TI aims for multiple home runs with new low power MCU/DSP devices - Embedded.com

TI aims for multiple home runs with new low power MCU/DSP devices

Houston, Texas – Taking its cue from baseball great Babe Ruth who always pointed out the direction of his next home run, Texas Instruments Inc. today revealed what it is calling a “breakthrough low-power processor roadmap.”

It includes 15 new MCU and DSP devices across four product lines that will be rolling out in the next 12 months. According to John Dixon, a TI Low Power Marketing Manager, the targets of the new roll-outs will fall into three categories:

1) Devices that that draw current from a low power source, such as a USB port;

2) Devices where consumers expect batteries to last an entire work day; and,

3) Devices that consumers expect to function for two or more weeks without a battery change.

“Throughout recent years, customers big and small have approached TI with a focus on pure performance, but there has been a shift in the last year or so and developers' first question is now, 'This is my power budget; how can TI help me do more with it?'” said Gene Frantz, TI principal fellow.

“The answer is somewhat simple – decades of experience allow TI to cut power consumption, improve ease-of-use and drive performance within its architectures through better process technology, peripheral integration, parallel processing, analog, connectivity and power management software and tools.”

In the area of low power and high precision, TI announced new TMS320C674x DSPs. “Using three times less power than existing floating-point DSPs,” said Dixon, “the C674x devices deliver 24-32 bit accuracy and are the industry's lowest power floating-point DSPs.” Slated for delivery in Q4 2008, he said the power consumption is as low as 6 mW in deep-sleep mode and 420 mW total power in active mode.

Offering higher performance at half the power, said Dixon are new C640x DSPs which use half the power of existing high-performance devices in TI's TMS320C6000 DSP platform, giving system designers the ability to add portability to processing-intensive applications including software defined radio, industrial instrumentation and emerging markets.

He said the devices are based on TI's high-performance C64+ core and offer power consumption as low as low as 6 mW in deep-sleep mode and 415 mW total power in active mode. Pin-for-pin and software compatible with various OMAP-L1x and C674x products, the C640x processors will be available in early 2009.

Another category of devices are new OMAP-L1X multimedia applications processors with lower power. Dixon said they are designed to make it easy for developers to integrate feature-rich GUIs as well as networking and touch screen capabilities into their portable designs.

He said the product line includes ARM9 and ARM9-plus-DSP architectures and will offer a variety of peripherals for networking and will run Linux or the DSP/BIOS real-time kernel for operating system flexibility.

Available in early 2009, Dixon said the product line is also pin-for-pin compatible with various devices in the new C674x and C640x product lines with power consumption ranging from 6 mW in deep-sleep mode to 435 mW total power in active mode,.

Designed to maximize battery life, the road map also includes new TMS320C550x devices with large on-chip memory as well as an optimized FFT coprocessor for faster analysis and still cut core power consumption levels to 6.8 microwatts in deep-sleep mode and 46 mW total power in active mode – half the power of existing C5000 devices.

Applications for these devices, said Dixon, include multi-parameter medical, noise reduction headphones and portable audio/music recording devices and will be available in Q1 2009.

“C674x silicon and associated software and tools will begin sampling in Q4 2008 and other product lines will roll out throughout the next 12 months,” said Dixon. Suggested retail pricing will vary by device but will start at less than $9 (100 units), he said. For more information, go to www.ti.com.

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