CAMPBELL, CALIF. Zilog Inc. last week launched a line of embedded microprocessor cores built on its 8-bit Z80 family. The eZ80 Internet engine is a high-performance synthesizable core that delivers embedded access to the Internet and a clear migration path for existing Z80-based customers. The company will license the core beginning in November in an effort to unify the fragmented Z80 market.
"The embedded Internet is the communications medium of the next generation, connecting capabilities around the world. Its potential is unlimited," said Curtis J. Crawford, Zilog's chairman, president and chief executive officer.
The eZ80 will integrate microprocessor and DSP capabilities for Net-ready appliances. MPU and DSP functions traditionally have been available only as separate chips, Crawford said, and solutions thus have often been too expensive to deploy.
The eZ80 family will feature an optimized TCP/IP stack and linear addressing that supports up to 16 Mbytes of addressing space. Zilog offers an up-to-80-Mips processor in an 8-bit architecture. Subsequent versions of the eZ80 will include 16- and 32-bit engines.
The company calls its Internet capability a true TCP/IP stack in a standard product. Whereas a typical TCP/IP implementation requires 250 kbytes of main memory, Zilog said its Internet Engine can accomplish the same capability using less than 64 kbytes.
The company will seek to establish a Zilog-endorsed Z80 standard based on its enhanced eZ80 technology, aimed at a market with an installed base of hundred millions of Z80s and lines of code.
The engine "will unify the highly fragmented Z80 market by delivering scalable products, a licensing program, a certification program and an organizational structure to maintain Zilog's Z80 standard," said Didier Le Lannic, senior vice president and general manager of the communications division.
The eZ80 is four times faster at the same clock speed than traditional Z80s. Addressing space is comparable or superior to that of 16-bit microprocessors, the company said. The signal-processing capability will enable engineers to design applications that require small polynomial calculations, such as filters and security algorithms.
Spinning the eZ80 as a synthesizable core is said to allow rapid porting to any process geometry to tailor cost and performance to market needs. Available configurations include UARTs, DMA, serial I/O (HDLC, LAN and wireless) and analog and digital modems. Also included are A/D and D/A conversion, timers, GP I/O, pulsewidth modulators, real-time clock and I2C.
The first product will ship in early 2000. The 8-bit version will range from $3 to $10, based on the configuration.
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EETInfo No. 611