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Dual-core SoC includes Linux starter kit

Apr 14, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 10 views

Freescale Semiconductor announced a dual-core, PowerPC-based system-on-chip (SoC) aimed at in-car navigation and other embedded applications. The low-power MPC5123 combines a 400MHz e300 PowerPC core with a 200MHz multimedia coprocessor, and ships with Freescale's… “mobileGT” Linux development environment.

In addition to supporting automotive telematics systems, the MPC5123 can be used in factory automation systems, display kiosks, instrumentation, point-of-sale (POS) systems, power metering, medical monitoring, and other industrial and scientific applications, says Freescale.

The MPC5123 is billed as the next generation of Freescale's MPC5200 line of SoCs, and it appears to be almost identical to the MPC5121e telematics processor announced almost a year ago. The new part adds 128KB of memory. It also has a new display controller supporting wider 1280 x 720 and 1366 x 768 (WXGA) resolutions. In the new model, Freescale also dispensed with the MPC5121e's PowerVR MBX Lite 2D/3D graphics core, manufactured by Imagination Technologies.

Both SoCs are based on the same 400MHz e300 core and 200MHz, user-programmable 32-bit RISC multimedia core, which Freescale calls the Auxiliary Execution Engine (AXE). They are both built with 90-nanometer fabrication technology, and sell at the same price of $20/processor in volume.

The e300 PowerPC core is equipped with a 32KB instruction cache and 32KB data cache, and offers double-precision floating point unit and dual integer units. At 400MHz it delivers 800 MIPS performance, says Freescale.

As with the MPC5121e, the SoC fits on a 27×27 mm PBGA package. Unlike the earlier SoC, it comes equipped with 128KB of on-chip SRAM, as well as embedded memory buffers. The new 24-bit display controller is said to provide 66 Mpixels/sec. graphics throughput and offer three-plane blending.

MPC5123 function block diagram

On-chip peripherals are identical to the MPC5121e, including 10/100 Ethernet, PCI 2.3, SATA (serial advanced technology attachment), PATA (parallel advanced technology attachment), and two USB 2.0 On-The-Go (OTG) modules with an integrated high speed PHY. As with the earlier SoC, the MPC5123 includes also four CAN 2.0A/B modules, 12 programmable serial controllers, three I2C interfaces, and a 64-channel intelligent DMA I/O controller. There is also a Sony/Phillips digital interface format (S/PDIF) serial audio interface, as well as a secure digital host controller (SDHC) supporting MMC/SD/SDIO protocols.

The mobileGT starter kit includes a Linux OS board support package (BSP) and “fully functional” Linux open-source images with source code, using a distribution from Genesi. The kit also includes an open-source tool chain and design documentation.

In August, Freescale announced partners offering support for the earlier MPC5121e, including ALT Software, Green Hills Software, QNX, Tilcon Software. In October, Wind River announced a Linux development kit for the processor, which will presumably be modified for the MPC5123 as well.

Stated Mike Bryars, manager of Freescale's Infotainment, Multimedia and Telematics Operation. “Industrial and embedded system developers are looking for high-performance yet cost-effective processors with a robust peripheral set to help reduce their bill of materials costs and time to market.”


The MPC5123 is expected to sample late in the third quarter, with 10,000-unit quantity prices starting at $20. Development kits bundled with the MPC5123 are expected to sell for $200. More information about the MPC5123 may be found here.

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