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Programmable SoCs?

The scene: a top-secret conference room in the West of England.

Present: a group of high-powered technical guys.

Topic: The next stage in project X

 

We are now shipping quantities of project X. The press are going to start asking where we go next

We will soon be able to announce that Sony is using an 8 core device in their new headphone amplifier.

That’s good

And we are going to give away 2500 startKits and then sell more for only $14.99.

That’s good as well, but we need to push the technology even more.

We can add more cores?

We have committed to doing that.

We could add a different core.

Why?

People are using our products as an add-on for a standard processor. We provide specialist I.O. and also DSP and then an ARM based device runs the application.

So?

We could add an ARM core to our product.

How do we add an ARM.?

Well rather than implement one, ourselves we should talk to Energy Micro. They have some very low power Cortex-M3 processors. We can put in an interface between our xCONNECT switch and the ARM interface and it will look like just another core to our logical cores. Bang in some Flash and with ARM’s own memory and the xCORE RAM and then we have what is really a programmable  System on Chip, with a huge range of different interfaces available through software and 100#% timing determination. And it will be very low power so it can be used in battery operated devices

We can launch it in October 2013 in time for ARM Techcon.

And that is what those clever people at XMOS have done, despite Energy Micro becoming part of Silicon Labs (The joy of a fast moving industry) And if you want a sample they are now shipping samples for the top end xCORE–XA the XAU8-1024 with seven virtual cores and a Cortex M3, producing 500 MIPs performance with a typical power consumption of around 50 mA., 192KB of SRAM, 1024 KB of Flash, 38 I.0., and USB 3.0. There are multiple levels of stand-by with the lowest drawing only 100 nA.

You can see more at

http://www.xmos.com/products/silicon/xa-series

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