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High-integration MIPS processors run Linux

Sep 13, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 5 views

PMC-Sierra has started shipping the first two chips in a new line of MIPS-based SoCs (system-on-chip processors) aimed at networked appliances, storage systems, and security devices. The MSP8100 series SoCs are based on 400MHz cores, consume less than 1.5 Watts, and are available with a development board and Linux toolkit.

PMC-Sierra's “MSP” (multi-service processor) family includes lots MSP7100 parts aimed at broadband gateway devices, a MSP220x family of ARM-based SoCs for network storage and media server devices, and an MSP4200 family described as a “router-on-a-chip.” The company also sells hardware reference designs.

The new MSP8110 and MSP8120 SoCs appear to be aimed at cost-sensitive appliances that nonetheless require significant processing power. Both integrate 400MHz MIPS32 34K cores, and a peripheral interface mix aimed at consumer applications.

PMC-Sierra MSP8100 series architecture diagram
(Click to enlarge)

Peripheral interfaces include a 166MHz DDR1/2 controller, “glueless” local bus interface to x8 flash or a boot ROM, a pair of 10/100 Ethernet MACs, a USB 2.0 host/device controller and PHY, and a 3.3-Volt 32-bit 33/66MHz PCI expansion bus. Additionally, up to twenty GPIO pins can optionally be configured as UART, SPI, TDM, or TWI ports, the company said.

The MSP8120 adds an integrated IPSec hardware acceleration engine.

An evaluation board is also available, as is a PM2429-KIT Linux development kit. The Linux kit is said to include a recent Linux kernel, compiler, performance analysis tool, debugger, kernel tracer, and root file system containing a “complete set” of userland applications, including “Openswan, IPSec VPN gateway, and full-featured SSL OpenVPN server reference implementations.”

The MSP8110 and MSP8120 SoCs have been released to production, the company said. Pricing was not disclosed.

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