ARM yesterday released details of a low cost chip family that will bring 400Mips plus performance to set top boxes, organisers and smartphones.
The ARM10T processor cores are designed to be portable to 0.25, 0.18 micron processes and beyond, and prototypes will be available in the middle of next year.
The ARM10T, or 'Thumb,' is binary compatible with the earlier ARM7T, ARM9T and Strong ARM families. Like previous Thumbs uses a compressed 16-bit extra instruction set which allows it to deliver 32-bit performance at 16-bit prices. The latest version has an optional vector floating point unit capable of delivering 600Mflops.
"The ARM10T processor offers our customers the next level of flexibility. They can choose an ARM solution for every level of performance," said Robin Saxby, ARM chief executive.
Dave Jaggar, lead architect of the ARM10 Thumb Family and VFP10 coprocessor development, described the ideas behind the new processor family: "To keep the area and power down, we avoided the complexity and cost of a full superscalar machine. We still achieved our performance objectives by exploiting unique features of the ARM architecture to achieve a high degree of internal parallelism from a single-issue machine.
?The vector floating point instruction set is completely new, so we had the opportunity to design something very fast, yet very lean, by considering the algorithms required by the key applications and applying the available silicon where it really made a difference.?
He continued: "At these clock frequencies the cache and memory interface designs have an enormous effect on performance, so we've gone to the next level of sophistication in those areas too."
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