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RISC/DSP SoC line runs Linux, targets digital video

Sep 9, 2005 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 5 views

Texas Instruments (TI) will sample chips from a new line targeting digital video applications before year's end. The DaVinci SoCs will feature ARM application processor cores alongside TI's newest C64x+ DSP cores, and will be supported initially under Linux, with other OSes to follow.

In addition to ARM and DSP cores, chips in the DaVinci line will integrate targeted peripherals and accelerators aimed at meeting specific price, performance, and feature requirements for various audio-visual applications, TI says. Chips tailored for the following specific applications are currently in the pipeline:

  • Digital still camera
  • Video telephone
  • IP set-top box
  • Automotive infotainment
  • Video security
  • Portable media players
  • Medical imaging
  • Networked video for emerging applications

Additionally, TI says DaVinci chips will be offered with tools, support, and “OEM-ready” software stacks for specific applications.

DSP component

According to TI, the DaVinci chips will integrate TMS320C6000 DSPs, which are based on TI's newest C64x+ DSP core. The C64x+ cores have previously been available in its C6000 series of standalone DSP chips, which have previously been coaxed into running a modified version of Linux by Israeli startup Softier, a company that TI lists among its partners currently developing software for the DaVinci chips. TI also lists MontaVista as a DaVinci partner.

Jaluna also supports some DSP chips in TI's C6000-series chips with its OSWare platform virtualization product, which lets Linux run alongside the chips' native DSP/BIOS.

Application processor and peripherals

In addition to DSP cores, the DaVinci chips will include ARM-based application processor cores. TI says dual ARM/DSP APIs will allow development teams to leverage existing expertise in the pursuit of innovative product designs based on the chip.

Peripherals and accelerators available in the DaVinci chips will include the following, according to TI:

  • Video acceleration
    • Video I/O processing subsystem
    • Video and imaging accelerator
  • Audio
    • Audio serial port (ASP) for codec interface and communication
  • External memory interfaces
    • Double Data Rate memory DDR2
    • Onboard NAND flash controller
    • NAND/NOR-flash-capable Async EMIF
  • Video display
    • Integrated support for popular resolutions and interfaces
  • Connectivity
    • USB 2.0 High-speed Host and Client Function
    • Full 10/100 Mbps Ethernet MAC
    • Inter-integrated circuit (I2C) Bus interface
    • Special interface for FPGA complement
  • Data storage interfaces
    • ATA (Hard drive)
    • Compact Flash Controller
    • Multimedia Card (MMC) / Secure Digital Card (SD) Controller

Software value-add

TI calls the DaVinci line “the industry's first integrated portfolio” of hardware, software, and tools targeting specific market applications. In support of that statement, the company says it will offer “software frameworks,” described as “complete, application-specific software solutions previously built by OEMs.” It says the frameworks will allow developers to select from a menu of production-ready software, while shielding system designers from the inner workings of the multiprocessing SoC.

Additionally, TI says it and its partners will release the following DaVinci codecs in the months ahead:

  • H.264 encode/decode
  • MPEG4 encode/decode
  • H.263 encode/decode
  • WMV9 encode/decode
  • MPEG2 encode/decode
  • JPEG encode/decode
  • AAC+ decode
  • AAC encode
  • WMA9 encode/decode
  • MP3 decode
  • G.711
  • G.728
  • G.723.1
  • G.729ab

TI CEO Rich Templeton said, “[DaVinci] will accelerate the pace of innovation for the communications and entertainment era.”

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