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SoCs target sub-$70 Linux-based NAS, media servers

Nov 28, 2005 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 7 views

PMC-Sierra is shipping four highly integrated ARM-based system-on-chip (SoC) processors targeting sub-$70 (without drives) network storage and media server devices. The MSP220x SoCs are supplied with a Linux 2.4.18 BSP (board support package) and NAS stack, with media server software from Mediabolic optionally available.

PMC-Sierra has previously shipped MIPS-based “MSP” processors targeting VoIP applications. The company acquired its MSP (multi-service processor) line from Brecis last year, with an eye toward the “triple-play” market for integrated video, voice, and data technology. The MSP line was originally launched by Brecis in April of 2003.

All four of the new MSP-series chips are based on an ARM9 RISC core clocked at 175MHz. Each integrates a 10/100 Ethernet MAC, along with hardware accelerators that offload TCP/IP and cryptographic functions from the processor. All four also include an MMU (memory management unit), and an external memory controller supporting up to 16MB of Flash, and 128MB of SDRAM. Onboard I/O includes a USB 1.1 host port, and 32 lines of GPIO (general-purpose I/O).

Specific models are differentiated as follows:

PMC-Sierra says the new MSP chips are available as “comprehensive solutions” that include application software and reference designs. For example, the chips are optionally available with DLNA-compliant media server software from Mediabolic, it says.

PMC-Sierra's VP of communications products marketing, Dino Bekis, said, “The expansion of triple play-bundled services from carriers, along with the rapid growth of content-intensive applications such as digital music, photos, recorded TV shows and home movies, is driving the demand for easy-to-use storage solutions. Incorporating Mediabolic's software enables our solution to interoperate with a wide array of entertainment products.”

Michael Greeson, president of analyst firm The Diffusion Group, said, “TDG anticipates that by 2010, the total number of NAS devices in homes will exceed 15 million units. PMC-Sierra's MSP220x processor series is positioned to address this growth with a cost-effective offering.”

Mediabolic has previously partnered with other storage processor vendors, including Broadcom, Toshiba, and IBM.

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