This week MIPS announced the MIPS32 74K core, a next-generation processor core family offering an innovative embedded microarchitecture. It is the industry’s first fully synthesizable 32-bit processors to achieve operating frequencies greater than 1 GHz in TSMC 65nm process technology.
The MIPS architecture has a dominant position in high end consumer electronics, in particular DTV, Set top box, IPTV, DVD players/recorders (including Blu-Ray and HD DVD), residential gateways and VoIP. These applications are also part of the convergence trend of communications and CE. These and other emerging applications are driving the demand for increasing performance, as well as lower system costs and low power consumption. The 1 GHz performance cited by MIPS is critical.
Also important for SoC designers is that the 74Kcore family is designed to work with generic standard cells, memories and EDA design flows. It is compatible with the software and system interfaces of other well established MIPS32 cores 24K, 24KE and 34K™ processors.
Some the technical features of note are:
- A 17-stage pipeline with out-order dispatch and asymmetric dual-issue.
- Enhanced DSP Features
- High performance Floating Point Unit with two pipelines that support asymmetric dual issue
- Advanced Branch Prediction
- Extensive clock gating for low power
- Support for L2 cache
The 74K core is available right now. Sample silicon is expected within a year.
The MIPS architecture is well established in the growing high end consumer applications noted above. The 74K is important for MIPS to maintain that strong market position and open up new opportunities. The innovations in the 74K may be new to the embedded control market, but it is not new to MIPS. With the 74K MIPS is leveraging its workstation legacy and bringing a higher level of performance to the consumer market.