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Synopsys processors target low-power embedded DSP apps

Posted: 02 Jun 2014     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Synopsys  DSP  processor  Internet of Things  SoC 

Synopsys Inc. has released the DesignWare ARC EM DSP family of processors, which includes the ARC EM5D and EM7D processors geared for low-power embedded digital signal processing applications. The devices are implementations of the latest ARCv2DSP instruction set architecture (ISA), an enhancement to the efficiency-optimised ARCv2 ISA with more than 100 new DSP instructions for accelerating signal processing algorithms, including vector and complex MUL/MAC operations. The ARC MetaWare Development toolkit supports C-language DSP programming with fixed-point data types and operator overloading. ARC EM DSP processors are based on the RISC architecture of the EM processor family, providing the combination of efficient real-time control and DSP performance required for ultra low-power, always-on devices that process audio, voice and sensor data.

The ARC EM DSP processors implement a processing pipeline that offers an optimal balance of performance, power consumption and size for a range of control and DSP applications. The processor cores include a unified, single-cycle 32 x 32 MUL/MAC unit with 40bit/72bit accumulators. To deliver enhanced performance for filtering, fast Fourier transform (FFT) and other signal processing algorithms, the EM5D and EM7D feature fractional support (e.g., Q31 and Q15 data types) with saturating arithmetic, rounding and non-rounding instructions, as well as divide and square root. Vector support provides greater processor efficiency by enabling multiple data values to be processed in a single operation. The ARC EM5D and EM7D processors deliver excellent performance efficiency, consuming as little as 7uW/MHz in a typical 40nm LP process technology. This high degree of performance efficiency makes the cores suited for 'always-on' voice activation in Internet of Things (IoT) applications, noted the company. For example, Sensory Inc.'s TrulyHandsfree Voice Control software consumes less than 4uW when executing Sensory's Low Power Sound Detection technology on an ARC EM5D processor implemented in a 28nm HPM process (logic and memory dynamic power). This enables an integrated hardware-software solution for voice activation and control with ultra-low energy consumption. Like all ARC processors, EM DSP processors are highly configurable so that each instance can be tailored to achieve the optimum balance of DSP and RISC performance as well as power and area efficiency. In addition, ARC Processor EXtensions (APEX) technology allows designers to create user-defined instructions, enabling the integration of custom hardware accelerators that improve application-specific performance while reducing power consumption and the amount of memory required. The ARC processors' extensible architecture also helps minimise system-level latencies and silicon area by enabling memory and SoC peripherals to be directly connected to the processor for single-cycle access. Native ARM AMBA AHB and AHB-Lite as well as BVCI interfaces deliver efficient system throughput. An optional IEEE-754 compliant FPU supporting single- and double-precision operations is also available.

The DesignWare ARC MetaWare Development Toolkit presents itself as a complete solution for developing, debugging and optimising embedded software targeted for ARC processors, including the EM DSP processors. It includes an enhanced C/C++ compiler supporting the DSP instructions for efficient algorithm development. The toolkit also includes a DSP software library of fixed-point math functions and an instruction-accurate simulator that includes accurate modeling of the DSP operations.

ARC EM5D and EM7D processors are scheduled for general availability in July. The associated development tools will be available in June.





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