IP processor core targets IoT sensing nodes and always-on apps

April 14, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
EnSilica has introduced its eSi-3260 processor core which has SIMD DSP extensions, and which combines advanced DSP features with eSi-RISC’s low power and small silicon footprint

The inclusion of a 64-bit precision, fully-pipelined MAC unit suits the eSi-3260 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. 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 FFT acceleration and accuracy.

The eSi-3260 employs a 5-stage pipeline which has been optimised for mainstream process nodes with frequencies of over 1 GHz obtainable in a 28 nm process with dynamic power as low as 14 μW/MHz. This can be reduced to 3 μW/MHz when optimising 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.

Radix-8 fast divide and square root options enable 32-bit integer division and square root operations to be reduced to six cycles, 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.

“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 of EnSilica.

EnSilica; www.ensilica.com