ADI puts floating point Sharc DSP into the embedded mainstream

Analog Devices (ADI) has introduced a multi-core Sharc DSP device which it believes will remove the power limitations of using floating point DSP for highly determinisitic audio processing.

As a result it aims to encourage wider use of floating point DSP in real-time processing applications which currently try to use a system CPU, typically ARM-based processors.

To do this ADI has integrated two Sharc DSP cores with an ARM Cortex-A5 processor to management the extended interface peripherals, on a 40nm low power TSMC process.ADI puts floating point Sharc DSP into the embedded mainstream

“There is still a big need for real-time algorithm processing and the performance and power penalties of floating point DSP are so small now we see it being increasingly used instead of fixed point DSP,” said Colin Duggan, director applications marketing in ADI’s processor group.

Duggan believes the power budget of floating point DSP – this latest chip comes in at under 2W – will make designers consider the benefits of DSP instead of off-loading processing to the ARM-based CPU.

“There are clearly real-time limitations for ARM and the DSP architecture is tailored for the task,” said Duggan.

The hope is that the benefits of floating point DSP will now be considered for the ARM-based embedded processing market which is power sensitive and communications heavy.

The design aim of the ADSP-SC58x dual-core Sharc DSP was to keep overall power consumption under 2W.

This also includes a higher speed fast Fourier transform (FFT) accelerator in chip.

There is also a chip without the Cortex-A5 if you need to add increased DSP capability without the controller.

“It is a 24GFLOPS highly deterministic processor which is good for audio processing,” said Duggan. “But we recognised the Sharc was not efficient at running the system protocol stacks so we incorporated a Cortex-A5.”


For more detail: ADI puts floating point Sharc DSP into the embedded mainstream

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