NeoMagic Intros App Processor

NeoMagic's MiMagic 6 applications processor delivers the highest multimedia performance for mobile phones and wireless PDAs

June 17, 2003

4 Min Read

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- NeoMagicCorporation (Nasdaq: NMGC), a pioneer in Applications Processors for multimedia-richmobile phones, wireless personal digital assistants (PDAs) and other mobile handheldsystems, today introduced its MiMagic 6 Applications Processor. The MiMagic 6’smultimedia engine, based on a proprietary technology called Associative ProcessingArray (APA) can execute more than one billion operations per second at a processorclock rate of only 100MHz (megahertz). The MiMagic 6 provides an order of magnitudemore processing than competitive solutions at the same clock rate, giving it the highestmultimedia computing performance of any Applications Processor available today.

“Multimedia functionality has become an important feature for handhelds. Chipdesigners must deliver multimedia performance without increasing power consumption,”said Max Baron, principal analyst at Microprocessor Report, In-Stat/MDR. “The APAcore in MiMagic 6 processes multimedia workloads by employing programmable parallelprocessing. The core’s programmability can be used to track evolving standards andadopt new ones. I find the idea of employing low power massive parallelism in handheldapplications interesting and compelling.”

"Integrated multimedia services, powered by Applications Processors, have the potentialto fuel growth and utilization of existing mobile networks and drive the rollout ofenhanced third generation cellular services," said Tony Massimini, chief of technology atSemico Research. "In a recent report, Semico forecasted that the Applications Processormarket will reach $5 billion by 2007. Innovative solutions such as NeoMagic's MiMagic6 will help drive this aggressive ramp."

The Multimedia Challenge
As multimedia requirements on mobile phones and wireless PDAs grow to includeapplications such as digital imaging, two-way MPEG-4 video and interactive gamingwith 3D graphics acceleration, manufacturers are struggling to deliver compellingmultimedia performance within a reasonable battery life. Today’s RISC-basedarchitectures may add special-purpose hardware accelerators to process specificmultimedia tasks. These architectures, however, are generally inflexible, with only afixed set of multimedia features. Additionally, they don’t scale to meet the market’srapidly developing multimedia computational needs at low power consumption. Inresponse, some semiconductor suppliers have integrated co-processors, such as DSPs, onchipwith a RISC CPU. When scaled to achieve higher performance, this approachproves power hungry and ill-suited to work well within the constraints of the handheldworld.

NeoMagic’s Differentiator: APA Technology
NeoMagic created the APA-based multimedia engine used in the MiMagic 6 as analternative to the less scalable architectures available today. It employs a massivelyparallel single-instruction, multiple-data (SIMD) architecture which operates on 512 datawords per clock cycle. This parallelism results in very high performance for multimediaalgorithms -- which tend to have a high degree of parallelism in their data -- withouthigher clock rates.

A major problem associated with traditional sequential Load/Store computingarchitectures is the need to move data from a local cache memory into the processing unitand back. Excessive data movement results in both power consumption and performanceissues. APA’s unique parallel architecture merges processing and memory together intoa single structure thereby reducing power consumption through lower clock rates andreduced data movement.

“NeoMagic is redefining what an Applications Processor can do within a low-powerbudget,” said Prakash Agarwal, president and CEO of NeoMagic. “Conventionalwisdom has been to handle complex processing by increasing processor clock rate. Butincreasing megahertz means burning more power without necessarily addingfunctionality,” continued Agarwal. “The MiMagic 6 provides high performance, lowpower and additional multimedia capabilities. We believe it will transform thepower/performance equation in the handheld market,” concluded Agarwal.

The concepts of associative processing have been known for over a decade, and havebeen used in highly demanding robotic vision and aerospace applications. NeoMagic isthe first company to apply this technology to consumer-oriented Applications Processors.

MiMagic 6 Specifications
The MiMagic 6 is the first member in NeoMagic’s family of ARM-based ApplicationsProcessors to incorporate the APA-based multimedia engine. The MiMagic 6 includes a200MHz ARM926EJ processor with 16KB instruction cache, 16KB data cache, and atightly-coupled memory (TCM), as well as Jazelle hardware Java acceleration for broadcompatability with popular operating systems and software. In order to move data intoand out of the device efficiently, the MiMagic 6 incorporates a unique dual externalmemory bus to minimize contention between CPU instruction and data fetches. It alsohas multiple layered, concurrent internal busses to provide for high internal databandwidth. The MiMagic 6 includes an embedded 1.7 megabit internal SRAM for videoand graphics frame buffer; a dedicated hardware block that pre-processes camera input; a2D graphics engine implementing BitBLT rasterops to improve GUI performance; dualvideo overlay blocks, and numerous input/output (I/O) devices such as UARTs, USB,and memory card controllers.

The MiMagic 6 comes in a 13 x 13 x 1.2 mm very small ball grid array (BGA) package.Samples will be available in the third quarter of 2003, with production deliveries pricedbelow $18 at unit quantities above 10,000 pieces.

NeoMagic Corp.

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