BDTI has released the first independent benchmark results comparing the performance of picoChip's massively parallel PC102 chip to that of high-performance DSP processors and FPGAs.
picoChip is a fabless semiconductor company that sells multi-core chips for wireless infrastructure applications, such as WiMax base stations. The PC102 is based on picoChip's multiple-instruction, multiple-data (MIMD) architecture and contains 308 heterogeneous processor cores and 14 co-processors, all of which run at 160 MHz.
BDTI evaluated the PC102's performance using the BDTI Communications (OFDM) Benchmark. This benchmark is an application-oriented benchmark based on an orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) receiver, as shown in the block diagram below. It is representative of the baseband processing found in many current and emerging wired and wireless communications applications.
(Click to enlarge)
Figure 1: Block diagram for the BDTI Communications Benchmark (OFDM)™.
(Click to enlarge)
Table 1. BDTI Certified high-capacity results for the BDTI Communications Benchmark (OFDM). Data for chips from Xilinx, Altera, and Texas Instruments excerpted from "FPGAs for DSP, Second Edition" © 2006. Results © 2006-2007 BDTI.
As shown in Table 1, the 160 MHz PC102 is able to handle 14 channels of BDTI's OFDM benchmark. The PC102 high-capacity results fall between those of the high-performance FPGA and the high-performance DSP processor, in terms of the number of channels supported and the associated cost per channel. The Texas Instruments high-performance 'C6455 can only handle one channel of the benchmark, which means that the system designer would need to use multiple 'C64x's to implement a multi-channel application, or (more likely) a combination of 'C64x plus an FPGA. The Xilinx FX140, on the other hand, can handle many more channels than the PC102 The FX140 is much more expensive than the PC102, but has a lower cost-per-channel. (As mentioned earlier, the high-capacity results are optimized for maximum channels rather than minimum cost-per-channel.)
For more benchmark results and analysis for the picoChip PC102 chip, see InsideDSP.
TI vs. Xilinx vs. picoChip