TOKYO Renesas Technology Corp. said it will begin sampling its SH2A-Dual series multicore architecture for embedded microcontroller applications in July.
Multicore architectures are being used in CPUs for servers, PCs and specific applications to increase performance while lowering power consumption. "Renesas's multicore solution is, we believe, the first for embedded applications," said Hiroyuki Iwashita, department manager of Renesas MCU product marketing division.
The SH2A-Dual multicore microcontroller integrates two SH2A-FPU microcontrollers that provide 480 Mips and 400 Mflops performance at 200 MHz.
"The dual-core processor can realize high performance comparable to or better than widely used combinations of a controller and a DSP," Iwashita claimed. "The CPU and DSP combination requires software development for both the CPU and DSP. The Renesas dual-core processor has two similar core processors, so the same programmer can develop software using the same development tool. This reduces development time significantly."
SH-DUAL uses a multilayer bus structure, including two layers for each of the two core processors and two layers for the direct-memory access controller. Direct communication between the two cores is supported by both hardware and software for coordinated processing.
Any combination of operating systems can be used in the dual-core architecture, Renasas claimed.
Renesas demonstrated the multicore chip with different operating systems implemented with each core. One used microITRON and another microClinux, a very small Linux kernel. The CPU running Linux controlled server communications and monitored audio playback status. The other CPU running ITRON handled playback of three audio files compressed in WMA, MP3 and AAC formats, simultaneously.
Renesas said it will offer two types of dual-core controllers, one for auto entertainment and another for consumer and industrial applications. Renasas expects overseas demand for its dual-core products to be larger than the domestic market.
Renesas has also developed a quadra-core processor and plans to introduce it next year.