TI's Ultra Low-Power Programmable DSP Extends Battery Life

Continuing to drive innovation in low power audio/voice applications, Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) (NYSE: TXN) announced today the lowest-power addition to its line of ultra low-power programmable digital signal processors (DSPs). The new TMS320C5506 DSP requires just 0.12 mW of power in standby mode and includes other power-efficient features that make it the lowest-power processor in its class. A full 128 KB of on-chip memory makes for greater programming ease, and a full-speed USB 2.0 interface supplies cost-efficient wired connectivity. Among the many high-volume applications that can benefit from the C5506 DSP’s low-power, memory, connectivity and affordability are touch screen controllers, USB headsets, cordless phones and hands-free car phone kits.

In a Forward Concepts survey included in its recent report, “DSP Strategies: Embedded Chip Trend Continues,” the results clearly indicated that DSP designers named development tools and power consumption as the top two considerations when selecting the optimal DSP chip for their designs, such as portable devices. Will Strauss, President of Forward Concepts said, “TI’s attention to the needs of their customers is certainly reflected in the new C5506 DSP, which delivers the industry’s lowest standby power consumption.” He went on to say, “With its current comprehensive power management tools, TI empowers developers to drive down power consumption to levels that are hard to beat.”

A new option in TI’s low-power programmable DSP portfolio
TI’s new C5506 DSP joins a feature-rich line of extremely low-power multimedia processors that includes the TMS320C5509A, C5507 and C5503 DSPs. With the introduction of the C5506 DSP, system developers have a low-voltage, lower cost option that reduces power consumption even further to minimize the drain on batteries and prolong time between charges. Attributes of the C5506 that keep power consumption to a minimum include:

  • The industry’s lowest standby power (0.120 mW at 108 MHz and 1.2 V)
  • Very low core and memory operating power (for example, 58 mW at 108 MHz)
  • Dynamic frequency
  • Multiple standby modes that turn off individual peripherals and internal functions
  • 128 KB of SRAM for efficient code fit and minimal off-chip memory access
  • Power optimization tools to aid in low-power design

Other integrated features that simplify design and help reduce system costs include a USB 2.0 full-speed port for PC connectivity, three MCBSP ports, three timers, I2C bus, six-channel DMA, 16-bit EMIF, and 36 GPIO. The large number of I/O ports aid in peripheral device connectivity. This also gives a good low power, low cost roadmap to customers migrating from the TMS320C54x(TM) DSP generation with needs for USB connectivity, higher performance or SDRAM memory connectivity. The success of the C5000 DSP platform means that hundreds of off-the-shelf algorithms are available for TMS320C5506(TM) DSP designers to save valuable time-to-market.

New markets for small multimedia systems
The C5506 DSP is an excellent solution for mass-market applications that require real-time signal processing performance yet need to keep power consumption low. Touch screen controllers are moving to DSP-based control for greater precision, lower cost and greater functionality. PC-connected USB headsets require plenty of processing for noise reduction, echo cancellation and audio streaming. Hands-free car phone kits and cordless handsets used in wireless LANs, VoIP phones, deck phones, and other portable applications need a modem signal processor with low standby power for extensive ultra low power idle modes. In each of these cases, the C5506 DSP provides the right combination of low power consumption, MIPS, memory, connectivity, small form factor and affordability for the application. The C5506 DSP’s advantages allow developers of these and other portable systems to create more robust, less expensive products with enhanced appeal for consumers.

“The C5506 DSP allows TI customers to reduce costs and add features that can open new markets for their products,” said John Dixon, low power DSP product marketing manager, Texas Instruments. “This low-cost USB-enabled device extends the capabilities of TI’s low-power DSP offerings, showing that TI continues to provide leadership in affordable portable communications.”

Low-power development support
Developers using the C5506 DSP can rely on the TMS320C55x(TM) Power Optimization DSP Starter Kit (DSK), a comprehensive set of tools that reduces the time needed to find power bottlenecks in a design.

With the DSK, developers can accurately plan, analyze, manage and optimize real-time power consumption. Among its many features, the DSK includes:

  • Power planning tools that allow developers to easily and quickly create trial configurations for determining power consumption for various memory and peripheral combinations.
  • Power Manager in DSP/BIOS(TM) kernel, a software module that enables developers to automatically implement power saving strategies at an operating system level.
  • Power Scaling Library to support dynamic control of run-time core frequency and voltage based on application mode and performance requirements.
  • LabView(TM)-based Power Measurement Tool from National Instruments, providing visual measurement and analysis that allows developers to accurately profile power consumption based on actual application behavior.

Power Management Reference Designs
TI further simplifies power system design in portable applications with complete power management reference designs optimized to support C55x DSPs, available at www.ti.com/dsppower. Developers can select highly efficient, small size and feature-rich low-power DC/DC converters, linear dropout (LDO) regulators and supply voltage supervisors. TI also enables longer battery run-time and system protection through intelligent battery management chargers, capacity monitoring and protection ICs.

Availability, packaging and pricing
The TMS320C5506 DSP is now available in volume from TI and TI Authorized Distributors. The device is packaged in a 12 mm × 12 mm microBGA, with suggested pricing of $5.75 in quantities of 10,000 units. For more information, please go online. TI also offers a complete portfolio of power management products that can work with the C5506 DSP.

Abbreviations and acronyms:

BGA: Ball grid array
BIOS: Basic Input/Output System
DMA: Direct Memory Access
DSK: DSP Starter Kit
DSP: Digital Signal Processor
EMIF: Enhanced Memory Interface
GPIO: General Purpose Input/Output
I2C: Inter-Integrated Circuit
KB: Kilobytes
LAN: Local-Area Network
MHz: Megahertz
MIPS: Millions of instructions per second
mm: Millimeter
mW: Milliwatts
MCBSP: Multi-Channel Buffer Serial Port
SRAM: Static Random Access Memory
TI: Texas Instruments Incorporated
USB: Universal Serial Bus
V: Volt
VoIP: Voice over the Internet Protocol

About Texas Instruments
Texas Instruments Incorporated provides innovative DSP and analog technologies to meet our customers’ real world signal processing requirements. In addition to Semiconductor, the company includes the Educational & Productivity Solutions business. TI is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and has manufacturing, design or sales operations in more than 25 countries. Texas Instruments is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TXN.

TMS320C54x, TMS320C5000, TMS320C55x and DSP/BIOS are trademarks of Texas Instruments.