator and DMA engine with a 700 family configurable RISC processor. This provides a highly tuned audio solution that efficiently processes widely used audio codecs: Advanced Audio Coding (AAC), Dolby Digital (also known as AC-3), MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 (MP3) and Windows Media Audio (WMA). For the ARC Sound Advanced Subsystem, the 128-bit SIMD engine includes more than 60 audio-specific instructions that accelerate commonly used audio algorithms such as discrete cosine transforms (DCT) and digital sub-band filtering; they can operate up to four 32-bit audio samples in parallel. Along with the ARC Media Library, a complete set of hardware and software development tools that support ARC’s 700 family processors are included with each ARC Sound Advanced Subsystem license.
Because all ARC Media Subsystems are configurable, SoC designers can add or remove instructions to better differentiate from their competition. By leveraging the programmable nature of ARC’s subsystems, additional algorithms can be included beyond the optimized and pre-verified audio codecs supplied as part of the subsystem.Availability
The ARC Sound Advanced Subsystem is available for licensing by OEMs and semiconductor companies globally.*Performance claims based upon simulated results at multiple customer sites.