Texas Instruments may have been beaten in the CPU war, but last week it announced a new 1.6 billion instruction/second VLIW (very long instruction word) DSP that it reckons will do away with Internet bottlenecks.
The TI TMS320C6201 Digital Signal Processor has 10 times the MIPS performance of any DSP previously announced and, according to TI, uses a C compiler "that cuts software development time in half".
But it's not just TI that is excited with the chip; US Robotics is using it in its new 56Kbps modems and is promising that users will be "able to download files 120 times faster than today". Dataquest is also singing the chip's praises. Joseph Grenier, VP of market research at the analyst company, said: "This chip could have a profound affect on the way we communicate."
Jean-Marc Charpentier, TI's European product marketing manager, confirmed that the company had already signed up six or seven customers who are developing various products based around the design. He said:"You can expect to see products using the chip by the end of this year or the beginning of next year. Trials have already begun and they are going well."
Because of its greatly increased speed, it will be possible to create products that will allow callers to use one phone line for regular voice telephone calls and data calls at the same time, negating the need for a separate modem line.
Mike Hames, TI semiconductor group vice president and worldwide DSP manager, said: "We know this performance will eliminate busy signals for the Web user, but it's also not farfetched to see this revolution translate to radical changes such as personal home wireless base stations, a total redefinition of medical diagnostics and cars that run on autopilot - the ultimate in cruise control with radar-based collision avoidance and global positioning systems to map the route to your destination."
TI is and has been the champion of all things DSP for years, so it's not surprising that tit has come up trumps with this design. What is surprising is the unanimous praise for the chip from all the companies we've spoken to.
The DSP can be used in a massive variety of peripheral devices and not just in computers. Romtec, another analyst company, was even talking about security devices that can scan the contours of a face or a hand, enabling keyless locks.
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