Berkeley Design Technology Reveals Benchmarks for picoChip PC102

Berkeley Design Technology, Inc. (BDTI) has concluded its first public benchmarking of a massively parallel multicore processor, the picoChip PC102 from picoChip Designs Limited. In this landmark effort, BDTI used its BDTI Communications Benchmark (OFDM)(TM) to evaluate the performance of the PC102, a programmable multicore digital signal processor containing 308 heterogeneous processor cores and 14 coprocessors. The BDTI Communications Benchmark (OFDM) is an application-oriented benchmark based on an orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) receiver and is representative of the baseband processing found in many current and emerging wired and wireless communications applications.

Jeff Bier, widely respected technology analyst and president of BDTI, announced the results, saying, “BDTI is pleased that picoChip has selected the BDTI Communications Benchmark (OFDM) to demonstrate the capabilities of the PC102. BDTI’s benchmarks command the highest respect among electronic system developers, due to the careful design of the benchmarks and to BDTI’s rigorous certification process. A unique aspect of BDTI’s benchmarks is that they enable comparison of highly dissimilar processing devices. For example, the BDTI Communications Benchmark (OFDM) has been used to compare the performance of conventional single-core DSP processors, FPGAs, and multicore processors from a variety of vendors.”

The BDTI Communications Benchmark (OFDM)(TM) is a simplified OFDM communications receiver. It was designed to closely model the computationally demanding functions of broadband communications applications while limiting complexity in order to minimize the effort needed to implement the benchmark. The BDTI Communications Benchmark (OFDM) and other application-oriented benchmarks developed by BDTI are the only independently developed and certified benchmarks for comparing the capabilities of widely different processing devices on embedded processing tasks. Other application-oriented benchmark suites from BDTI suitable for evaluating multicore processing solutions include the BDTI Video Encoder and Decoder Benchmarks(TM) and the BDTI Solution Benchmark(TM) for H.264 Decoding.

BDTI’s analysis of picoChip’s 160 MHz PC102 shows that the device is able to handle 14 channels of the BDTI OFDM benchmark at an associated cost-per-channel of $6.79. In contrast, a high-performance FPGA benchmarked by BDTI using the BDTI OFDM benchmark supports 432 channels at a cost-per-channel of $2.97, and a high-performance DSP processor similarly benchmarked supports about 3.5 channels at a cost-per-channel of approximately $65. The PC102 offers a mid-range solution for wireless equipment manufacturers that need more performance than provided by a DSP processor but don’t want to use an FPGA. For a complete discussion of BDTI’s analysis of the picoChip PC102, read the article.

More information about BDTI, the BDTI Communications Benchmark (OFDM)(TM), and results for it and other BDTI Benchmarks suites may be found on the BDTI Web site, by sending an enquiry by email to, or by contacting Jeremy Giddings at +1 (510) 665-1600.

About BDTI
Berkeley Design Technology, Inc., (BDTI) is the leading independent benchmarking and consulting company for digital signal processing products and applications. BDTI enables semiconductor, intellectual property, and design tools providers to increase sales by providing compelling evidence of their products’ capabilities, and helps electronic system, chip and intellectual property companies to build superior products through objective analysis and specialized engineering services. BDTI is privately held and is located in Berkeley, California.