picoChip multicore-DSP 40x Better in BDTI Benchmarks

New results published by Berkeley Design Technology (BDTI) reveal that picoChip’s PC102 multicore signal processing device has a 40-fold advantage in price-performance over traditional DSP processors solutions in key communications benchmarks, and 8-times higher absolute performance.

The BDTI Communications Benchmark (OFDM)(TM) results demonstrate that the PC102 picoArray(TM) can implement 14 benchmark channels in a single device running 160MHz. This represents a cost per channel of $6.78, some 40 times less than the figure for competing traditional DSPs such as Texas Instruments’ TMS320C6455, running at 1GHz. The C6455 cited in BDTI’s “capacity optimized” results implements 1.8 channels on a device. Alternatively, the “cost-optimized” TI C6410 achieves 0.3 channels per device for a benchmark of $48; the PC102 has seven-times better cost-per-channel and forty-seven times higher capacity. The Freescale MPC8144 at 1GHz delivered 3.5 channels for $57 each; giving the picoArray four times more capability and an eight-times cost advantage.

The PC102 is the first volume-shipping multicore product to be submitted to independent audits for performance.

The results were obtained using a standard production-grade 130nm version of the PC102: picoChip expects a further three-fold price-performance improvement with its newer PC20x family in 90nm process technology.

“These results demonstrate why the world is moving towards multicore architectures,” said Guillaume d’Eyssautier, President and CEO of picoChip. “The devices we are currently shipping to major customers perform far better than legacy DSPs, while retaining the standard, familiar languages and ease of programmability that designers demand.”

“The PC102 high-capacity results fall between those of the high performance FPGAs and the high-performance DSP processors, in terms of the number of channels supported and the associated cost per channel,” commented BDTI in an article to be published on September 26. “The Texas Instruments high-performance ‘C6455 can only handle one channel of the benchmark, which means that the system designer would need to use multiple ‘C64x’s to implement a multichannel application, or (more likely) a combination of ‘C64x plus an FPGA. Either approach would be more expensive than using picoChip’s solution. The Xilinx FX140, on the other hand, can handle many more channels than the PC102. The FX140 is much more expensive than the PC102, but has a lower cost-per-channel.”

The BDTI Communication Benchmark (OFDM) is designed to be representative of the signal processing workloads found in communications equipment for applications such as DSL, cable modems and wireless systems. It is intended to enable benchmarking and comparison of a wide range of devices on real-world, datapath-focused applications. Each channel of the benchmark is a representative model of an Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex (OFDM) modem, including filter, Fast Fourier Transform (FFT), slicer and Viterbi decoder.

The PC102 is the leading multi-core DSP, optimized for current and next-generation wireless infrastructure applications. Based on a massively multicore, multiple instruction multiple data (MIMD) architecture and an any:any mesh interconnect, dozens of carriers around the world are already using base-stations that depend on its performance and upgradeability.

Founded in 2000, picoChip has developed the world’s highest performance multi-core DSP, focussed on advanced wireless infrastructure. The company’s technology is being used by over a hundred manufacturers, including Tier 1s, in both WiMAX and 3G. picoChip femtocell customers include Axiom, ipAccess (supplying Thomson), Ubiquisys (supplying NEC and Motorola) and a number of other major OEMs and ODMs. Recently Google announced a strategic investment in Ubiquisys, who use picoChips’s HSPA femtocell product. In WiMAX, picoChip is the industry standard architecture, with customers that include Intel, AT4 (the certification authority), Airspan and others. The company recently won the Chip Design, Industry Innovation and Industry Choice Awards at the Best of WiMAX World Awards 2007, taking home 50% of the awards available.

Certified Results for the BDTI Communications Benchmark (OFDM)[TM]

High Capacity Results
TI TMS320C6455 1GHz 1.09 channels $268.50/channel (without use of Viterbi coprocessor)
TI TMS320C6455 1GHz <1.8 channels >$163/channel (estimated, with use of Viterbi coprocessor)
Freescale MSC8144 3.5 channels $57/channel (estimated)
Altera 1S80-6 60 channels $10/channel (previous generation)
picoChip PC102 @ 160MHz 14 channels $6.78/channel (previous generation, 130nm)
Xilinx Virtex-4 FX140– 10 speed grade 432 channels $2.97/channel

TI TMS320C6410 400MHz 0.31 channels $48.23/channel
Freescale MSC8144 3.5 channels $66/channel (estimated)
Altera 1S80-6 60 channels $10/channel (previous generation)
picoChip PC102 14 channels $6.78/channel (previous generation, 130nm)
Xilinx Virtex-4 SX25 Slowest speed grade 64 channels $1.39/channel
Altera Stratix II 2S15 Slowest speed grade 20 channels $2.75/channel

Results for the BDTI Communications Benchmark (OFDM)[TM] (c) 2007 BDTI.