SHARC doubles floating-point performance - Embedded.com

SHARC doubles floating-point performance

Norwood, MA – Analog Devices today announced the ADSP-2164x, the fourth generation of its SHARC floating-point DSPs. The 2146x offers a 2X performance boost over previous SHARCs and a 60% increase in on-chip memory capacity. The 2146x also features an enhanced instruction set that slashes memory requirements by 30%. The DSP family includes the 21469 for industrial and instrumentation; the 21469W, 21465W, and 21462W for automotive audio; and the 21467 for home theater. The family also includes a pro-audio version of the 21469 that ADI previewed in October.

The 2164x operates at a maximum of 450 MHz—a mere 50 MHz faster than previous SHARCs—but is able to achieve a 2X performance boost through accelerators. The 2164x features hardware accelerators for FIR filters, IIR filters, and FFTs, all of which are widely used signal processing operations. The accelerators can run in parallel with the DSP, effectively doubling the processor's performance.

The 2164x also includes several features that improve the performance of the memory system. These include a 60% increase in on-chip SRAM to 5Mbits, and a new Variable Instruction Set Architecture (VISA). The new instruction set supports 16- and 32-bit-wide instructions in addition to the 48-bit-wide instructions supported on previous SHARCs. The compressed instructions reduce code footprints by as much as 30%, thereby reducing the need to fetch instruction from slow external memory.

Other notable features of the 2164x include hardware engines for sample rate conversion (SRC) and (on select family members) Digital Transmission Content Protection (DTCP). Available interfaces include a DDR2 memory interface, a link ports for communication between SHARC chips, and a MediaLB interface for connecting to automotive MOST (Media Oriented Systems Transport) networks. The SHARC processors targeting audio applications come with certified decoders in on-chip ROM, including DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby TrueHD.

The new SHARC offers significantly more compute power than its main competitor, the Texas Instruments C67x DSP family. The 2164x gets most of its performance advantage from its hardware accelerators. This feature is not available on TI's C67x family. However, TI does offer an FFT/FIR coprocessor on its fixed-point C550x DSPs. It will be interesting to see if TI responds to the superior performance of the 2164x by bringing this coprocessor over to its C67x line.

The new SHARC processors will be available to sample in Q1 2009. Pricing is $31.50 in quantities of 1,000 for the ADSP-21469 at 450 MHz, while the 400 MHz ADSP-21469 lists at $28.50 for 1,000 pieces.

For more information, www.analog.com/2146x for more information. The ADSP-2146x Visual Learning and Development module is available at: www.analog.com/vld. Also see the informative webcast from Avnet Electronics Marketing, an authorized ADI distributor: http://em.avnet.com/adisharcadsp2146xeetb.

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