Designers Can Optimize Applications by Utilizing the CorExtend™ Capability While Maintaining Compatibility with the Industry-Standard MIPS® Architecture
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., January 27, 2002 -- MIPS Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: MIPS, MIPSB) today announced the Pro Series™ family of processor cores that allows users to optimize their cores for specific applications while maintaining compatibility with the MIPS industry standard architecture. This new capability is offered through the CorExtend™ feature of MIPS Technologies' Pro Series cores, which is in support of the company's strategy to give its customers the performance to create highly differentiated products. Pro Series cores enable SOC designers to significantly increase application performance without sacrificing the benefits of its extensive tool sets, software, and infrastructure.
Strong market demand for functions and applications that utilize digital-media and signal processing technologies are dramatically driving up the performance demands on SOCs. The result is a substantial growth in complexity of hardware and software solutions. The CorExtend feature meets this challenge by letting designers add instructions and functionality to a Pro Series core, reducing the need for specialized elements such as signal processors.
According to ATI Technologies' Daniel Eiref, director of set-top marketing in ATI's Consumer Products Group, "The ability to extend functionality of the MIPS architecture offers virtually unlimited freedom to define exactly what one wants, whether it's supercharged performance, significantly reduced power consumption, or anything else that engineers and marketers can specify for today's applications. The result can be a highly differentiated product that meets customers' performance, power and cost demands."
Using the CorExtend capability, system designers can define and add their own instructions that operate on data in the general-purpose registers in the same manner as standard MIPS instructions. Therefore, Pro Series cores allow users to add new capabilities while maintaining compatibility with the extensive development ecosystem that exists for the MIPS industry-standard architecture.
Will Strauss, founder and president of DSP market watcher Forward Concepts, said, "Products requiring digital signal processing technology are growing exponentially as consumers demand devices that deliver more multimedia-rich content. MIPS Technologies has wisely introduced its CorExtend capability that provides designers with the ability to perform unique computational DSP functions using an industry standard processor. With MIPS CorExtend, their SOC designs can be greatly simplified, lowering overall product cost."
"Application advantage, be it cost, time-to-market or uniqueness-of-product are of paramount importance to companies developing SOCs for next-generation consumer, wireless, broadband, and networking products. With Pro Series cores, SOC designers with intimate knowledge of their application can add functions that boost performance by an order of magnitude and optimize their application in ways that simply aren't possible with other industry-standard cores," said Kevin Meyer, vice president of marketing at MIPS Technologies.
Reference Designs and Standard Tools Ease Development
To demonstrate how designers can take advantage of CorExtend instructions in their applications, MIPS Technologies has developed several reference designs for multimedia, Voice over Packet, and DSP filtering applications. Application notes and other documentation on the reference designs may be downloaded from www.mips.com.
"The DSP filter reference design is an excellent example of the CorExtend capabilities. In only a few weeks, using standard tools and software, an application engineer analyzed FIR, LMS, and complex FIR filter algorithms and simulated a prototype core employing several assembly CorExtend instructions. The instructions accelerated these filters (over the optimized assembly code) by about 300 percent and required less than 25K gates to implement. In many systems this will mean that a fixed-function, hardwired logic block or a hard-to-use special-purpose coprocessor can be eliminated. The resulting SOC will cost less and-perhaps even more importantly-be more flexible and programmable," said Victor Peng, vice president of engineering at MIPS Technologies.
Designers can implement their CorExtend instructions in RTL using standard Verilog tools. With the MIPS approach there is no need to learn a new proprietary development language, and the intellectual property embodied in CorExtend instructions remains in the hands of the developer at all times.
Development tool support for the Pro Series family includes the MULTI® IDE and optimizing compilers from Green Hills Software and MIPS Technologies' MIPSsim™ simulator that can be obtained either from Green Hills Software or MIPS Technologies. The MIPS SDE 5.0 software development environment release fully supports the CorExtend features of the Pro Series family.
"The MULTI® integrated development environment and optimizing compilers support the latest features of MIPS cores, including the new CorExtend capability," said John Carbone, vice president of marketing at Green Hills Software. "Developers can now use our products to take advantage of this exciting technology to produce highly-differentiated solutions based on the industry standard MIPS architecture."
Dave Sheaffer, senior director of Wind River Systems Alliance Group, said, "CorExtend allows MIPS-based embedded systems to be configured for specific vertical markets and applications. Combined with Wind River's core technology and recently announced integrated embedded platforms, Wind River Platforms for vertical markets, this capability provides a path for our customers to meet those application requirements and still take advantage of the wide support for the MIPS architecture."
"Users gain a high measure of confidence by selecting processor cores based on the MIPS industry-standard architecture, which provides broad tools, software and application support," continued Meyer.
Pro Series Cores Now Available
The Pro Series family currently includes the 4KE™ Pro™ family, and the M4K™ and 4KSd™ Pro cores. More Pro Series family cores will be forthcoming.
The 4KE Pro family offers the highest DMIPS/MHz performance available in a synthesizable, 32-bit processor. The 4KE Pro family adds the CorExtend capability to its highly flexible features set that enables designers to increase performance while reducing die size and power consumption and, ultimately, total system cost. For example, MIPS16e™ reduces code-space requirements by as much as 40 percent, and extensive clock gating reduces power consumption without reducing performance. The 4KE Pro cores are synthesizable, enabling easy integration into SoC designs; they are a cost-effective, quick time-to-market solution for digital consumer applications, from ultra low-power mobile devices to emerging home networking products.
The M4K Pro core was designed primarily for multi-CPU SOCs, which are becoming popular in next-generation consumer, networking, and broadband applications. The M4K Pro core adds the CorExtend capability to this very small and low-power core, offering the highest performance density available in any 32-bit synthesizable core. Its small size allows a large number of cores to be built on a single chip, enabling very high performance applications suited to multiple-CPU solutions
The 4KSd Pro core is targeted at secure data transactions in applications such as set-top boxes, secure data storage, smart cards, and many others. The 4KSd core implements the SmartMIPS™ application-specific extension to the MIPS32 architecture, which greatly speeds cryptographic software and reduces power consumption and die size. The 4KSd Pro core with the CorExtend capability builds on this base, giving customers the ability to add new instructions to further enhance security or increase performance.
About MIPS Technologies
MIPS Technologies, Inc. is a leading provider of industry-standard processor architectures and cores for digital consumer and business applications. The company drives the broadest architectural alliance that is delivering 32- and 64-bit embedded RISC solutions. The company licenses its intellectual property to semiconductor companies, ASIC developers and system OEMs. MIPS Technologies and its licensees offer the widest range of robust, scalable processors in standard, custom, semi-custom and application-specific products. The company is based in Mountain View, Calif., and can be reached at +1 (650) 567-5000 or www.mips.com.
# # #
MIPS is a registered trademark in the United States and other countries, and Pro Series, Pro, CorExtend, 4KE, 4KSd, 4KSc, M4K, MIPSsim and MIPS16e are trademarks of MIPS Technologies, Inc. All other trademarks referred to herein are the property of their respective owners.