DSP cores, IP blocks and platforms optimized for wireless devices, networking infrastructure and consumer applications
Austin, TX – October 13, 2003 – System designers seeking powerful and efficient digital signal processor (DSP) solutions for their next-generation communications and consumer products now have a comparable, lowcost alternative to the un- licensable and un-configurable DSP devices prevalent in the market today. StarCore LLC, the world’s fastest-growing provider of licensable DSP core technologies, is now offering the SC1200 and SC1400 families of synthesizable, modular DSP solutions that have been optimized for communications and consumer applications.
The SC1200 and SC1400 are scaleable and synthesizable, which makes them ideal for a broad spectrum of applications, including:
- Wireless handsets – 2.5G, 2.75G, 3G and beyond;
- Networking infrastructure – multi-channel access and base stations;
- Consumer communication products such as PDAs and media gateways;
- Converging technologies such as voice over IP and web tablets.
The SC1200 product family, based on a two-MAC (multiply and accumulate), four-issue VLES (Variable Length Execution Set) engine, is extremely power-efficient and has been optimized for portable applications that require a balanced mix of control and signal processing capabilities, such as wireless handsets and PDAs. The SC1400 family, also very power-efficient, with its four-MAC, six- issue VLES engine, offers more signal processing capabilities for data-intensive applications such as premium 3G handsets, media gateways, wireless base stations, and networking infrastructure.
Both product families can be licensed as stand-alone cores or as platforms that integrate the core with system intellectual property (IP) blocks. Licensees can choose to implement StarCore’s DSP cores directly into their SOC devices, or they might opt to license a pre- integrated platform solution. Either way, StarCore’s soft-macro DSP product families, tools, support and services offer a seamless technology adoption process at configuration levels that are appropriate for virtually any application.
Advanced communications products have significantly more demanding performance requirements than their predecessors. For example, next-generation handsets barely resemble cell phones that were considered cutting edge just a few years ago. Today’s latest phones are small, stylish and feature-rich. They contain mobile Internet browsers, built- in cameras, MP3 players, downloadable games, customizable ring tones, text messaging capability and—true to their heritage—digital voice communications. However, wireless chipset providers and handset manufacturers face a daunting challenge—how to offer all of these data-intensive features to consumers while preserving battery life and affordability.
StarCore’s SC1200 and SC1400 DSP cores and platforms meet this challenge head-on through a modern VLIW architecture that combines high speed, compact program memory footprint and excellent energy efficiency. The technology is well-supported and built from the legacy of the proven SC140 core. The StarCore architectures are scaleable, offering code compatibility across applications and product generations. The architectures are based on a five-stage pipeline for easy programming and have been conceived with compiler efficiency in mind, so that application designers can develop DSP software in C for faster time to market. All cores and system IP blocks are synt hesizable, providing customers the flexibility of using multiple, independent foundries.
“StarCore’s new products are solid—they are very clean, efficient and based on a proven architecture,” said Will Strauss, president, Forward Concepts. “Furthermore, it is clear that StarCore has invested in developing the peripherals and support services that engineers need to integrate a DSP, including tools, development boards, and documentation. To have accomplished this in the first year of its independent existence shows that the company understands its customers’ needs and now has an impressive portfolio of licensable DSP technology to offer the market.”
StarCore’s goal is to proliferate its DSP core architectures through an aggressive licensing business model. Current customers include Infineon Technologies AG and Motorola, Inc. Both companies recently signed longterm license agreements, and StarCore is close to finalizing agreements with additional tier-one customers.
“When companies decide to license DSP technology rather than to develop it themselves, they want to be assured they’re making a smart business decision,” said Tom Lantzsch, chief executive officer, StarCore LLC. “They want to know that the technology is proven and that the DSP provider is strong enough to be there for a long-term relationship. I enjoy having these conversations with potential customers because StarCore has firmly established the credibility they are seeking. Our technology is proven, we have several long-term licensing agreements in hand, and we can demonstrate how licensing DSP technology provides far-reaching economic value in the form of product development cost savings and time-to- market acceleration.”
The fluctuating global economic environment and cyclical nature of the technology industry make licensing a very attractive option for equipment providers and semiconductor manufacturers. Licensing a proven DSP architecture eliminates much of the up-front research and development costs and helps to get products into the market much more quickly than developing the technology from scratch.
The licensable SC1200 and SC1400 families are available immediately in the following platform configurations, providing a range of performance and power options:
- SP1201 and SP1401: DSP cores with on-chip emulation unit
- SP1202 and SP1402: digital signal processors for embedded applications
- SP1203 and SP1403: digital signal processors for advanced applications, with instruction and data cache controllers and interface for tightly-coupled accelerators
“Our product line was conceived with modularity and flexibility in mind,” said Alex Bedarida, vice president marketing and sales, StarCore LLC. “Not only are all StarCore cores software-compatible with one another, but the same Verilog RTL code can be easily synthesized for integration into low-power devices operating at 200 MHz for mobile phones with battery life that is measured in weeks, or into quad-core ‘DSP-farm-on-a-chip’ devices that operate at 500 MHz and deliver an aggregate performance of 8000 MMACS (million MAC operations per second), within a power envelope of less than 2W. Our customers’ SOC engineering teams demand this flexibility.” Berkeley Design Technology, Inc. (BDTI), a leading independent analyst of digital signal processing technology, recently profiled the SC1200 and SC1400 in a detailed technical report. Based on the results of its study, BDTI has given the SC1200 and SC1400 BDTIsimMark2000(TM) scores of 2690 and 3420, respectively . These are the highest scores that BDTI has published for a licensable core to date.
Services and Support
StarCore’s product offering is enhanced through design services and support that begin even before the sale. For example, the company has implemented a rapid evaluation process that provides prospective licensees with an accurate DSP performance determination comprising frequency, size and power-consumption estimates—all within one week. StarCore customers can start their design with the confidence that they will be able to achieve the necessary performance, thus saving months that would have been spent in trial-and-error iterations.
StarCore provides customer-focused support after the sale through expert on-site training and both on-site and remote technical support and maintenance services. A growing community of third-party software and tools vendors offers additional products and services for the StarCore architecture.
Siemens recently took advantage of StarCore’s training services. “Although we have been developing software for the StarCore DSP for several months, the StarCore training experts taught us many new tricks,” said Ralf Hartmann, global line manager, Signal Processing, Siemens Mobile Phones. “There was not a question they couldn't answer.”
Additional product details and contact information are available on StarCore’s website at http://www.starcoredsp.com
 The BDTIsimMark2000(TM) provides a summary measure of digital signal processing speed. Visit www.BDTI.com for more information on these scores and on BDTI's report "Inside the StarCore SC1200 and SC1400."
About StarCore LLC
Based in Austin, Texas, StarCore LLC is a leader in the development of high-performance DSP architectures, cores and intellectual property building blocks for the communications and consumer electronics industries. For more information on StarCore LLC and its intellectual property and services, visit the company’s website at http://www.starcore-dsp.com.
Copyright © 2002, 2003, StarCore LLC. All rights reserved. All trade and service marks are the property of their respective owners.