Intel Corporation today demonstrated the world's fastest digital signal processor (DSP) architecture for wireless handheld devices. Called the Intel(R) Micro Signal Architecture (MSA), the new design incorporates DSP and microcontroller functions onto a single chip. The MSA silicon is capable of operating at speeds of up to 400 MHz, more than twice as fast as other DSPs for wireless handheld devices.
Intel and Analog Devices (ADI) jointly developed the MSA and introduced the architecture last December. Under the joint development agreement, both companies are separately developing and marketing products based on this design.
Today marks the first time Intel has publicly demonstrated working silicon of the MSA. It will be part of an integrated baseband chipset announced later this year for cell phones and other handheld devices.
"Demonstrating working silicon with this level of performance and headroom is a tremendous milestone," said Ron Smith, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Wireless Communications and Computing Group. "The Micro Signal Architecture is a key building block for the Intel(R) Personal Internet Client Architecture (Intel PCA), and is ideal for processing audio, video, image and voice in next-generation wireless Internet devices."
Tools that help developers build software designed to work with the new DSP device are available now. These include compiler, simulator, debugger and assembler as part of the ADI VisualDSP++(TM) integrated software development environment.
"The joint development's demonstration of functional silicon and development tools brings this breakthrough DSP architecture to a new level of performance," said Jerald Fishman, president and chief executive officer for ADI. "We are redefining high speed, low power and ease of programming for real-time applications."
Details of the MSA
DSPs provide the real-time capability to process voice and image signals in cellular phones, personal organizers, digital cameras and handheld video games. DSPs work alongside microprocessors that run applications in these handheld devices.
This is the first DSP architecture to incorporate Dynamic Power Management capabilities, which deliver dramatic improvement in battery life. Dynamic Power Management supports continuous monitoring of the software running on the architecture, and enables dynamic adjustments of both the voltage and the frequency necessary to optimize the power delivered for a given task.
The architecture has been further optimized to process the bit stream for rich multimedia running on battery-powered equipment. Portable devices with video links, downloadable images, handwriting and speech recognition, and text-to-speech are made possible through tuned instructions that provide up to 10 times the performance of other DSPs.
Intel PCA is a system-level architecture that accelerates development of applications and hardware for next-generation wireless Internet devices. It allows easy integration and expansion of wireless systems using a combination of the world's leading operating systems and global wireless standards. The architecture consists of interchangeable hardware and software building blocks, and enables wireless hardware and software solutions providers to offer a wide range of enhanced wireless offerings across standards, generations and geographies much quicker than today's phones.
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