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New MIPS-based SOC supports Embedded Linux

Sep 28, 2001 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

San Jose, CA — (press release excerpt) — ArTile Microsystems, Inc. has announced the first in a MIPS-based high-performance system-on-chip (SOC) family that targets the convergence of consumer digital media and information applications. The TMPR7901B incorporates a multimedia-enhanced RISC processor core with instruction and data cache memories, PCI and Ethernet interfaces, timers, and memory… controllers into a single device. The combination provides the essential core of an information and media-handling system with industry-standard interfaces for expansion and customization of the end product.

The TMPR7901B provides a starting point for developing high-end consumer devices that combine digital media and information access. “As the lines start to blur between information and entertainment, there will be a convergence of products such as set-top boxes and residential gateways,” says Jim Smith, ArTile's director of business development.

The 790X family and customer derivatives start with the C790, a 128-bit MIPS-compatible RISC processor core with multiply-accumulate and bit-manipulation instruction enhancements. On the TMPR7901B device, the core comes with dual 32-kbyte, 2-way set-associative caches for instruction and data on chip, and a 1Gbyte SDRAM memory controller with DMA access for high-speed external memory access.

The device also has a dual 10/100 Mbps Ethernet MAC, two separate PCI controllers (33 MHz and 66 MHz), and three 24-bit timer-counters. The presence of the PCI bus bridges on-chip solves a system bottleneck that has compromised the performance of other, two-chip solutions. A dual UART and a 16-line interrupt controller complete the TMPR7901's bundle.

Software support for the family is available for popular operating systems and development tools. The Linux operating system is supported now, with plans to include Wind River VxWorks, QNX, and Windows CE in the near term. The Cygnus development tools, including the GNU tools, the GDB debugger and the GCC compiler, work with the core processor. ArTile also offers a debug monitor program and drivers for all on-chip peripherals.

The TMPR7901B is sampling 200 MHz versions now with production availability scheduled for 1Q 2002. The cost is under $40 (10k pieces) in a 420-pin PBGA package with price breaks for higher volumes. Customer-specific implementations are also available.

Future family members will include higher-speed versions and enhancements to the peripheral mix that will meet specific market needs while preserving system software investments.

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