ARM, Intrinsity boost performance of Cortex-R4 processor

CIOL Bureau
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CAMBRIDGE, UK & AUSTIN, US: ARM and Intrinsity Inc. announced their agreement to produce high-performance implementations of the ARM Cortex family of processors. The first of these will be implementations of the Cortex-R4 processor operating at around twice the frequency achievable using standard synthesis techniques on the same silicon process. The Cortex-R4X processor implementations are available for licensing from ARM immediately.


The processor implementations incorporate Intrinsity's Fast14 1-of-N Domino Logic (NDL) technology, which enables faster circuit speeds, while minimizing power consumption and area. With its ultra-fast processing speeds, the ARM Cortex-R4X processor implementations enable higher capacity and data rates without increasing unit costs for very high-volume, deeply embedded applications such as hard disk drives, printers and networking equipment.

The Cortex-R4X processor implementations incorporate all of the advanced features of the popular Cortex-R4 processor. These enable the execution of complex control algorithms and real-time workloads in next-generation embedded systems, while maximizing power efficiency. The extremely flexible local memory architecture enables the tightly coupled memory (TCM) to be unified into a single logical address space, while providing the same performance as cache memory.

Straightforward direct memory access (DMA) support for the TCM extends the use of this memory for shared buffers and streaming data. In addition, all versions of the Cortex-R4 processor offer embedded Error Correcting Code (ECC) technology which monitors memory accesses to detect and correct errors, providing very high reliability and availability. The advanced AMBA 3 AXI compliant bus interfaces allow high performance memory backplanes to be implemented using the ARM PrimeCell portfolio.


Various configurations of the Cortex-R4 processor will be available as Cortex-R4X implementations, on a range of silicon processes. The first implementation will operate at 600MHz under worst-case operating conditions on the TSMC 65LP process. As a cycle-accurate implementation of the Cortex-R4 processor it executes all the same software binaries, and is fully supported by the RealView Development Suite. Standard Cortex-R4 processor models can be used for cycle accurate modelling of the Cortex-R4X processor implementation with RealView SoC Designer, offering rapid prototyping and architectural exploration.

Bob Russo, CEO, Intrinsity, said: "Intrinsity FastCores incorporate Fast14 technology, and we use this to enable breakthrough embedded processor performance with very low power consumption. By working closely with ARM on the development of the Cortex-R4X processor implementations, together we will be able to reach a much broader base of designers who are looking for ways to achieve higher performance without sacrificing power efficiency and bring new SoCs to market quickly."