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Enhanced DSPs deliver higher performance

Posted: 14 Nov 2006     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Texas Instruments  TI  Aureus  signal processors  DA710 

Texas Instruments Inc. (TI) has enhanced its Aureus generation of audio digital signal processors by offering a higher speed memory interface for the DA710 and DA708 devices, as well as higher CPU performance. As home theatre systems transition to blue laser technology, TI's Aureus processors are the first to support Dolby Digital Compatible Output technology, which enables next-generation optical disc (HD DVD and Blu-ray) players to deliver a 640kbps Dolby Digital encoded surround sound signal and compatible playback through any existing Dolby Digital equipped audio/video receiver (AVR) with a digital audio input (S/PDIF or optical).

TI's Aureus generation of processors target a wide range of home theatre and automotive products which require multi-channel decoding and high-speed encoding, including: HD televisions, home media servers, automotive jukeboxes, MP3 player docking stations and emerging HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc equipment.

The Aureus generation of DSPs, including the upgraded DA710 and DA708, is optimal for emerging applications, such as audio mixing and re-encoding in HD DVD or Blu-ray Disc players. TI supports this market with production-ready multi-channel audio encoders, such as Dolby Digital Compatible Output technology, offering a simple, cost-effective way for consumer electronics manufacturers to guarantee playback of a Dolby Digital surround sound signal through tens of millions of Dolby Digital equipped legacy audio-video receivers on the market.

Using a DA7xx DSP, the mixing and re-encoding functions can be implemented in a single device. The mixing function is necessary for next generation optical disc players supporting dual audio streams. Mixing a secondary audio stream with a primary audio stream, such as a movie soundtrack enables new applications, including downloading a stream of secondary director's commentary or commercial content over a broadband Internet connection. A DA7xx DSP is capable of mixing primary and secondary audio streams, even if they have different sample rates, as well as a third audio stream for controls or "button sounds." Because it can handle several audio streams, the DA7xx DSP can accommodate audio enhancements, such as virtualisation or surround sound technology for headphones.

Many audio algorithms and advanced processing features are memory-intensive and therefore require access to external memory. For example, effects such as reverb or virtualisation use long delay buffers, which exceed the capacity of internal memory resources. The enhanced devices increase SDRAM access bandwidth up to 133MHz with processor speeds of 300MHz and 275MHz for the DA710 and 266MHz for the DA708. Faster external memory access decreases processing latency of delay buffers, improving overall codec performance and audio quality.

Increased memory interface bandwidth also improves performance for algorithm and application updates. When the software for an existing product is upgraded, such as to support a new algorithm or new functionality, the new code and data cannot be stored in the DSP's on-chip ROM. In most cases, it is stored in external memory. Increasing memory bandwidth drastically reduces the impact that this external code and data have on algorithm performance.

The DA710 devices with 133MHz memory interface are available now in an industry standard GDH package. The 300MHz DA710 costs Rs.999.52 ($21.63) each, while the 275MHz DA710 costs Rs.741.67 ($16.05) each, both in quantities of 10,000 or more. The 266MHz DA708 with a 133MHz memory interface is available in an RFP package and costs Rs.624.76 ($13.52) each in quantities of 10,000 or more.

The DA710 and DA708 also are available for automotive applications that are Q100 qualified and rated for operation in extended temperatures. The DA710 for automotive applications provides 275MHz, while the DA708 offers 250MHz. Both devices have the enhanced 133MHz SDRAM interface.

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