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‘Most powerful’ embedded SoC features A15, DSP, M4 cores

Texas Instruments has launched what it says is the most powerful embedded SoCs. The Sitara AM57x range also offers real time processing and a range of multimedia features.

Adrian Valenzuela, marketing director, noted: “We haven’t seen anything like this in the market. It’s a combination of heterogeneous cores, including Cortex-A15, TMS320C66x and Cortex-M4, that has beed designed to support a broad range of customers, but which is also easy to use.”

Five devices have been announced, all manufactured on a 28nm ultra low power process. The AM5726 and 5728 have dual A15 cores and dual C66x DSPs, while the AM5716 and 5718 have single A15 and C66x cores. The A15 cores run at 1.5GHz, while the C66x DSPs are clocked at 750MHz. The fifth part features one A15 core and one C66x, with both cores running at 500MHz.

The A15 and DSP cores are intended for compute applications, while the twin Cortex-M4 cores are paired with a quad core programmable real time unit – or PRU – to handle control operations. Valenzuela noted the control cores ensure deterministic real time processing and low latency I/O.

“The dual A15 and dual DSP cores can handle applications that need a lot of horsepower,” he noted, “while the M4/PRU combination means good latency. And the AM57x is the only general purpose family that can run industrial communications protocols on the processor.”

TI has worked with the Beagleboard organisation to create the BeagleBoard-X15. The device, which features the AM5728 SoC, is likely to retail for around $199 and is expected to ship in the latter part of 2015. Also available is the TMDXEVM5728 evaluation module. The X15 based device adds a 7in capacitive touchscreen and a 3Mpixel camera.

Developers will be able to take advantage of a single SDK for all parts in the range. This will bring the mainline 2015 LTS Linux Kernel 4.1, as well as TI-RTOS and the Linaro tool chain.

Asked whether TI is looking to add ARM v8 based devices to the range, Valenzuela noted that, while there maybe a place for them, there remains a large part of the market which values the Cortex-A15.

Graham Pitcher

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