HOUSTON -- Aiming to push deeper into embedded systems applications, Texas Instruments Inc. today introduced two new digital signal processors, which integrate TI's TSM320C5000 DSP core and an ARM7 Thumb RISC processor from ARM Ltd.
The system-level processors operate at 100 MHz and deliver 100 million instructions per second (MIPS) performance. The processors have 72 kilowords of SRAM, with 8-Kwords shared between the DSP and 47.5-MHz ARM7 cores.
The DSP/RISC integrated processors are aimed at real-time applications, such as text-to-speech systems, wireless data products, voice recognition, and network security. Lucent Technologies Inc. is using the system-level processors to develop a wireless telematics unit for vehicles, said TI managers in Houston.
To help embedded system designers expand their use of DSP, TI is collaborating with RidgeRun Inc., a supplier of an embedded Linux operating systems for products using both RISC and DSP. In fact, TI and RidgeRun said their collaboration will resulted in an "out-of-the-box experience" for designers using the TMS320C5470 and C5471 processors.
"We are excited about the opportunity in working with the operating system manufacturers to open up the traditional DSP market to a whole new set of programmers, who are used to working with RISC-based embedded systems," said Dennis Barrett, product marketing manager for TI's C5000 DSP series. RidgeRun's package is the first to become available, but TI is also planning to offer embedded operating system support from other suppliers, such as Wind River Systems Inc. and Accelerated Technology Inc.
RidgeRun's engineering team came from Hewlett-Packard Co., where the staff worked on laser printers, developing products with embedded operating systems and firmware, noted Rick Seger, vice president of sales at the Boise, Idaho-based company. RidgeRun's DSPLinux operating system runs on the RISC side of TI's new processors while continuing to provide a real-time bios environment for digital signal processing algorithms.
"To make it easy for Linux programmers, we put a 'stub' of Linux on the DSP core so that an engineer familiar with Linux calls will be able to work with programs on the DSP side of the design," Seger told SBN. "This will open up the door to any TI algorithms that are in the market.
"Rather than having to hire a bunch of DSP engineers, your Linux programmers now have the ability to take advantage of the DSP," he added. "On the DSP side of the processor, we do the same thing--enabling the DSP to recognize Linux commands. It can make references and gain access to resources on the RISC side of the system-level processors, whether it is accessing a register or executing a function."
The DSPLinux and support package is "an out-of-the-box complete solution with all of the device drivers, plus a whole suite of utilities for building out a target system," Seger said.
The DSP portion of the C5471 architecture contains two multi-channel buffered serial ports, direct memory access controller, phase-locked loop (PLL), external memory interface, interrupt handler and ARM interface. On the ARM side of the C5471 are memory interface, single-port 10/100 Base-T Ethernet, general purpose I/O, UARTs, serial port interface, I2C interface, 16-Kbytes of zero wait-state SRAM and other functions. It is priced at $17.57 each in 10,000-piece quantities.
The C5470 is similar to the C5471, but without the 10/100 Ethernet block. It will sell for $15.50 each in quantities of 10,000.
A development bundle for the C5471 includes an evaluation module from Spectrum Digital and RidgeRun's DPSLinux board support package is priced at $8,999. The development bundle for the C5470 sells for $7,499.
--J. Robert Lineback