NEC Unveils New VR5500-Based Microprocessor Cores With World-Class Performance Up to One Gigahertz

SANTA CLARA, Calif. and TOKYO, October 15, 2002 -- NEC Corporation (NYSE: NIPNY) and its wholly owned subsidiary in the United States, NEC Electronics Inc., today announced it has developed an 800-megahertz (MHz) 64-bit MIPS® microprocessor core, code named Sapphire, based on NEC's VR5500™ 64-bit out-of-order superscalar microprocessor architecture. Developed using NEC's 0.13 micron (um) copper process technology, the new Sapphire core executes up to 1600 Dhrystone million instructions per second (MIPS) at 800 MHz. For low-power applications, the core executes 1200 Dhrystone MIPS while operating at 600 MHz and consuming power of only two watts (W). NEC also announced it is developing its next-generation Sapphire core, code named Star Sapphire, which enables operation at one gigahertz (GHz). The new Star Sapphire core will use NEC's 90 nanometer (nm) process and features various micro-architecture enhancements including vector operations and single-instruction multiple data (SIMD).

"The Sapphire and Star Sapphire cores demonstrate the scalability and flexibility of NEC's VR5500 architecture," said George Wang, general manager, Standard LSI Solutions strategic business unit for NEC Electronics Inc. "With the new cores, we have developed a microprocessor architecture that supports a range of solutions for applications ranging from set-top boxes to high-end networking and storage systems. Having world-class performance capabilities, NEC's new cores are ideally suited for future embedded applications such as high-end digital multimedia and networking applications that require CPU performance ranging from 1000 to 2000 Dhrystone MIPS."

Kevin Meyer, vice president of marketing for MIPS Technologies, Inc., said, "This announcement further demonstrates NEC's leadership in the advancement of 64-bit solutions as a performance solution in high-volume, diverse applications such as multimedia and networking. NEC's implementation of the performance-oriented attributes of the MIPS architecture will yield a chip that delivers high performance when utilizing a 64-bit processor and while running at low power levels. NEC's customers are the ultimate beneficiaries of this optimum balance in products that deliver a differentiated user experience."

NEC plans to demonstrate the new 800-MHz VR5500 Sapphire core during the Microprocessor Forum Expo on October 15 at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, California. The core will be demonstrated along with NEC's VRC5477™ system controller operating on a Linux® evaluation board.

NEC's VR5500 Microprocessor Hits 800 MHz
NEC developed the 800-MHz VR5500 core, code name Sapphire, using its 0.13um, six-metal layer, copper process technology. The processor executes 1600 Dhrystone MIPS at 800 MHz, a significant performance achievement for an embedded microprocessor. The core also offers low power consumption of 2W while executing 1200 Dhrystone MIPS at 600 MHz. NEC plans to use the core to develop system-on-a-chip (SoC) products for high-end multimedia and networking applications. Limited samples currently are available.

1 GHz Star Sapphire Core Development
NEC currently is developing its next-generation VR5500 core, code named Star Sapphire, using NEC's 90 nm, seven-metal layer, copper process technology and various micro-architecture enhancements. The core is targeted to achieve transaction speeds of more than 1 GHz while executing more than 2000 Dhrystone MIPS and consuming only 5W of power. Ideal applications for this core are high-end networking equipment and digital multimedia and storage systems that require high bandwidth and high performance.

Additional features of the VR5500 Star Sapphire core include a dual-issue, out-of-order, 11-stage pipeline; enlarged primary cache memory (64 kilobyte, 4-way set associative instruction and data caches); enlarged translation look-aside buffer (64 dual entries); and a SIMD vector operation instruction set extension. Samples of the Star Sapphire core are expected to be available during the second quarter of 2003.

New Cores Build on Innovative Architecture
First introduced in 2001, NEC's VR5500 microprocessor architecture is becoming popular in digital consumer applications due to its high performance ratio of 804 Dhrystone MIPS at 400 MHz, its out-of-order superscalar micro-architecture and its low power consumption of 2W.

The VR5500 microprocessor has been tested using all five of the Embedded Microprocessor Benchmark Consortium (EEMBC®) application-based benchmark suites, which measure expected device performance in automotive/industrial, consumer, networking, office automation, and telecom end products. Detailed EEMBC's benchmark scores for NEC's 300- and 400-MHz VR5500 processors with 32- and 64-bit external memory buses are available on the EEMBC website at

About NEC's VR Series Microprocessors
NEC's VR Series™ 64-bit MIPS-based 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 networking market.
Additionally, 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. Further information can be found at

About NEC Electronics Inc.
NEC Electronics Inc., headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., 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 local manufacturing facility in Roseville, California, and the global manufacturing capabilities of its parent company, NEC Corporation (NASDAQ: NIPNY). More information about products offered by NEC Electronics Inc. can be found on NEC Electronics' website at

About NEC Corporation
NEC Corporation (NASDAQ: NIPNY) (FTSE: 6701q.1) is one of the world's leading providers of Internet, broadband network and enterprise business solutions dedicated to meeting the specialized needs of its diverse and global base of customers. Ranked as one of the world's top patent-producing companies, NEC delivers tailored solutions in the key fields of computer, networking and electron devices, through its three market-focused, in-house companies: NEC
Solutions, NEC Networks and NEC Electron Devices. NEC Corporation employs more than 140,000 people worldwide and had net sales of approximately US$39 billion in the fiscal year ended March 2002. Additional information can be found on the NEC Corporation's website at:


NEC Electronics Inc., VR Series, VR4100, VR5432, VR5000, VR5500, VR7700, VR7701 and VRC5477 are either registered trademarks or trademarks of NEC Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. Sapphire and Star Sapphire are code names only and not intended for trademarks in this document. MIPS is a registered trademark of MIPS Technologies, Inc. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvald's.

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