Russian video chip firm switches from ARM to MIPS

May 05, 2016 // By Peter Clarke
Elvees NeoTek JSC (Zelenograd, Russia) and Imagination Technologies Group plc (Kings Langley, England) have reported the tape-out of the Elvees Image Semantic Engine (ELISE), an SoC vision processor based on a broad set of MIPS and PowerVR cores.

Imagination has won its place in Elvees' designs partly by striking a strategic partnership with the Russian company that has previously built video analytics chips on ARM cores.

The tape out is in TSMC's 28nm 28HPM process and includes an integrated PowerVR  vision platform comprising a PowerVR GX6250 GPU, a PowerVR V2500 imaging processor (ISP), a PowerVR E4500 video encoder and a PowerVR D5500 video decoder.

There is also a dual-core MIPS Warrior P5602 CPU, a MIPS interAptiv CPU and MIPS Warrior M5150 MCU-class CPU. On-chip Wi-Fi and Bluetooth protocol support is provided by an on-chip Ensigma Explorer C4250 connectivity processors (RPUs).

Elvees contributed their own Velcore2 eight-cluster video processor with accelerator cores that support 4K rate stereo streams for facial recognition and augmented reality. ELISE also has built-in multi-standard GNSS satellite positioning support (GPS/GLONASS/BeiDou/Galileo) and Imagination has licensed that technology from Elvees.

And it comes one year after Elvees NeoTek had announced its ARM-based VIP-1 based video analytics processor in 40nm CMOS. The VIP-1 chip includes two ARM A9 cores with floating-point acceleration as well as a third video processing unit (VPU) for handling stereoscopic camera set ups ( Elvis Sees All in Russia ).

At the time, April 2015, the VIP-1 chip was described as adding smart analytics to any basic digital camera – from surveillance to consumer cameras – and was said to be in the process of being scaled down by TSMC to 28nm from 40nm before being marketed in the US later in 2015.

VIP-1 from Elvees NeoTek, originally implemented in 40nm. Source: Elvees NeoTek.

It is unclear whether this scaling happened but the ELISE as described has considerably more computational resources on chip.

The partnership between Imagination and Elvees is described as "strategic" and a recognition that video analytics hardware and software complexity are increasing exponentially and that a combined effort will be helpful where application and domain knowledge are essential.

“Imagination’s comprehensive portfolio