New microprocessor in town for embedded computing

Click to Enlarge By John Keller
Editor in Chief

Competition for microprocessor preference in the aerospace and defense embedded computing industry is heating up with the introduction of a next-generation Power Architecture processor by Freescale Semiconductor Inc. in Austin, Texas, as an alternative to the 2nd Generation Core i7 processor by Intel Corp. in Santa Clara, Calif.

Freescale’s new QorIQ Advanced Multiprocessing (AMP) series brings back floating-point processing that had been standard in previous generations of Freescale AltiVec processors popular for aerospace and defense digital signal processing (DSP) applications, such as radar, sonar, electronic warfare, and signals intelligence. Freescale had abandoned the AltiVec floating-point engine in its QorIQ microprocessors a few years ago because of a perceived lack of interest from core target markets, which served to alienate many of the company’s aerospace and defense customers, who had come to depend on the AltiVec architecture as one way to avoid using dedicated DSP chips in signal processing-intense applications.

Intel Corp. in early 2010 introduced its Core i7 microprocessor architecture, which offered floating-point capability largely for graphics-intensive personal computer applications. Aerospace and defense embedded computer manufacturers quickly realized the Core i7 helped fill the void left by the discontinued AltiVec, and jumped onto the Intel developmental roadmap.

Now Freescale is back, with Alti- Vec and floating-point processing. The big question is whether Free- scale’s renewed support for the kind of floating-point processing that aerospace and defense embedded computing needs is too little, too late.

The big military and aerospace embedded computing suppliers, including Mercury Computer Systems in Chelmsford, Mass., Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing in Ashburn, Va., GE Intelligent Platforms in Charlottesville, Va., and Extreme Engineering Solutions Inc. (X-ES) in Middleton, Wis., are heavily supporting the Intel Core i7 in their products. Will the embedded computing heavy hitters support the latest Intel and Freescale microprocessors in equal measure? The market has not yet given us a clear indication.

For now, all the major aerospace and defense embedded computing manufacturers are expected to offer products based on the QorIQ AMP processor, which will have four times the processing performance of the previous generation of Freescale processors, says Glenn Beck, Freescale’s segment marketing manager for aerospace and defense.

Each core in the multi-core QorIQ AMP has an AltiVec processing engine, and each core is dual-threaded. The chip is based on 28-nanometer technology, as opposed to 45-nanometer technology for previous versions of Freescale’s microprocessors. The first microprocessor in the QorIQ AMP family will be the T4240, which should sample in early 2012.

The new processors are designed to support heavy network traffic. “Network traffic is increasing dramatically—voice, data, and video,” Beck says. “Most military air platforms are moving to being unmanned, and from generation one to generation two of these platforms, the amount of sensing capability has exploded in the amount of data to be processed. Military users have a need for autonomous decision making at the point where the data is generated.”

Freescale engineers are certifying the QorIQ AMP processor with the National Security Agency (NSA) for resistance to theft of data, theft of intellectual property, and attempts to counterfeit the device, Beck says.

It remains to be seen how attractive the new QorIQ AMP processor will be in aerospace and defense applications. What we do know is there’s a new chip in town.

More Military & Aerospace Electronics Current Issue Articles
More Military & Aerospace Electronics Archives Issue Articles



Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles

Related Products

General Micro "Horizon" C299

The C299 Horizon is a third generation, 6U cPCI SBC module based on GMS’ upgradable CPU technolog...

RR2P Removable Canister RAID System

Transportable data storage for mobile field use aboard planes, ships and ground transport. 2U, du...

VPX3-453 3U VPX Virtex-6/8640D Digital Signal Processor

The Curtiss-Wright VPX3-453 is a high performance 3U VPX DSP and FPGA processor card that combine...

General Micro "Atom" XPC40X Rugged, Ultra-Small, Ultra-Low-Power Intel Atom™ CPU SBC

The XPC40X Atom is a rugged, low cost, ultra-low power, lightweight, Atom™ based computer system....

General Micro's VS295 Eclipse

The VS295 Eclipse is fifth generation, VME SBC module based on GMS, upgradable CPU technology. It...

DSP280 - Rugged Dual Socket 2nd Gen Intel Quad Core i7 Multiprocessor

The DSP280 is a rugged, 6U OpenVPX dual socket Intel 2nd generation Quad Core i7 multiprocessor d...

ADEPT3000 Automatic Video Tracker

GE Intelligent Platforms ADEPT3000 is a cost-effective SWaP optimized automatic video tracking so...

6U OpenVPX HPEC Starter System

GE Intellligent Platforms new HPEC Application Ready Platforms (HARP) products respond to governm...

CHAMP-FX4 6U OpenVPX Virtex-7 FPGA Processor Card

The CHAMP-FX4 is the flagship 6U product in Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions’ family of ...

PMC-E2001 Audio/Acoustic Waveform Generating PMC Card

PMC-E2001 Delta-sigma PMC features 16-bit resolution with 8 Analog Outputs and 4 Analog Inputs wi...

Related Companies

Innovative Integration

  Since 1988, Innovative Integration has grown to become one of the world's leading suppliers of DSP and data ac...

General Micro Systems Inc

Since 1979, General Micro Systems has been providing the most diverse line of single-board computers in the industry....

Winchester Systems Inc

At its founding in 1981, Winchester Systems introduced its first 5 MB disk system for Intel development system users....

Extreme Engineering Solutions Inc (X-ES)

 Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc. (X-ES) is a leader in the design, manufacture, and support of standard and ...

Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions

About Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions (CWCDS) is a long establish...

LEMO USA Inc

Provides a lightweight, compact aluminum connector. M-series connector is focused on the design that requires a MIL-3...

GE Intelligent Platforms

Provides embedded computing solutions. Products include single-board computers, networking products, avionics interfa...

Omnetics Connector Corp

Omnetics Connector Company is a privately held, world class connector design and manufacturing company with over 25 ...

Dawn VME Products

Dawn provides customers an in-depth and broad range of system and product knowledge and expertise coupled with the la...
Wire News provided by   

social activity

Webcasts

Meeting the Gen3 backplane challenge with OpenVPX and COTS

Tight Pentagon budgets mean military systems must stay in the field for longer than ever before. This doesn't mean obsolete technology, however. Today's military electronics are being upgraded constantly, an...
Sponsored by:

Design Strategy Considerations for DO-178C Certified Multi-core Systems

Join Wind River to learn how system architecture and design choices can minimize your DO-178C certification challenges.

Sponsored by:

Flying, Sailing or Driving - The Rugged, Embedded Intel-based Server that goes where you need it!Flying Sailing or Driving

Leveraging the power of server-class processors is no longer relegated to the confines of data centers. Through several innovations, Mercury Systems has ruggedized Intel’s server-class chips for deployment. ...
Sponsored by:

All Access Sponsors


Mil & Aero Magazine

February 2015
Volume 26, Issue 2
file

Download Our Apps



iPhone

iPad

Android

Follow Us On...



Newsletters

Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information
SUBSCRIBE

Cyber Security

Monthly newsletter covering cyber warfare, cyber security, information warfare, and information security technologies, products, contracts, and procurement opportunities
SUBSCRIBE

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers
SUBSCRIBE

Electronic Warfare

Quarterly newsletter covering technologies and applications in electronic warfare, cyber warfare, optical warfare, and spectrum warfare.
SUBSCRIBE

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications
SUBSCRIBE

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles
SUBSCRIBE