Scalable, royalty-free 32-bit CPU IP core for deeply-embedded designs

September 18, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
IP Core provider and System-on-Chip design house Digital Core Design (Bytom, Poland) has its D32PRO CPU, a 32-bit, deeply embedded and royalty-free IP Core. Based on a RISC architecture it boosts performance to 1.48 / 2.67 DMIPS/MHz and 2.41 CoreMarks/MHz.

The minimal usable D32PRO CPU starts from 6.8k to 10.6k gates when optimised for area: dynamic power is 7 µW/MHz with a 90 nm process (DCD’s IP Cores are synthesisable and foundry independent). It comes with a C compiler and integrated CPU configurator, allowing it to be optimised for either ultra-low energy or for power-user projects.

D32PRO is, says DCD, a completely new, RISC 32-bit CPU that is fully scalable, “It can be easily adjusted to get the efficiency comparable to ARM Cortex M0-M3,” explains Tomek Krzyzak, DCD’s vice-president, “but there’s no problem to run the Core with maximal performance to get up to 1.48 / 2.67 DMIPS/MHz and 2.41 CoreMarks/MHz.”

DCD has released over 70 different architectures, including DQ80251 which it positions as the world’s fastest 8051 CPU. Krzyzak continues, “It’s a completely new, innovative solution.... why waste silicon, why limit performance, why shorten [the] peripherals list? The D32PRO answers all these questions.”

The D32PRO has been equipped with Floating Point Coprocessor and a variety of available peripherals such as USB, Ethernet, I ²C, SPI, UART, CAN, LIN, RTC, HDLC, and Smart Card. Other peripherals can be added to the CPU by using standardised interfaces.

The D32PRO is a universal and fully configurable solution, which effectively executes application codes with many jumps (e.g. switching decision tree) as well as homogeneous ones (e.g. arithmetic operations). This wouldn’t be possible without variable pipelining. Another innovation is brought in the command list, which is based on special instructions – derivatives to a higher level language such as C. That approach enabled ultimate code density, which goes in hand with efficient and compact instructions set. Variable length instructions are based on 16 bits and can be executed conditionally. The D32PRO implements the best features of the embedded microcontrollers, where dedicated bit instructions enable efficient cooperation with the attached peripherals.

The D32PRO has been equipped with 13 general registers R0-R12, most