PicoChip Touts Processor

New processor array for software-defined basestations delivers 40GMAC/s, obsoletes legacy DSPs and FPGAs

October 13, 2003

2 Min Read

BATH -- picoChip Designs Ltd today announced the world's most powerful processing device for wireless infrastructure. It forms the core of the most comprehensive hardware and software reference design platform for 3G equipment manufacturers, enabling significant economic and time-to-market savings.

Peter Claydon, co-founder and chief architect at picoChip, speaking at this week's Microprocessor Forum 2003 said, "At 42GMACs per second the PC102 delivers five to ten times the price-performance of any other device on the market today. It will take four years of Moore's Law improvements for conventional architectures to reach this point. The PC101 has been very successful and we are very happy with the way that customers are using it in a number of designs; through these engagements we have learnt a lot, which has defined the architecture of the PC102, the latest member of the picoArray family."

It is a true MIMD, highly parallel, data driven architecture that means that designs are predictable and designers can achieve maximum performance. For example, the PC102 delivers 146GIPs, which equates to simultaneous, sustained, operations of more than 30GIPs, 41.6GMACs and 71.6Gconvolutions/s. This is supported by nearly 7Tbits/s internal interconnect and more than 20 Gbit/s continuous real-time I/O. It is very easy to programme in standard ANSI C, a completely familiar process with industry standard tools and library function formats. These allow applications to be easily and efficiently developed, simulated, compiled, verified and tested in a single environment."

Peter Claydon, co-founder and Chief Architect at picoChip, concluded, "picoChip was founded by experts in 3G systems engineering -- unlike some products, our offering is a complete solution, with world-class architecture and performance, a rich tool-chain and comprehensive system software. With all the market pressures the benefits to manufacturers are clear: we dramatically reduce the cost of a basestation, we accelerate their time to market and we deliver the strategically critical goal of a reprogrammable software-defined basestation."

3G basestations are approximately 100 times more complex than GSM equivalents with respect to signal processing. Conventionally, this type of processing would be done by a fixed-function ASIC, but the rapidly changing specifications for 3G, together with the high set-up costs of state-of-the-art ASIC technology, make this impractical.

Instead, manufacturers use general-purpose programmable devices such as FPGAs or DSPs. However, because even the fastest parts do not have the processing power required for 3G, a huge number of expensive devices is needed, and manufacturers end up shipping at a loss. picoChip's offering is attractive because it's faster to develop, cheaper and less power hungry than today's solutions, and has sufficient processing power to handle these demanding tasks.

PicoChip Designs Ltd.

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