TI SoCs feature up to 12 ARM and dsp cores

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Texas Instruments has added six new devices to its Keystone multicore SoC range, which it says are the first of their kind to feature ARM Cortex-A15 cores.

The parts are aimed at three areas: general purpose servers; enterprise/industrial applications; and high end networking. Tom Flanagan, director of technical strategy for multicore processors, told New Electronics: "Until now, most A15s have been used in smartphones; this is the first time the core has been applied to infrastructure products." The parts offer from two to 12 cores. At the top end, the 66AK2H12 integrates four A15 cores running at 1.4GHz, eight C66x dsp cores at 1.2GHz and 16Mbyte of embedded sram. Cores and memory are linked by TeraNet, a 256bit wide proprietary interconnect bus capable of running at twice the clock speed. Flanagan said that, rather than turning up the clock speed to get performance, TI decided to use more cores. "They are very small relative to the overall chip size and more cores brings more performance at lower power." All devices feature the Multicore Navigator. "This is a hardware element designed to boost software performance," Flanagan explained. "Developers only need to ask for a style of processing, the Navigator reads this request and cues the appropriate resource." Other elements include security features, packet acceleration and Ethernet connectivity. Samples of the new Keystone parts will be available by the end of 2012. Meanwhile, Flanagan said the newly introduced Cortex-A53 and A57 cores were 'on the road map' and may be in products by 2014.