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Embedded MPU enables advanced multimedia

Posted: 10 May 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:embedded microprocessor  multimedia  ARM Cortex-A9 

STMicroelectronics unveils the SPEAr1340, an embedded microprocessor with dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 offering advanced multimedia capabilities aimed at a broad range of smart connected devices, from high-resolution video-conferencing to intelligent displays and web-connected devices.

ST's SPEAr1340 integrates a powerful ARM Mali 200 graphics processing unit for advanced 2D and 3D acceleration in user interfaces, navigation systems, browsing, and gaming. The device also embeds a hardware video encoder and a decoder supporting major compression standards (including H.264, AVS and VP8), with video resolution up to 1080p and 30 frames per second. The SPEAr1340 can also handle multiple concurrent video flows (4 camera inputs available) in multimedia-intensive applications like surveillance video cameras.

The hardware implementation of graphics and video capabilities in the SPEAr1340 enables multimedia performance at ultra-low power consumption, while maintaining the two Cortex-A9 cores available for performing concurrent tasks as requested by the users. With its multiple interfaces, including I2S and S/PDIF, the SPEAr1340 also provides audio capabilities, handling up to 7.1 surround-sound configurations in both input and output paths.

In security, the SPEAr1340 integrates a multi-standard cryptographic engine and One Time Programmable (OTP) registers for unique identification and external flash memory anti-tamper protection.

Manufactured in ST's low-power 55nm HCMOS (high-speed CMOS) process technology, the SPEAr1340 combines the low-power and multi-processing capabilities of two ARM Cortex-A9 cores while using Network-on-Chip (NoC) technology.

The dual ARM Cortex-A9 processors support both symmetric and asymmetric operations, at speeds of 600MHz/core (industrial worst-case conditions) for 3000 DMIPS equivalent. NoC is said to be a flexible communications architecture providing 'Quality of Service' (QoS) for the whole system as it enables multiple different traffic profiles while maximising data power performance.

The SPEAr1340 has also 1x Giga/Fast Ethernet ports (for external GMII/RGMII/MII PHY); 1x PCIe/SATA Gen2 links (with embedded PHY); 2x USB 2.0 host ports with integrated PHYs; 1x USB2.0 OTG port with integrated PHY; I2S, UARTs, SPI, I2C ports; HD display controller with touch screen and overlay windows capabilities; memory card controller; 6x6 keyboard controller; 4x camera inputs; 4bit parallel-port video input; 2x Consumer Electronic Control (CEC) ports; secure boot and key storage capabilities; and power-saving.

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