C-Ton Industries

<p>IC-2000 is one of several ISPs closely examining the expansion into Linux support. Schneider said that Ariel had developed RS-2000 boards with support for Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Solaris version of Unix, and had looked at HP-UX as well, but learned that most smaller ISPs were narrowing their OS options to either NT or Linux. Ariel suggests to customers the types of minimal configurations their system hardware should have, and also helps assemble software modules such as Berkeley Internet Name Domain around the OS kernel, to allow their PC servers to not only perform traditional RAS concentration duties, but also serve as domain name server hosts, and perform Web hosting, backbone caching and similar functions.</p>

The support consists of a tool kit that includes a development board, intellectual-property support, silicon, and, in some cases, direct-design assistance from Memec Design Services, (MDS), an affiliate company under the VEBA AG umbrella.

The trace tool is a software logic analyzer that can be customized to trace user-defined interactions. It is typically used by developers to shorten the time it takes to debug multiprocessor applications.

A common scenario for system-level optimizations occurs in systems where there are multiple DSPs waiting for data to perform time-critical operations. For example, assume that a developer has just finished programming a system where processor 0 is interacting with another portion of the system and farms out data to two other DSPs (processors 1 and 2) in the system. The task of processors 1 and 2 is to manipulate the data and transfer back to processor 0 a new data sequence. Such hierarchical relationships are typical in multiprocessor systems.

RN731JTTD6041C10_Datasheet PDF

After the code has been debugged and optimized for each DSP, the developer benchmarks the system and discovers the performance of the system is not as good as expected. Where does one start to improve the system's efficiency? The first step, using the trace tool, is to take a snapshot of the system and zoom in on the possible bottlenecks.

Tracing bottlenecks

Using a trace tool, the developer might see that processors 1 and 2, in this area of the program, are spending most of their time waiting for data from processor 0. This would show up in the channel in” and channel out” trace lines for processors 1 and processor 2. The developer may also notice that processor 0 is spending most of its time waiting for data from the host system. The solution is simple: remove the host-interaction bottleneck and this will eliminate the idle times associated with processors 1 and 2. Simply by removing this bottleneck, the utilization of processors 1 and 2 is dramatically increased, making the entire system more efficient.

RN731JTTD6041C10_Datasheet PDF

This is an example of the comprehensive environment the DSP industry needs to reduce the time-to-productivity and the time-to-market demands of today's increasingly complex applications.

Software tools in the DSP industry have traditionally lagged behind the tools in other industries because of the DSP market's immaturity and the deeply embedded nature of the technology. However, this situation is changing. DSPs are becoming accepted in new and increasingly complex application areas, fueling the need for development tools that more closely match the system-level, visualization environments found in other industries.

RN731JTTD6041C10_Datasheet PDF

Because DSPs are employed in application areas that demand the highest performance available, it is often necessary to have arrays of DSPs to meet those demands. In such multiprocessing environments, it is important to have a tight coupling between the development environment and the hardware so that the most efficient code and the proper system-level trade-offs are made in an organized and timely manner.

MILPITAS, Calif. — Xicor Inc. plans to shift more of its IC processing capacity to outside foundries as it struggles to control costs at its own wafer fab in Silicon Valley.

The Champ-more properly, the Common Heterogeneous Architecture for Multiprocessing-relies on a 66-MHz, 64-bit PCI backbone bus and the company's own IXStar DSP/PCI interface ASIC. The Champ architecture organizes the processing resource as two clusters of DSP processor elements,” said Mark Alexander, product-support manager at Ixthos.

Both processors in a cluster have their own 32-bit PCI path to a common IXStar, and that ASIC gives each cluster dedicated access to a 66-MHz, 64-bit PMC expansion site. Clusters are isolated from each other and from the board's supervisory PowerPC microprocessor by PCI/PCI bridges, which allow concurrent data movement and make each processing cluster's I/O operations independent of other on-board data-transfer operations,” Alexander said. The internal PCI bus allows up to three independent data paths, each with peak transfer rates of 528 Mbytes/s.”

Pentek Inc. (Upper Saddle River, N.J.), on the other hand, eschewed PMC for the I/O on its Model 429x, a quad-C6201 or quad-6701 VMEbus board announced late last year. Instead it tapped a homegrown I/O scheme called VIM (VelociTI Interface Modules), which gives every processor its own dedicated mezzanine site. (VelociTI is TI's VLIW DSP architecture, implemented in the C6x family.)

Pentek already supports three to four different mezzanine buses for I/O, but a new bus was absolutely required to keep up with the DSPs, said company vice president Rodger Hosking. The VIM scheme is tailored for maximum I/O throughput and fully buffered with synchronous FIFOs to minimize processor overhead,” he said. It provides 400 Mbytes/s of I/O bandwidth for each DSP on board, as well as two buffered 50-Mbit/s serial ports and a 32-bit data-address port for status and control. Aggregate I/O bandwidth on the four-DSP board is 1.6 Gbytes/s. A CompactPCI follow-on is expected.

The company has been steadily expanding the slate of VIM modules to fill the expansion sites on the Model 429X, having entered the new year with three choices in its stable: a narrowband digital receiver; an A/D converter; and a C40 comm-port adapter. At the start of this year, Pentek introduced its fourth, fifth and sixth VIM boards, with hopes of having an even dozen available by year's end. These were the $2,000 Model 6220 Raceway interface, the $995 Model 6226 FPDP (front-panel data port) adapter and the Model 6216, a $4,000 multifunction VIM module containing two wideband digital down converters, two amplifiers and two 65-MHz, 12-bit A/D converters.

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