Multicore ARM processors fit high-end, power-efficient apps

By Rich Nass

Executive Vice President

Embedded Computing Design

September 22, 2014

Multicore ARM processors fit high-end, power-efficient apps

Speaking of low power, TI's KeyStone architecture delivers multicore performance at less than 10 W.

Speaking of low-power design – what, you didn’t read my last blog on low-power design?TI recently announced a line of microprocessors (MPUs) based on its KeyStone technology. The AM5KEx processors enable designers to build power- and area-efficient systems while maintaining a low power budget for a wide range of applications, including avionics and defense, industrial routing and switching, enterprise gateway, and general-purpose embedded controllers.

The KeyStone multicore architecture is the platform upon which TIís TMS320C66x DSP generation was developed. According to the company, KeyStone differs from competitive multicore architectures with its capacity to provide full processing capability to every core in a multicore device.

Some of the key features of the AM5K2Ex family include performance under 10 W with up to 19600 DMIPS from the quad-core ARM Cortex-A15s at 1.4 GHz and 6 Mb of on-chip memory; power management features that can shut down unused cores or peripherals and bring these elements back up quickly when the processing load increases; and a 4 Mb L2 cache memory with ECC.

It’s the wide temperature range, from -40 ∞C to +100 ∞C, which allows it to support a diverse set of applications. Thatís combined with a lifecycle of 100,000 power-on hours (POHs) and soft error rates (SERs) that are aligned to meet the reliability requirements of the industrial and defense markets.

A Linux software development kit is available, as well as a set of C66x DSP libraries.

Rich Nass, Embedded Computing Brand Director

Richard Nass’ key responsibilities include setting the direction for all aspects of OSM’s ECD portfolio, including digital, print, and live events. Previously, Nass was the Brand Director for Design News. Prior, he led the content team for UBM’s Medical Devices Group, and all custom properties and events. Nass has been in the engineering OEM industry for more than 30 years. In prior stints, he led the Content Team at EE Times,, and TechOnLine. Nass holds a BSEE degree from NJIT.

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