Blackfin Processors are a new breed of 16-32-bit embedded microprocessor designed specifically to meet the computational demands and power constraints of today's embedded audio, video and communications applications. Based on the Micro Signal Architecture (MSA) jointly developed with Intel Corporation, Blackfin Processors combine a 32-bit RISC-like instruction set and dual 16-bit multiply accumulate (MAC) signal processing functionality with the ease-of-use attributes found in general-purpose microcontrollers. This combination of processing attributes enables Blackfin Processors to perform equally well in both signal processing and control processing applications-in many cases deleting the requirement for separate heterogeneous processors. This capability greatly simplifies both the hardware and software design implementation tasks.
The Blackfin Processor family also offers industry leading power consumption performance down to 0.8V. This combination of high performance and low power is essential in meeting the needs of today's and future signal processing applications including broadband wireless, audio/video capable Internet appliances, and mobile communications.
All Blackfin Processors offer fundamental benefits to the system designer which include:
- High-performance signal processing and efficient control processing capability enabling a variety of new markets and applications.
- Dynamic Power Management (DPM) enabling the system designer to specifically tailor the device power consumption profile to the end system requirements.
- Easy to use mixed 16-/32-bit Instruction Set Architecture and development tool suite ensuring that product development time is minimized.
High Performance Processor Core
The Blackfin Processor architecture is based upon a 10-stage RISC MCU/DSP pipeline with a mixed 16-/32-bit Instruction Set Architecture designed for optimal code density. Blackfin processors architecture is also fully SIMD compliant and includes instructions for accelerated video and image processing. The architecture is well suited for full signal processing / analytical capabilities while also offering efficient RISC MCU control tasking capabilities - on either a single or dual core device. With the optimal code density and the possibility of little to no code optimization, quicker time to market can be achieved without running into performance headroom barriers seen on other traditional processor.
High Bandwidth DMA Capability
All Blackfin Processors have multiple, independent DMA controllers that support automated data transfers with minimal overhead from the processor core. DMA transfers can occur between the internal memories and any of the many DMA-capable peripherals. Transfers can also occur between the peripherals and external devices connected to the external memory interfaces, including the SDRAM controller and the asynchronous memory controller.
In addition to native support for 8-bit data, the word size common to many pixel processing algorithms, the Blackfin Processor architecture includes instructions specifically defined to enhance performance in video processing applications. For example, Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT) is supported with an IEEE 1180 rounding operation, while the "SUM ABSOLUTE DIFFERENCE" instruction supports motion estimation algorithms used in video compression algorithms such as MPEG2, MPEG4, and JPEG.
Implementing video compression algorithms in software allows OEMs to adapt to evolving standards and new functional requirements without hardware changes. The enhanced instructions allow Blackfin Processors to be considered in applications previously addressed primarily by ASICs, VLIW media processors or hardwired chipsets. Ultimately, Blackfin Processors will help lower overall system cost while improving the time to market for the end application.
Efficient Control Processing
The Blackfin Processor architecture also offers a variety of benefits most often seen in RISC control processors. These features include a powerful and flexible hierarchical memory architecture, superior code density, and a variety of microcontroller-style peripherals including items such as 10/100 Ethernet MAC, UARTS, SPI, CAN controller, Timers with PWM support, Watchdog Timer, Real-Time Clock, and a glueless synchronous and asynchronous memory controller. All of these features provide the system designer with a great deal of design flexibility while minimizing end system costs.