Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Freescale Drives Embedded Multicore with New QorIQ Family

AMP series built on 28nm with new multithreaded 64-bit core
By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk

Freescale Semiconductor's next generation of QorIQ embedded multicore devices uses a new, multithreaded 64bit Power Architecture core, 28nm process technology, up to 24 virtual cores, new acceleration engines and sophisticated power management to deliver new levels of performance and power efficiency.
The AMP series delivers up to 4x the performance of Freescale's previous-generation flagship eight-core QorIQ P4080 device and will include a broad array of next-generation control and data plane processors scaling from cost-effective, ultra-low-power single-core products up to highly advanced SoCs targeting the most demanding networking, industrial and military/aerospace applications.
The AMP series is engineered to help network equipment OEMs and service providers meet challenging power and performance requirements driven by a worldwide explosion of network endpoints and associated IP traffic. According to Cisco, global IP traffic will quadruple by 2015 and reach 966 exabytes per year. The company also projects the increase in IP traffic between the years 2014 and 2015 alone will be 200 exabytes, which is greater than the total amount of IP traffic generated globally in 2010.
"Exploding IP traffic rates and the proliferation of smarter, bandwidth-hungry consumer devices are dramatically increasing demands on next-generation networks," said Lisa Su, senior vice president and general manager of Freescale's Networking & Multimedia Group. "Our new QorIQ AMP series delivers the next wave of innovation for networking OEMs through leveraging Freescale's R&D strength, wealth of IP, and signature intelligent integration."

Multithreaded e6500 core
The foundation of Freescale's QorIQ AMP series is the new multithreaded, 64bit Power Architecture e6500 core running at up to 2.5GHz. Aimed at both high-end control plane and high-performance data plane applications, the e6500 will be at the heart of AMP series products. The e6500 incorporates an enhanced version of the proven, high-performance, widely adopted AltiVec vector processing unit as well as acceleration engines: 
  • data path acceleration (DPAA) technology
  • compression/decompression technology provides 20 Gbps of performance
  • SEC 5.0 crypto accelerator offloads protocol processing, including LTE, IPSec, and SSL, at up to 40 Gbps regex acceleration, 
  • 128-bit SIMD data prefetching, 
  • in-line parsing and classification, 
  • quality of service functions
The AMP series also incorporates many previous-generation QorIQ features such as CoreNet interconnect fabric, a cache-coherent memory hierarchy, hardware-based virtualisation for optimal performance and dynamic on-chip debug technology that provides deep visibility into complex software processes.
"The new QorIQ AMP series underscores Freescale's continued investment in highly advanced multicore processing technology for its large roster of top-tier worldwide networking equipment manufacturers," said Linley Gwennap, founder and principal analyst of The Linley Group. "Following its strong execution in delivering first generation 45-nm QorIQ products to market, Freescale is well positioned for continued success with the 28-nm process technology and highly advanced new core and accelerators included in the new QorIQ AMP series."
The devices will use an advanced power management approach that reduces energy consumption using a variable-mode power switch that allows customers to modulate the power of the cores and other processing units with independence and precision.
The AMP series consists of three levels of products within a scalable portfolio:

Control plane processors (service provider routers, storage networks)
  • Up to 6 cores running at up to 2.5 GHz
  • Greater than 6 MB L2 cache
High-end data plane processors (routers, switches, access gateways, mil/aero applications)
  • Up to 24 virtual cores running at up to 2.0 GHz
  • 50 Gbps IP forwarding capability
  • Advanced application acceleration

Low-end data plane processors (media gateways, network attached storage, integrated services router)
  • Up to 8 virtual cores running up to 1.6 GHz
  • Advanced application acceleration
  • Less than 10W power

Freescale's first product in the QorIQ AMP series, the T4240 device, integrates hardware accelerators with 12 dual-threaded e6500 cores, providing 24 threads to address high-end data plane processing applications. Dual-threaded efficiency, improved DMIPs per thread and higher frequency deliver 4x performance gain and more than 2x power efficiency gain over the previous-generation QorIQ P4080 device. Advanced capabilities allow for intelligent sharing and duplication of resources between threads and a larger amount of on-die cache per core. Application examples for the T4240 device include metro carrier edge routers, access gateways and aerospace/defence products. Freescale will provide more details regarding the T4240 product later this year. The device is planned for initial availability in early 2012.
The AMP series is software-compatible with the PowerQUICC and QorIQ product families and has extensive development support including the CodeWarrior development suite and a rich third-party ecosystem for operating systems, tools and application software. Development tools for the AMP series are planned for availability starting Q1 2012.
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