New offerings heat up TI, SHARC competition

TORONTO - Officials at Texas Instruments in Dallas announced early sampling of their TMS320C67 floating-point digital signal processor (DSP) chip, while an industry report warns of tough competition for the new device from new versions of the SHARC DSP from Analog Devices in Norwood, Mass.

Oct 1st, 1998

By John McHale

TORONTO - Officials at Texas Instruments in Dallas announced early sampling of their TMS320C67 floating-point digital signal processor (DSP) chip, while an industry report warns of tough competition for the new device from new versions of the SHARC DSP from Analog Devices in Norwood, Mass.

The new device operates at 1 billion floating point operations per second, and "it actually works the first time out," says Tom Smith, TI military marketing manager. The TI device has sampled two months ahead of schedule, said officials at TI at the DSP World show in Toronto last month.

Smith says he expects TI engineers to release commercial-quality silicon early next year, with full-military quality to follow in the fall. The new DSP sampled two months ahead of schedule, TI says.

"The `C6701 promises to make TI`s floating-point DSP performance competitive with that of SHARC and of high-end general-purpose processors," say officials at Berkeley Design Technology Inc. (BDTI) of Berkeley, Calif., in their September issue of Microprocessor Report.

However BDTI officials caution that the new device "makes the same sacrifices as the `C6201: voracious program-memory usage, software-development complexity, high power consumption, and system- integration challenges."

Scheduling is also a factor, BDTI experts warn in their report. "If TI takes as long to reach its projected 167-MHz clock speed for the C6701 as it did for the `C6201, Analog Devices`s ADSP-21160 may deliver similar performance without the `C6701`s shortcomings in on-chip memory and multiprocessor support, and with a simpler programming model."

The ADSP-21160 "is one helluva chip," says Rodger Hosking, vice president of sales and marketing at Pentek in Upper Saddle River, N.J. If Analog Devices can get the marketing behind it they can give TI a run for its money on the TMS320C67, he says.

BDTI officials report that the `C67 and the `C62 families are the first floating-point and fixed-point DSP families to share the same underlying architecture: the instruction set of the `C67 is a superset of the `C62 instruction set, allowing the `C67 to execute `C62 object code."

"Because of its pin-compatibility with the `C6201, the `C6701 is likely to find a niche as a rapid prototyping and algorithm-development tool for users who plan to build products based on the `C6201 but want prototypes running quickly, without first having to grapple with fixed-point considerations," BDTI officials say in the report.

Meanwhile, TI`s software experts also released the new version of Code Composer Studio at DSP World. The package and its supporting third-party tools are an open, integrated digital signal processing software development environment.

TI`s Code Composer Studio reduces the average DSP coding time by up to 50 percent, TI officials claim. This, they say, enables designers to bring applications such as wireless base stations, remote access servers, digital subscriber loop systems, high-end visioning and imaging systems, and voice-over-packet to market more easily an d with increased capabilities, TI officials claim.

Code Composer Studio offers three main advantages: it is real time; has visualization of data and signal, enabling operators to change information without modifying source code; and the new program works with third-party development tools on the host and target, TI experts say.

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