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Freescale unleashes industry’s highest performing DSP core for medical, aerospace and test/measurement applications


Fully programmable MSC825x DSP family scales from one to six cores; helps lower system cost as much as 50 percent

AUSTIN, Texas - Freescale Semiconductor has introduced a family of programmable digital signal processors (DSPs) that delivers the optimal blend of low cost and high performance for a broad range of applications in the medical, aerospace/defense and test/measurement markets. Based on the industry-leading performance of Freescale’s SC3850 StarCore® DSP core, the MSC825x family of scalable DSPs offers more performance and functionality at half the cost of comparable alternative technologies.

Freescale’s SC3850 core recently earned the industry’s best-ever fixed-point BDTImark2000™ benchmark score from independent signal-processing technology analysis firm Berkeley Design Technology, Inc. (

The new MSC825x family of multicore DSPs brings the performance of the SC3850 core to additional applications that require high performance, reusable hardware platforms and flexible software architectures.

Freescale’s MSC825x family consists of four pin-compatible, fully programmable, single-, dual-, four- and six-core DSPs. Integrated features such as multiple DDR controllers, two Serial RapidIO® interfaces and a PCI Express® interface make designing with the MSC825x devices highly flexible. Pin and peripheral compatibility with Freescale’s MSC815x family enables code and tool reuse and allows customers to scale from a single-core device to multicore devices, or to create multiple products based on the same hardware.

“With the introduction of the MSC825x DSP family, we are extending the value of Freescale’s high-performance StarCore technology to additional customers in high-growth markets,” said Scott Aylor, general manager and director of DSP products for Freescale’s Networking and Multimedia Group. “Manufacturers of medical, aerospace/defense and test/measurement equipment can look forward to significant cost savings and outstanding performance from Freescale’s newest family of programmable DSPs.”

The MSC825x family’s processing performance enables additional channels for TETRA base stations, as well as advanced measurement capabilities for wireless communication testers. State-of-the-art, high-bandwidth, low-latency peripheral interfaces permit customers to interconnect multiple DSP processors without the need for Layer 2 switching, reducing customers’ system cost. Test/measurement applications enjoy increased throughput and reduced software complexity, and medical applications such as CT scanners gain real-time communication capabilities and more accurate control.

“The new MSC825x family serves notice that Freescale’s DSPs are a force to be reckoned with beyond just the communications infrastructure space,” said Will Strauss, president of Forward Concepts. “The cost and performance advantages of the MSC825x family are substantial and stand to significantly benefit OEMs targeting equipment for a wide range of markets.”

Unparalleled performance

At the high end of the family, the MSC8256 device is based on six SC3850 StarCore DSP cores running at 1 GHz on a single die delivering 6 GHz of raw DSP performance, or 48 GMACs (Giga Multiply and Accumulate) per second of DSP core performance. This is a 2X increase in performance in comparison to the nearest competing solution. Comprehensive memory support includes two 64-bit DDR3 running at 800 MHz to enable fast system throughput for multicore DSPs. A rich peripheral set includes 2x Serial RapidIO (4 lane) and PCI Express x4 interfaces, allowing fast communication between FPGA and DSP to DSP.

Development tools and software
Freescale offers a full set of development tools and enablement software for the MSC825x devices. The CodeWarrior™ Integrated Development Environment (IDE) leverages Eclipse™ technology to provide a highly comprehensive multicore development environment for easy programmability. It includes C and C++ optimizing compilers, a source level debugger, core and device simulators, software analysis plug-ins for profiling and program/data trace, and the royalty-free SmartDSP-OS operating system delivered with optimized device drivers. Development boards are available to enable software development, and customers can test their applications today using the MSC8156 and MSC825x application development board or the MSC8156AMC card.


Pricing for the MSC825x DSP family starts at a suggested resale price of $75 (USD) in quantities of 1,000. Samples are planned for Q2 2010, and production is planned for Q3 2010.

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About Freescale Semiconductor

Freescale Semiconductor is a global leader in the design and manufacture of embedded semiconductors for the automotive, consumer, industrial and networking markets. The privately held company is based in Austin, Texas, and has design, research and development, manufacturing or sales operations around the world.


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