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Discussion Groups | Comp.Arch.Embedded | Processor Selection for SoC

There are 11 messages in this thread.

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Processor Selection for SoC - moogyd - 2009-09-17 04:05:00

Hi,

I am looking at selecting a processor for our SoC platform. Currently
we use an embedded 8051 core (small, low power, low performance,
cheap).

For our next project, we need more performance, and we are also trying
to create a platform suitable for all future projects.

The CPU must be available as RTL (VHDL or Verilog) source.

Obviously, there are lots of options
- Faster 8051
- 16-bit ?
- 32-bit RISC (ARM Cortext M0, ARC 6XXX, OpenRISC)

There are also lots of issues to consider
- Power uW/MHz
- Area
- Performance
- Cost/Licensing
- Support and tools
-
Can anyone point to any data (comparisons) that would be useful in
making a decision.

Thanks,

Steven




Re: Processor Selection for SoC - TTman - 2009-09-17 04:17:00

"moogyd" <m...@yahoo.co.uk> wrote in message 
news:3...@33g2000vbe.googlegroups.com...
> Hi,
>
> I am looking at selecting a processor for our SoC platform. Currently
> we use an embedded 8051 core (small, low power, low performance,
> cheap).
>
> For our next project, we need more performance, and we are also trying
> to create a platform suitable for all future projects.
>
> The CPU must be available as RTL (VHDL or Verilog) source.
>
> Obviously, there are lots of options
> - Faster 8051
> - 16-bit ?
> - 32-bit RISC (ARM Cortext M0, ARC 6XXX, OpenRISC)
>
> There are also lots of issues to consider
> - Power uW/MHz
> - Area
> - Performance
> - Cost/Licensing
> - Support and tools
> -
> Can anyone point to any data (comparisons) that would be useful in
> making a decision.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Steven
>
>
>
Maxim DS89C450 is super fast 51 core,with ISP via com Txd/Rxd 



Re: Processor Selection for SoC - moogyd - 2009-09-17 04:48:00

On Sep 17, 10:17 am, "TTman" <someone...@ntlworld.com> wrote:
> "moogyd" <moo...@yahoo.co.uk> wrote in message
>
> news:3...@33g2000vbe.googlegroups.com...
>
> > Hi,
>
> > I am looking at selecting a processor for our SoC platform. Currently
> > we use an embedded 8051 core (small, low power, low performance,
> > cheap).
>
> > For our next project, we need more performance, and we are also trying
> > to create a platform suitable for all future projects.
>
> > The CPU must be available as RTL (VHDL or Verilog) source.
>
> > Obviously, there are lots of options
> > - Faster 8051
> > - 16-bit ?
> > - 32-bit RISC (ARM Cortext M0, ARC 6XXX, OpenRISC)
>
> > There are also lots of issues to consider
> > - Power uW/MHz
> > - Area
> > - Performance
> > - Cost/Licensing
> > - Support and tools
> > -
> > Can anyone point to any data (comparisons) that would be useful in
> > making a decision.
>
> > Thanks,
>
> > Steven
>
> Maxim DS89C450 is super fast 51 core,with ISP via com Txd/Rxd

A little bit of clarification (as a H/W designer, I realize that my
use of the word embedded is not the same as everyone else on the
group)

I need a processor core that I can include within ASIC design (rather
than a separate component).

Thanks,

Steven







Re: Processor Selection for SoC - David Brown - 2009-09-17 05:21:00

moogyd wrote:
> Hi,
> 
> I am looking at selecting a processor for our SoC platform. Currently
> we use an embedded 8051 core (small, low power, low performance,
> cheap).
> 
> For our next project, we need more performance, and we are also trying
> to create a platform suitable for all future projects.
> 
> The CPU must be available as RTL (VHDL or Verilog) source.
> 
> Obviously, there are lots of options
> - Faster 8051
> - 16-bit ?
> - 32-bit RISC (ARM Cortext M0, ARC 6XXX, OpenRISC)
> 
> There are also lots of issues to consider
> - Power uW/MHz
> - Area
> - Performance
> - Cost/Licensing
> - Support and tools
> -
> Can anyone point to any data (comparisons) that would be useful in
> making a decision.
> 
> Thanks,
> 
> Steven
> 

I don't really know much about which cpu cores are available for such 
chips, but if you can get it the AVR core would be a good choice for a 
small low-power embeddable core.  It's much faster (for similar 
power/size/clocks) than 8051, and has much broader tool support. 
However, if you are looking forward towards the future and bigger cores, 
there are many ARM cores to choose from.  Other embeddable cores with 
wide tool support are MIPS and ColdFire (certainly ColdFire v1).

An 8051 core is a good choice if the cpu is very much a minor part of 
the device, and is only there to make the SoC a little more flexible. 
It is not good at any speed if you want to do any real processing work.

Re: Processor Selection for SoC - -jg - 2009-09-17 05:26:00

On Sep 17, 8:48 pm, moogyd <moo...@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:
> A little bit of clarification (as a H/W designer, I realize that my
> use of the word embedded is not the same as everyone else on the
> group)
>
> I need a processor core that I can include within ASIC design (rather
> than a separate component).

First, decide if an 8051 will still do the task.

This is a topical starting point, for a functional mock-up :

http://www.cypress.com/?id=2232

and, for ARM, this pathway should also be looked at

http://www.atmel.com/products/at91cap/default.asp

-jg

Re: Processor Selection for SoC - FreeRTOS info - 2009-09-17 07:07:00

> I don't really know much about which cpu cores are available for such
> chips, but if you can get it the AVR core would be a good choice for a 
> small low-power embeddable core.

Can that be included in an ASIC?

-- 
Regards,
Richard.

+ http://www.FreeRTOS.org
Designed for Microcontrollers.  More than 7000 downloads per month.

+ http://www.SafeRTOS.com
Certified by TÜV as meeting the requirements for safety related systems 


Re: Processor Selection for SoC - David Brown - 2009-09-17 08:00:00

FreeRTOS info wrote:
> 
>> I don't really know much about which cpu cores are available for such
>> chips, but if you can get it the AVR core would be a good choice for a 
>> small low-power embeddable core.
> 
> Can that be included in an ASIC?
> 

AFAIK, the AVR core is very much designed as a macro for ASICs, and that 
is the main market for Atmel.  Whether or not they will provide the core 
to others is a very different question - the OP would obviously have to 
ask Atmel about that.

Of course, I could be wrong about the AVR and ASICs, or perhaps it only 
applied to the core's early history.

However, these people appear to make ASICs with AVR cores:

http://www.systemsemi.com/devkit.htm


Re: Processor Selection for SoC - Joseph Yiu - 2009-09-17 08:08:00

moogyd wrote:
> Hi,
> 
> I am looking at selecting a processor for our SoC platform. Currently
> we use an embedded 8051 core (small, low power, low performance,
> cheap).
> 
> For our next project, we need more performance, and we are also trying
> to create a platform suitable for all future projects.
> 
> The CPU must be available as RTL (VHDL or Verilog) source.
> 
> Obviously, there are lots of options
> - Faster 8051
> - 16-bit ?
> - 32-bit RISC (ARM Cortext M0, ARC 6XXX, OpenRISC)
> 
> There are also lots of issues to consider
> - Power uW/MHz
> - Area
> - Performance
> - Cost/Licensing
> - Support and tools
> -
> Can anyone point to any data (comparisons) that would be useful in
> making a decision.
> 
> Thanks,
> 
> Steven
> 
> 
> 

Hi Steven,

I work for ARM so my choice is certainly bias towards ARM cores.
But the following information might be useful for you.

Faster 8051
8051 IP cores are cheap, but as you can see the performance is limiting.
The fastest 8051 IP claimed their Dhrystone DMIPS is 0.1/MHz (but many 
others are much slower).  But you need to be careful as this often 
require special compiler support or C libraries that make use of the 
extra features. If using standard 8051 instruction set and features you 
would get a lower performance.

Due to the lower performance you might end up clocking the core faster 
and hence getting higher power consumption.  And in highend 8051 cores, 
the register banks are implemented as D-flip-flop rather than SRAM (32 
8-bit registers, to allows single cycle execution of instructions). As a 
result the gate count of the high-end 8051 can be quite large.



16-bit
There are not too many commerical 16-bit processors. Most of them are 
proprietary architecture and therefor the choice of compiler tools are 
limited.  The performance is several times better than 8051 but mostly 
still less than half of ARM processors.  Most of the 16-bit processors 
has a Dhrystone DMIPS from 0.3/MHz to 0.5/MHz.

The biggest problem you will find with 16-bit core is the 64kbyte memory 
limitation.  Some 16-bit architectures has workaround for this by allow 
paging or segmentation of memory map but it will reduce the efficiency. 
  If your application requires more than 64kbytes or will expand in the 
future, switching to ARM would be a better choice.


ARM Cortex-M0
High performance at small size : Dhrystone DMIPS 0.9/MHz. Smaller than 
most 16-bit cores and very good code density (smaller code size than 
16-bit cores and 8-bit cores).
http://www.electronicsweekly.com/Articles/2009/06/10/46252/cortex-m0-used-in-low-power-touch-controller.htm


There are large number of choices for C compilers and debug tools, and 
certainly future proof  (e.g. tools, memory expansion). The processor 
comes with debug features and an integration kit is included to help design.

More details of Cortex-M0 can be found here:
http://www.arm.com/products/CPUs/ARM-Cortex-M0.html
http://www.arm.com/miscPDFs/24481.pdf
http://www.techonline.com/learning/webinar/215801022

If you want more technical details feel free to contact us directly or 
let me know.  You can try out Cortex-M0 using our Microcontroller
Prototyping System (MPS) without any NDA (details on 
http://www.keil.com/mps/)

regards,
Joseph

Re: Processor Selection for SoC - Rob Gaddi - 2009-09-17 11:55:00

On Thu, 17 Sep 2009 01:05:50 -0700 (PDT)
moogyd <m...@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:

> Hi,
> 
> I am looking at selecting a processor for our SoC platform. Currently
> we use an embedded 8051 core (small, low power, low performance,
> cheap).
> 
> For our next project, we need more performance, and we are also trying
> to create a platform suitable for all future projects.
> 
> The CPU must be available as RTL (VHDL or Verilog) source.
> 
> Obviously, there are lots of options
> - Faster 8051
> - 16-bit ?
> - 32-bit RISC (ARM Cortext M0, ARC 6XXX, OpenRISC)
> 
> There are also lots of issues to consider
> - Power uW/MHz
> - Area
> - Performance
> - Cost/Licensing
> - Support and tools
> -
> Can anyone point to any data (comparisons) that would be useful in
> making a decision.
> 
> Thanks,
> 
> Steven
> 
> 
> 

I know that Freescale's now licensing the their 32-bit Coldfire v1
core, and I believe you can also get a license for something in the
HC08 line.


-- 
Rob Gaddi, Highland Technology
Email address is currently out of order

Re: Processor Selection for SoC - Leo Havmøller - 2009-09-17 23:30:00

"moogyd" <m...@yahoo.co.uk> wrote in message 
news:3...@33g2000vbe.googlegroups.com...
> Hi,
>
> I am looking at selecting a processor for our SoC platform. Currently
> we use an embedded 8051 core (small, low power, low performance,
> cheap).
>
> For our next project, we need more performance, and we are also trying
> to create a platform suitable for all future projects.
>
> The CPU must be available as RTL (VHDL or Verilog) source.

Goto http://www.opencores.org/projects, scroll down to "Processors".

Leo Havmøller. 


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