Samsung's 8-bit micro in stereo

Samsung’s 8-bit micro in stereoRichard Ball
Samsung Electronics has developed an 8-bit microprocessor aimed at battery operated digital consumer products.
Along with its own digital signal processor, the micro could power DVD and MP3 audio players and telephones with automated answering.
Samsung is calling its core ‘CalmRISC’, which it believes hints at low power consumption and enhanced processing speed.
The core runs from 1.5 to 5.5V, drawing just 34?A/MHz at 3V, the company claims. And this is in a relatively old 0.5?m, two layer metal process. At 3V, the core is capable of 20Mips, increasing to 40Mips at 5V.
The core has an ‘in vogue’ Harvard architecture separating program from data memory and executing 45 instructions. Program words are 16-bits long, while data words are 8-bits.
All instructions except long branches are one word in length, leading to good memory efficiency.
The core pipeline has three stages;instruction fetch, memory access and execution/writeback.
Various peripherals are available includingEPROM, EEPROM and flash modules, interrupt controller, 8×8 multiply accumulate (MAC) and 16×16 MAC.
Development of the Risc processor signals a change for Samsung which has traditionally licensed processor technology from other companies.
Korean chipmakers have always relied on imports for basic circuit design technology, Samsung said. The new chip will save the firm paying royalties on licensed technology. It believes CalmRISC alone can generate annual sales of $500m by 2002.


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