New processor core targets IoT sensing nodes and always-on applications

14-04-2015 | EnSilica | New Technologies

Expanding its family of eSi-RISC processor cores, EnSilica has launched the
eSi-3260, a new processor core aimed at IoT sensing nodes and always-on
applications. The eSi-3260 combines advanced DSP functionality with the
characteristic eSi-RISC small footprint and extremely-low power consumption.

The inclusion of a 64-bit precision, fully-pipelined MAC unit makes the
eSi-3260 ideal for audio, high-accuracy sensor hub, motion control and touch
screen applications. In addition to 32-bit data, the MAC unit supports dual
16-bit SIMD (single instruction multiple data) multiply and MAC operations.
Uniquely, full complex multiplication is also supported, performing four
multiplies and two additions per cycle. The inclusion of saturating and
rounding arithmetic, along with instructions to support bit-reversed
addressing, provides excellent FFT acceleration and accuracy.

The eSi-3260 employs a 5-stage pipeline which has been optimized to deliver
market-leading performance in mainstream process nodes with frequencies of
over 1GHz obtainable in a 28nm process with dynamic power as low as
14µW/MHz. This can be reduced to 3µW/MHz when optimizing the processor for
power, rather than frequency. A flexible memory architecture, with either
native, AXI or AHB interfaces, allows the inclusion of instruction and data
caches as well as tightly coupled memories for running code that is timing
critical. The addition of a cache facilitates high-performance operations
even when they are run from embedded Flash.

The radix-8 fast divide and square root options enable 32-bit integer
division and square root operations to be reduced to six cycles, greatly
decreasing the cycle count in sensing operations where these operations are
key to the code operation. An optional, fully pipelined single precision
floating point capability helps accelerate high dynamic range calculations
for applications such as gesture recognition and fingerprint detection.
Custom instruction support allows a further level of application
acceleration such as IIR and logarithmic DSP operations or cryptographic
operations for standards including ECC, RSA, AES and SHA, says the company.

"The balance of processing performance, silicon area, low power and DSP
functionality provided by the eSi-3260 delivers a distinct technology edge
for customers looking to develop complex IoT sensing nodes and devices in
what is a highly competitive market," said Ian Lankshear, CEO, EnSilica.

Adopting the eSi-RISC series of processors for its touch screen controllers,
Ken Tsui, vice president, design engineering, Solomon Systech Limited, said:
"The solution developed by EnSilica, with its excellent features, has
enhanced greatly the functionality of our product. We look forward to
joining hands again with the team to develop more high-performance IC
solutions."

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