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TI to put floating point in every DSP core

November 10, 2010 // Junko Yoshida

TI to put floating point in every DSP core

The cellular base station market is heating up worldwide. As this happens, the competition between Texas Instruments and Freescale Semiconductor over base station SoCs is accelerating. The companies are intensifying efforts to promote novel designs for DSP cores, accelerators and microprocessors to enable flexible and powerful 3G and LTE/4G base stations

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.Beyond cost, power consumption and performance, the battle of next-generation comms SoCs is expected to focus on how to run complex algorithms like MIMO multiple antenna processing critical in broadband wireless networks in new chips.

TI has chosen to put both floating point and fixed point math in every core of its new DSP, hoping to achieve the high accuracy demanded by MIMO applications. Freescale, in contrast, plans to do it in the companys accelerator block called MAPLE, which uses a floating point engine inside.

TI have just announced a newly architected DSP TMS320C66x and four new scalable C667x devices, all produced using TSMCs 40nm process. TI claims to offer the industrys first 10GHz DSP, combining eight of its new DSPs, running at 1.25 GHz each.

TI is breaking new ground by integrating for the first time in DSP history both fixed point and floating point math in one core. Jeff Bier, Berkeley Design Technology, Inc. (BDTI), said TI is significantly upping the ante, by improving the new cores ease of use for developers.

Using the new DSP cores, TI is also launching a four-core communications SoC, targeting both the 3G and LTE/4G markets. While defending its dominance in the legacy wireless standards-based base station market, TI is eager to demonstrate that the new SoC can lead the emerging 4G base station market where Freescale has significantly stepped up the game over the last 18 months.

TIs new communications SoC is designed to simultaneously transmit and receive 3G and 4G data on the same silicon, with no additional ASIC or FPGA needed, said Brian Glinsman, general manager, communications infrastructure, DSP systems group at TI.

TI, obviously, isnt alone in throwing new technologies at growing challenges in the cellular network market.

Freescale is introducing next Monday (November 15th) a new generation DSP-based product. It doubles the performance, while offering specific acceleration IPs designed to increase throughput, said Lisa Su, Freescales senior vice president and general manager, networking and multimedia. Without leaking details, Freescales Su indicated that beyond the performance enhancements in the companys new DSP, we have quite a few tricks in the bag include advancements in the accelerator side and the microprocessor side.
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