San Jose--Sept. 29, 1999--Altera Corp. (San Jose) and Tensilica, Inc. (Santa Clara, Calif.) announced theavailability of Tensilica's 32-bit Xtensa microprocessor core for Altera'sApex 20K family of PLDs. Beginning inQ4, the Apex-optimized core will be accessible through Tensilica'sWeb-based Xtensa Processor Generator that allows designers to select theApex architecture as the target silicon technology. Designers will be able toexecute multiple design iterations without charge, making area, speed, power,and code density design tradeoffs based on real-time feedback from thegenerator. When the optimal configuration is determined, the designer will beable to license and download the Apex-tailored netlist that is then ported tothe Altera design environment and implemented on an Apex embeddedprogrammable logic device.
The Xtensa configurable processor is a 32-bit synthesizable CPU core basedupon a rich instruction set architecture. Using Tensilica Instruction Extension("TIE") language, designers can incorporate their own system-specificinstructions to further customize their design. Designers can modify the featureset of the processor, including cache sizes, write buffer sizes, address and databus widths, and other core parameters.
One of the most important features of Xtensa is the automated creation of acomplete software development tool environment individually tailored to eachprocessor configuration. Tensilica's software development suite features aC/C++ compiler, an assembler, a linker, a debugger, a cycle-accurateinstruction-set simulator, and a code profiler.
The Xtensa microprocessor core has been optimized for the Apex 20K400device and higher-density devices. The EP20K400 device is fabricated on a0.25-µm (drawn), six-layer metal SRAM process and features 16,640 logicelements, 104 embedded system blocks, and up to 1,664 macrocells and212,992 bits of on-chip RAM for a combined total of approximately 400,000gates, or a maximum of 1,052,000 system gates.
Tensilica's Xtensa AMPP microprocessor core is available directly throughTensilica. The Xtensa will be available with the features selection andtest-drive options through Tensilica's Web site in Q4 1999. The license fee forthe use of the Xtensa IP under the Altera AMPP program is $74,000 for asingle-node one-year royalty free license.
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