eSilicon and MIPS Technologies Announce Tapeout of 28nm 1.5GHz Microprocessor Cluster for Embedded Platforms

(Nanowerk News) eSilicon Corporation, the largest independent semiconductor value chain producer (VCP), and MIPS Technologies, a leading provider of industry-standard processor architectures and cores, announced the tapeout of a high-performance, three-way microprocessor cluster on GLOBALFOUNDRIES' leading-edge, low-power 28nm-SLP process technology. Wafers are currently running in GLOBALFOUNDRIES' Fab 1 in Dresden, Germany, with silicon expected in early 2012. SoC designs can start immediately. MIPS provided the RTL based on its leading-edge MIPS32 1074Kf Coherent Processing System (CPS), and eSilicon performed the synthesis and timing-driven layout, optimizing the design to achieve true worst-case performance of 1GHz for the cluster. Typical performance is expected to be approximately 1.5GHz.
To reach the 1GHz target without compromising low power, eSilicon's custom memory team created custom fast cache instances (FCIs) for the L1 caches to replace standard memories that were in the critical path of the design. The 1074Kf CPS is based on the combination of two high-performance technologies -- coherent multiprocessing, and the superscalar, Out-of-Order (OoO) MIPS32 74K processor core as the base CPU. The 74K core is a multi-issue, 15-stage OoO architecture already in production with numerous customers for digital televisions, set-top boxes and a variety of home networking applications. It is broadly used in internet-connected digital home products.
"The 1074K CPS provides an ideal high-performance platform for today's SoC designs, with headroom for tomorrow's designs. We worked closely with eSilicon on this project to not only demonstrate the capabilities of the high-performance 1074K CPS in a new low-power process, but also to enable our customers to use the resulting implementation in their SoC designs. We are pleased that eSilicon will be making the design available off-the-shelf, as well as customized by its team of highly skilled engineers," said Gideon Intrater, vice president of product marketing and applications, MIPS Technologies.
"This was an exciting project for our custom IP engineers. Our custom FCIs did the trick in enabling us to meet the fast-approaching shuttle date. Together with the high quality of the MIPS 1074K design, we were able to quickly meet the challenging performance targets in a low-power process," said Paul Hollingworth, eSilicon VP of strategic marketing. "eSilicon is looking forward to embedding this cluster into SoC designs for our customers to help them achieve a truly compelling combination of high performance, low price and low power."
Customers can license the 1GHz implementation from eSilicon today -- either as is or customized. The cluster has been taped out as a test chip, and will be offered as a hard macro core. It includes embedded design-for-test (DFT) and design-for-manufacturing (DFM) features so that it can be dropped into a chip design and used without modification. As part of a full SoC development, it can be further customized and optimized to meet the specific needs of the application. Go to the eSilicon website for more information on the 28nm high-performance, low-power three-way microprocessor cluster.
About Value Chain Producers
A value chain producer (VCP) is a company that collaborates with foundries, IP and service providers, EDA suppliers, and package, assembly and test operations in designing and producing chips for fabless IC, IDM and OEM companies. VCPs optimize the economics of customer value chains and enable customers to focus on their product differentiation and market growth.
About eSilicon
eSilicon, the largest independent semiconductor VCP, delivers ASICs to OEMs and fabless semiconductor companies through a fast, flexible, lower-risk path to volume production by deploying its comprehensive suite of design-through-manufacturing services. eSilicon serves a wide variety of markets including the communications, computer, consumer and industrial segments.
About MIPS Technologies, Inc.
MIPS Technologies, Inc. is a leading provider of industry-standard processor architectures and cores for digital home, networking and mobile applications. The MIPS architecture powers some of the world's most popular products, including broadband devices from Linksys, DTVs and digital consumer devices from Sony, DVD recordable devices from Pioneer, digital set-top boxes from Motorola, network routers from Cisco, 32-bit microcontrollers from Microchip Technology and laser printers from Hewlett-Packard. Founded in 1998, MIPS Technologies is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, with offices worldwide. For more information, contact (408) 530-5000 or visit
Source: MIPS Technologies (press release)
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