PORTLAND, Ore. Freescale Semiconductor will go gunning for Texas Instruments today (April 26) when the Embedded Systems Conference convenes in San Jose, Calif. Freescale claims its new high-end digital-signal processors, based on the SC3850 StarCore DSP core, offer twice the performance, for about half the price, of similar TI DSPs.
TI has long been the king of the hill in DSPs, but Freescale has made a point of aggressively expanding its own technology in an attempt to unseat its rival. Freescale's new MSC825x family is the first to reach the 45-nanometer process node, allowing the lower price, plus the line reportedly adds both performance and features, such as a second serial port, that TI's DSPs lack.
"Our six-core DSP is twice the performance of the highest-performance DSP you can buy from TI but costs 40 percent less," said John Dixon, media and DSP marketing manager at Freescale.
Freescale's scalable architecture enables the low-end, single-core, $75 MSC8251, but the same software also runs on the dual-core MSC8252, four-core MSC8254 and eight-core MSC8256 ($135). The DSPs are already being designed into high-performance applications in medical, aerospace and test/measurement applications, according to Freescale.
The DSPs all fit the same pinout, regardless of core count, and use the same development software, which includes the ability to translate TI's DSP codes to Freescale code. Each Freescale DSP works with the latest DDR memory controllers and a PCI Express interface.
The CodeWarrior development software includes C++, a source-level debugger, core and device simulators, software analysis plug-ins and the royalty-free SmartDSP-OS operating system. Production is slated for this fall, but developers can get started today using the software-compatible MSC8156 model.