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Linux-ready SoCs add multi-protocol support

Dec 7, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 14 views

Freescale Semiconductor announced two Linux-ready system-on-chips based on its PowerPC-driven QorIQ platform. The QorIQ P1012 and dual-core P1021 SoCs are similar to Freescale's QorIQ P1013 and P1022 processors, respectively, but add the company's microcode programming QUICC engine, which supports customers using legacy multi-protocol interfaces, says the company.

The new single-core QorIQ P1012 and dual-core QorIQ P1021 processors are suited for multi-service gateways, Ethernet switch controllers, wireless LAN access points, and general purpose control processor applications with tight thermal constraints, says Freescale. As with other QorIQ processors, the SoCs are manufactured with 45nm process technology, and ship with Linux BSPs.

Except for the addition of QUICC and a few minor I/O differences, the P1012 and P1021 are identical to the pin-compatible QorIQ P1022/P1013 SoCs that were announced in September, along with the more powerful, eight-core QorIQ P4080. The P1022/P1013 processors are in turn based on a pair of P1010 and P1020 SoCs that began sampling earlier this year, and were touted for offering greater power efficiency and power management capabilities.

In October, Freescale hinted that the P1022 would be the second PowerPC processor to support an Android port to PowerPC developed by Mentor Graphics, after an initial deployment on Freescale's PowerQUICC III MPC8536.

Whereas the P1013 and P1022 offer single- or dual cores, respectively, ranging from 600MHz to 1GHz, the QUICC-enabled P1012 and P1021 have their e500 cores clocked from 533MHz to 800MHz, reflecting their legacy focus. Like the previous generation, they offer high-speed PCI Express interconnects, but with only two lanes instead of three. They also similarly provide hardware and security acceleration, power management features, 256KB L2 cache, and DDR2/3 memory options, says the company. (See the block diagram below, as well as the diagram for the P1022/P1013 farther down, for comparison.)

Block diagram for the new P1021 and P1012
(Click to enlarge)

Unlike the earlier processors, the P1012 and P1021 lack SATA interconnects, but they offer SD/MMC controllers, and they support three gigabit Ethernet interfaces instead of two. The SoCs support SGMII and USB 2.0, as well as legacy interfaces and protocols including T1/E1, xDSL, ATM, and HDLC, says Freescale.

Block diagram for the earlier P1022 and P1013
(Click to enlarge)

The key addition is the QUICC Engine technology, which was introduced with the MPC8360E PowerQUICC II Pro processor, and has since been integrated in all of the company's PowerQUICC processors. QUICC offers a microcode programmable engine for offloading network protocol processing from the primary PowerPC and DSP cores, and enables support for a variety of industrial interfaces and protocols. Specific benefits include the ability to provide both data- and control-plane processing, eliminating the need for separate FPGAs (field programmable gate arrays) or ASICs, says the company.

The new SoCs are pin-compatible with existing QorIQ P1 and P2 products, and software-compatible with several Freescale PowerQUICC II Pro and PowerQUICC III processors, including the MPC8323, MPC8358, MPC8360 and MPC8569, says Freescale. They are also compatible with Freescale's networking security stack Vortiqa, says the company.

Stated Brett Butler, VP and GM of Freescale's Networking Processor Division, "Freescale's newest QorIQ products provide a cost-effective solution for customers transitioning to all-IP environments, while still addressing legacy interface compatibility requirements."


Development boards and third party enablement tools are now available for the P1012 and P1021 SoCs, says Freescale. Both processors are expected to sample to select customers in January, with broad sampling planned for the second quarter of 2010, and production quantities due next December. Pricing is available upon request. (The similar QorIQ P1022 is expected to begin sampling in early 2010, with a suggested resale price of $42.41 in 10K quantities.)

More information may be found here.

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