MIPS Technologies Introduces New Processor Cores with 32-bit Performance and near 16-bit Code Size
M14K™ and M14Kc™ Cores Combine High Performance, Compact Area and Low Power for Microcontroller and Low-Footprint Embedded Applications
SUNNYVALE, Calif. - MIPS Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: MIPS), a leading provider of industry-standard processor architectures and cores, today introduced a new core family providing the highest levels of system performance for extremely cost-sensitive embedded applications such as 32-bit microcontrollers (MCUs), home entertainment, personal entertainment and home networking. The new MIPS32® M14KTM and M14KcTM cores are the first MIPS32-compatible cores that also execute the new microMIPSTM instruction set architecture (ISA), achieving high performance of
1.5 DMIPS/MHz with an advanced level of code compression. The microMIPS ISA maintains 98% of MIPS32 performance while reducing code size by 35%, translating to significant silicon cost savings.
According to Art Swift, vice president of marketing at MIPS Technologies, “Growing amounts of signal processing and higher speed connectivity are driving up the performance requirements in MCUs and many cost-sensitive embedded applications, while still requiring a very small silicon footprint. We’re enabling our customers to develop high-performance devices in smaller form factors to significantly decrease development costs. We’re pleased to enhance and expand our offering for MCU and system designers with these groundbreaking new cores.”
“MCUs continue to migrate towards 32-bit to address the needs of more sophisticated, performance-intensive applications,” said Tony Massimini, chief of technology, Semico Research. “Processors that support 32-bit MCUs and other high-performance, low-footprint embedded devices must not only provide the requisite performance and right feature set, but they also need to be extremely compact to keep flash memory and silicon costs down. This enables smaller die area which allows for further integration. The specifications of the new M14K cores suggest great promise for the next generation of these devices.”
The M14K Core for Microcontrollers
The M14K core combines high performance with an advanced level of code compression for the 32-bit MCU market, achieving performance of 1.5 DMIPS/MHz and 180 MHz in 130nm. The M14K core offers advanced features that are optimized for MCU and real-time embedded applications, including reduced interrupt latency, flash acceleration, advanced debug features including iFlowTraceTM and support for AHB Lite as the interconnect interface. Designed on the MIPS32 4K® micro-architecture that is already proven in hundreds of millions of SoCs, the M14K core is highly configurable and extendable, offering a wide range of implementation options to minimize cost and maximize reusability.
“Microchip is delighted to see continued innovation and commitment from MIPS Technologies in the 32-bit MCU market. The new M14K and M14Kc cores, and the microMIPS ISA offer enhancements important to MCU users, including even faster interrupt latency and smaller code size,” said Sumit Mitra, vice president, High Performance Microcontroller Division, Microchip Technology. “Microchip is pleased with the enthusiastic acceptance of its MIPS-based PIC32 MCU family offering best-in-class performance. As with our 8-bit and 16-bit microcontroller businesses, Microchip is committed to a long term roadmap with our MIPS-based 32-bit MCU products.”
The M14Kc Core for High Performance, Low Footprint Applications
The M14Kc core builds on the base M14K core with additional features for embedded applications such as home entertainment, home networking and personal mobile entertainment. These applications require a compact footprint but also the ability to execute increasingly complex software algorithms on an RTOS or Linux. Based on the popular MIPS32 4KEcTM micro-architecture, which provides a powerful Linux and Java engine and superior performance for the Android platform, the M14Kc core has a full cache controller and translation lookaside buffer (TLB) memory management unit (MMU).
microMIPS ISA for Advanced Code Compression
At the heart of the M14K and M14Kc cores is the new microMIPS ISA that offers 32-bit performance with 16-bit code size for most instructions. The microMIPS ISA combines recoded and new 16- and 32-bit instructions to achieve an ideal balance of performance and code density. It incorporates all MIPS32 instructions and Application Specific Extensions (ASEs) including MIPS-3D® ASE, MIPS DSP ASE, MIPS MT ASE and SmartMIPS® ASE, as well as new instructions for advanced code size reduction. The microMIPS ISA is backward compatible, enabling reuse of optimized MIPS micro-architecture. With smaller memory accesses and efficient use of the instruction cache, the microMIPS ISA also helps to reduce system power consumption.
Ecosystem and Tool Support
MIPS Technologies is providing complete software development tool support for the new M14K and M14Kc cores, with the Eclipse-based MIPS NavigatorTM Integrated Component Suite (ICS) and System NavigatorTM probes for debugging. MIPS Technologies is also working with leading third party software vendors for broad tool and OS support.
“With Sourcery G++TM, CodeSourcery’s industry-leading software development environment based on the GNU Toolchain and the Eclipse IDE, we already support the entire range of MIPS32 cores, and we will soon be providing support for the M14K and M14Kc cores (including the new MicroMIPS ISA) as well,” said Mark Mitchell, chief sourcerer, CodeSourcery. “We are pleased to continue our partnership with MIPS Technologies to deliver the tools MIPS developers need to quickly bring products to market.”
“The new MIPS32 M14K and M14Kc cores and microMIPS ISA provide the ultimate platforms to leverage the low power and high performance characteristics of the Nucleus OS,” said Glenn Perry, general manager of the Embedded Systems Division of Mentor Graphics. “Combining cores like the M14Kc with Mentor’s multiOS solutions for Linux, Android and Nucleus will enable our mutual customers to develop innovative multi-OS solutions with world-class support and performance quality from Mentor Graphics.”
“Express Logic’s ThreadX® RTOS is ideal for deeply embedded systems where small code size and real-time performance are critical, and the microMIPS ISA appears to be a great fit for enabling the next generation of these systems,” said William E. Lamie, president and CEO ExpressLogic. “With ThreadX on MIPS cores, developers have a powerful solution to help them get to market quickly. We have worked closely with MIPS Technologies for many years, and we’re continuing that work with them on microMIPS and the M14K family.”
“Micrium currently provides embedded software support for the MIPS32 architecture with our small-footprint µC/OS-II RTOS,” said Christian Legare, Micrium vice president. “Micrium is known for saving precious design time, resulting in a substantial cost advantage for such embedded applications as industrial, medical and automotive. With its M14K core, MIPS Technologies offers a unique value proposition for developers in these markets. Micrium recognizes the benefits and importance of porting to the M14K core.”
“We recently announced support for MIPS32 cores in our new MontaVista Linux 6 Market Specific Distributions (MSDs), offering a tailored combination of features and functionality specific for those cores. MontaVista Linux 6 will also provide support for the M14Kc core to enable MIPS developers to quickly create differentiated products by building on an optimized, commercial-quality embedded Linux,” said Scott Mullarkey, vice president, worldwide business development, MontaVista Software.
“With Timesys LinuxLink support for the complete family of MIPS32 cores, including the new M14Kc core, MIPS Technologies’ licensees can provide Linux solutions for their processors and reference platforms within days,” said Maciej Halasz, director of product management at Timesys. “Licensees can quickly assemble Linux images for reference kits, while their OEM customers can accelerate their time-to-market and build Linux-based products for a wide range of applications through the unique productivity features in the LinuxLink software development framework. We are pleased to extend our comprehensive support for the MIPS architecture by adding LinuxLink support for this new core.”
MIPS will also provide both accurate and fast simulation models for the M14K and M14Kc cores. SoC developers can leverage 100% cycle accurate models-built with technology from Carbon Design Systems-for verification in SystemC and co-simulation environments. Software developers can also take advantage of fast instruction set simulators-developed in conjunction with Imperas-for use in software development and virtual platforms.
“We are pleased to provide MIPS Technologies with our Carbon Model Studio tools to generate cycle accurate models of its new cores,” said Bill Neifert, CTO and vice president, business development, Carbon Design Systems. “With models of the M14K and M14Kc cores created using Carbon’s leading technology, SoC developers get 100 percent cycle accurate models that work in many different design environments, enabling accurate architectural analysis and pre-silicon performance analysis.”
“We are working together with MIPS to create MIPS-VerifiedTM instruction-accurate models of its newest cores that MIPS will provide to its licensees,” said Simon Davidmann, CEO of Imperas. “With our instruction accurate simulation technology and these models, developers can simulate complete embedded systems running real application code at very fast speeds on typical desktop PCs-helping them get to market quickly at the lowest possible cost.”
About MIPS Technologies, Inc.
MIPS Technologies, Inc. (NasdaqGS: MIPS) is a leading provider of industry-standard processor architectures and cores that power some of the world’s most popular products for the home entertainment, communications, networking and portable multimedia markets. These include broadband devices from Linksys, DTVs and digital consumer devices from Sony, DVD recordable devices from Pioneer, digital set-top boxes from Motorola, network routers from Cisco, 32-bit microcontrollers from Microchip Technology and laser printers from Hewlett-Packard. Founded in 1998, MIPS Technologies is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, with offices worldwide. For more information, contact (408) 530-5000 or visit www.mips.com.
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