Santa Clara, Calif. Tensilica, Inc. has unveiled its Xenergy estimator, an energy estimator for Xtensa configurable processor and Diamond Standard processor users. By using the Xenergy tool to optimize for energy early in the System On Chip (SOC) design cycle, designers can cut processor and local memory energy requirements by up to half by making intelligent design trade-offs, said the company.
Tensilica said the new tool addresses the growing need to pro-actively reduce power consumption and to create energy-efficient embedded systems particularly for portable, battery-powered devices such as cell phones and personal media players as well as home entertainment and networking devices. The Xenergy tool will enable designers to estimate the overall energy impact of different processor configurations and extensions along with application code tuning on each processor with its memory subsystem, said the company.
Tensilica said the total energy to complete a task (power dissipated over time taken for the task to complete) can be significantly reduced by customizing a Tensilica Xtensa processor.
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The chart above shows the impact of extending the processor and tuning the C code, but does not assume changes in basic software algorithm, changes in memory sizes or use of assembly code, said the company.
The Xenergy energy estimator works by computing a power-consumption estimation per-cycle for each different instruction of an Xtensa configurable processor or Diamond Standard processor. Designers can immediately see the effect on total energy consumption when they add configuration options (multipliers, DSP engines, a floating point unit, and other configuration choices) and designer-defined instructions. They can see the effect of different interface options as well as memory subsystem options.
The Xenergy energy estimator is also useful for optimizing software, even on completed chips where the processor whether it is an Xtensa configurable processor or a Diamond Standard core cannot be changed. Traditionally, software developers tune their code for performance or code size using Tensilica's standard profiling tools. The Xenergy tool will allow them to fine tune their C code to reduce energy dissipation by the processor and its memories.
Pricing: For users of the Diamond Standard series processors, pricing for the Software Development Kit starts at $1,000 per seat/year for a node locked license. For Xtensa processor users, pricing for a Software Development Kit starts at $2,000 per seat/year for a floating node tool seat.
Availability: The Xenergy tool is available now as part of a Tensilica Software Development Kit license, which includes all software development tools, the instruction set simulator, and the Xtensa Xplorer design environment.
Product information: www.tensilica.com/products/x7_low_power.htm
Tensilica, Inc., 1-408-986-8000, www.tensilica.com