ARC Cores, Inc. has introduced new interfaces that the company says will reduce SoC development time by making it easier to connect third party and existing IP to ARC's user-customizable 32-bit processor.
Developers can use the ARChitect processor configuration tool to add either USB 1.1 or USB 2.0 to the ARCtangent-A4 processor -- a capability that ARC says opens a new market for their processor in PC-based consumer electronics and office automation.
The company is also announcing standard BVCI (Basic Virtual Component Interface) and AMBA interfaces for its core. While most processor vendors support one or the other interface standard, ARC claims it is offering the first soft IP processor core that supports both BVCI and AMBA.
"Designers are developing more and more complex systems in shorter time frames," said Ashish Sethi, product manager for the IP company, a subsidiary of ARC International, based in Elstree, England.
Designer s want to use in-house legacy IP as well as new IP acquired from third parties, but often the IP is acquired from different or competing vendors and does not integrate easily, he said.
"Almost half the SOC development time is spent integrating and verifying all these IP modules," said Sethi. "Designers have to delve deep into the IP and understand it before they can build new logic for their systems, so they're spending additional time designing new logic."
There are obvious advantages to using processor cores, with industry-standard interfaces, which will enable developers to "plug-in" various IP, said Rich Doherty, an analyst at The Envisioneering Group, Seafort, NY.
"In this market, it's all about time-to-market," said Doherty. "A tool that speeds design development for standard interfaces is a product for which users will be willing to pay a premium."
ARC's USB 2.0 and BVCI capability will be offered through the ARChitect configuration tool during the fourth quarter. The AMBA capability will be offered in the first quarter of 2002. Pricing information has not yet been released.