TI to add comms links to C6000 DSP family

TI to add comms links to C6000 DSP family
Roy Rubenstein Texas Instruments (TI) will add communication links to its C6000 high-end family of DSPs to support multiprocessor applications. The links could be based on the FireWire digital interface standard. “We’ve been working on it for quite some time and we have a specification,” said Jean-Marc Darchy, TI’s European DSP marketing manager. “They will be in products in two years’ time.” According to Darchy, the data transfer scheme used by the links will differ from current DSPs such as Analog Devices’ Sharc and TI’s own TMS320C4x. “Packet-based data is one approach [being looked at], much more serial than parallel data transfer is another,” said Darchy. He pointed to the FireWire digital interface as an example of what can be done with fast serial buses. “I do not believe it [the C6x links] will be a FireWire-based solution but it’s still a possibility.” The attraction of a serial design is that designing a parallel bus switching at 400MHz “is going to be nightmare”. Darchy would not be drawn as to how many links would be used on-chip. “We’re not at that stage yet. The problem is not how many we put on – it’s a very small silicon size – but the technical use for this link.” The C6000 DSP family, while addressing the same multiple DSP applications as the Sharc and the C4x, does not currently feature point-to-point communications due to the DSP’s complexity. This has not impeded the design of multiprocessor C6x systems, claimed Darchy: “[UK firm] Hunt Engineering has come up with an innovative solution which uses the capability of the [C6x’s] double external interface.” This involves using shared memory surrounded by a serial port communications ring.


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