MIPS Rolls Out Fully Synthesizable Processors for 1 GHz and Beyond

Leveraging more than two decades of market and technology leadership, MIPS Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: MIPS) unveiled its next-generation processor core family based on an innovative embedded microarchitecture. The MIPS32(R) 74K(TM) cores are the industry’s first fully synthesizable 32-bit processors to achieve operating frequencies greater than 1 GHz in TSMC 65nm process technology. Long-time MIPS licensee Broadcom Corporation was the first to license the 74K(TM) core in January as an early access customer—as the company continues to drive next-generation solutions for the business, consumer and service provider markets.

The MIPS-Verified(TM) 74K cores are uniquely designed for high-volume applications throughout the digital and connected home, including DTV, set-top boxes, next-generation DVD players/recorders, broadband access, PON, residential gateways and VoIP – all markets where MIPS holds a commanding position. The 74K(TM) core family is designed to work with generic standard cells, memories and EDA design flows without the need for premium physical IP or costly structured logic and custom design flows. The processor family is optimized to deliver exceptional performance levels as well as area- and power-efficiencies required for today’s complex SoC designs.

“The 74K core family introduces advanced microarchitecture techniques that have never before been available in a synthesizable core —delivering a new level of performance for a licensable design,” noted Linley Gwennap, principal analyst of The Linley Group. “Yet MIPS has been able to deliver this strong performance while optimizing area and cost, giving SoC designers an efficient option for meeting next-generation performance requirements.”

“The rapid convergence of digital devices and the emergence of new consumer markets, including IPTV, HD DVD, Blu-ray(TM) Disc and 802.11n, are driving the demand for superior performance, lower system costs and low power consumption,” said Jack Browne, vice president of marketing at MIPS Technologies. “The 74K core family delivers superior performance and power-efficiencies in the smallest area in its class, enabling our customers to dramatically shorten their design cycles and bring a new generation of powerful MIPS-Based products into the market.”

Innovative Microarchitecture: Optimized for Enhanced Performance
MIPS Technologies has optimized the 74K processor cores for breakthrough performance and area- and power-efficiencies by designing an advanced microarchitecture for the embedded market. This revolutionary core technology is compatible with the software and system interfaces of the industry-standard 24K(R), 24KE(TM) and 34K(TM) processors, enabling SoC designers to take advantage of their existing hardware infrastructure.

Advanced Pipeline Design Maximizes Frequency, Architecture Performance
Compared to traditional approaches, the 74K core’s 17-stage pipeline employing a unique combination of out-of-order dispatch and asymmetric dual-issue, enables a higher frequency, higher performance solution, with lower area and power. Out-of-order instruction dispatch enables the 74K core to execute multiple instructions more often than an in-order processor—resulting in significantly improved performance and efficiency, even for existing binary code. The ability to efficiently execute existing binaries, combined with the use of the same system interface from previous MIPS’ processor cores, allows the 74K core family to offer a seamless upgrade.

Enhanced DSP Features Help Accelerate Performance
The 74K cores also feature enhanced DSP instructions that accelerate performance, reduce power consumption and add more signal processing functionality into the processor. Additional DSP instructions in Revision 2 of the MIPS(R) DSP ASE eliminate the need for a separate DSP core for many audio, video and VoIP applications, reducing silicon area, system costs and design cycles.

The combination of higher frequency, dual-issue capability and enhanced DSP instructions in the 74K core results in a speedup of more than 60% over the 24KE cores for a wide variety of DSP inner loops.

74K Core Feature Highlights:

  • High Performance Floating Point Unit
    • Two pipelines support asymmetric dual-issue
  • Advanced Branch Prediction
    • Three 256-entry Branch History Tables
    • 8-entry Return Prediction Stack
  • Extensive Clock Gating for low power: Fine Grain, Block Level, Top Level
  • Support for L2 Cache – including the MIPS SOC-it(R) L2 Cache Controller

The MIPS32 74K Core Family
The 74K core family includes two members: the 74Kc(TM) base integer core and the 74Kf(TM) core, which adds high-performance floating point support that is fully compliant with the IEEE 754 specification. Both 74K cores feature the CorExtend(TM) functionality, allowing SoC designers to add their own proprietary instructions and tightly coupled hardware.

MIPS32 74Kc Core Product Specifications1 (Speed-Optimized)

Speed (worst case): 1.04 GHz
Core Area (mm2): 1.7
Total Area (mm2): 2.5
Performance: 1.8 DMIPS/MHz
Power: 0.76 mW/MHz
Process TSMC 65 nm GP
Cache Size (inst/data): 32K/32K

* Frequency, power consumption and size depend upon configuration options, synthesis, silicon vendor, process, and cell libraries

Availability and MIPS(R) Ecosystem
The 74K core family is now generally available to customers. Similar to all MIPS product families, the 74K cores will be supported by a robust and extensive ecosystem of silicon IP, software, hardware solutions and services.

About MIPS Technologies
MIPS Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: MIPS) is a leading provider of industry-standard processor architectures and cores for digital consumer, networking, personal entertainment, communications and business applications. The company drives the broadest architectural alliance that delivers 32- and 64-bit embedded RISC solutions to the embedded market, and in combination with its licensees, offers the widest range of robust, scalable processors in standard, custom, semi-custom and application-specific products worldwide. MIPS Technologies currently owns more than 400 patent properties (patents and applications) worldwide and licenses its intellectual property to today’s leading semiconductor companies, ASIC developers and system OEMs.

Today, MIPS-Based(TM) designs are integrated in millions of products around the world, including broadband devices from Linksys, digital cameras from Canon, DTVs and entertainment systems from Sony, DVD Recordable devices from Pioneer, digital set-top boxes from Motorola, network routers from Cisco and laser printers from Hewlett Packard. Founded in 1998, MIPS Technologies is based in Mountain View, California, with offices worldwide. For more information, please contact (650) 567-5000.

MIPS, MIPS32, 24K, 24KE, 74K, 74Kc, 74Kf, SOC-it, CorExtend, MIPS-Verified and MIPS-Based are trademarks or registered trademarks of MIPS Technologies, Inc. in the United States and other countries.