New real-time multimedia SoCs set to disrupt embedded market

15-10-2015 | Texas Instruments | Semiconductors

Bringing developers advanced integration, scalability and peripherals all in one chip, Texas Instruments (TI) has announced the Sitara AM57x processor family, the highest performance devices in this processor platform.

Sitara AM57x processors are designed for a broad range of embedded and industrial applications through their novel heterogeneous architecture including ARM Cortex-A15 cores for high-performance processing and running a high-level operating system (HLOS). Additionally, AM57x processors integrate TI’s C66x digital signal processors (DSPs) for analytics and real-time computation, programmable real-time units (PRU) and ARM Cortex-M4 cores for control functions, and video and graphic accelerators for advanced user interfaces and multimedia applications, making the AM57x processors unmatched in their class.

The new Sitara AM57x family of processors was designed from the ground up with high performance and integration in mind. As a result, the processors bring developers unparalleled performance of more than 40 percent greater than quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 processors and 280 percent greater than standard dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processors found in the broad embedded market.

Advanced integration capabilities - Sitara AM57x processors provide the industry’s most advanced integration of compute, real-time control, connectivity and multimedia capabilities, allowing developers to simplify their designs with a single chip instead of needing multiple chips for each function. This integration is ideal for applications involving industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), factory automation, machine vision, embedded computing, human machine interface (HMI), robotics, medical imaging, avionics and more.

1 - Compute: Developers benefit from a unique combination of two different types of computing cores, both with up to two ARM Cortex-A15 cores and C66x DSPs that each perform a different task. The multicore architecture provides flexibility by distributing tasks to the right cores while driving system integration and best-in-class performance – all within one chip.
2 - Control: In addition to the high-performance cores, AM57x processors also include two ARM Cortex-M4 cores and four PRUs to provide developers with low-latency, real-time control functions necessary for industrial applications such as controlling a motor or monitoring sensors.
3 - Connectivity: The processors are equipped with an industrial communication subsystem (ICSS) for real-time fieldbus protocols and other industrial communication, and extensive system flexibility with integrated high-speed peripherals such as PCIe, SATA, Gigabit Ethernet, and USB 3.0. These features, along with the high-performance ARM Cortex-A15 cores and DSP, enable AM57x processors to transmit and receive data quicker.
4 - Multimedia: The devices integrate up to two SGX544 3-D and a GC320 2-D graphic accelerators for advanced graphical user interfaces; a 1080p60 video accelerator and multi-display support for high-definition video playback; and multiple camera inputs for recording events, taking pictures or reading a barcode.

The AM57x processors are powered by a TI power management IC, TPS659037. In addition, the AM57x EVM includes a connector for plugging in one of TI’s WiLink 8 modules, enabling both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

Create tailored solutions with a completely scalable software experience - TI is redefining scalability with the pin-compatible AM57x processor family and the all new Processor SDK, the first scalable software experience across TI’s Sitara and DSP processor portfolio. The processor families feature low- to high-end options (AM335x, AM437x and AM57x families) with a common code base so developers do not have to re-learn the software platform. Processor SDK is a unified software platform for TI’s processor portfolio that uses a consistent software foundation including a mainline long term stable (LTS) Linux kernel (with RT-Linux coming later), Linaro tool chain and Yocto Project compatible file system. It provides developers with a consistent user experience without having to reinvest in software resources. TI-RTOS support is also available for optimum real-time performance. Additionally, users benefit from simplified development through programming frameworks such as Khronos OpenCL that allow developers to leverage the DSPs without needing any DSP expertise.

A vast development and support ecosystem - TI has collaborated with BeagleBoard.org to power the new BeagleBoard-X15 with the Sitara AM5728 processor and provide access to a large community of open-source hardware developers. Additional third-party solutions from members of the TI Design Network provide customers validated hardware modules and robust software offerings, such as hardware-accelerated video codecs. Developers benefit from flexible operating systems and a wide range of product needs with solutions such as Windows Embedded Compact 2013 and Android 5.0 from Adeneo Embedd. In support, TI has also developed the AM57x evaluation module (EVM).

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