Analog Devices expands its Blackfin processor family

13th March 2007
Posted By : ES Admin
Analog Devices expands its Blackfin processor family
Analog Devices is expanding its Blackfin line with the ADSP-BF52x family, a scalable series of processors optimised for performance-demanding portable applications including portable media players (PMPs), voice over IP (VoIP) phones, IP cameras, and mobile TV devices. Advancing the Dynamic Power Management capabilities of Blackfin to achieve the line's best power efficiency yet (as low as 0.16mW/MHz core power at 250MHz) these newest processors offer system designers a breadth of choice with a high-performance/low-power series (ADSP-BF527/BF525/BF522) operating at 600MHz, and an ultra-low-power series running at up to 400MHz.
The new Blackfin processors enable developers to flexibly create their next generation of battery-conserving portable products, said Will Strauss, president of DSP market watcher Forward Concepts. With Blackfin, a system designer can choose the right profile for his application at the appropriate price. The Blackfin value proposition and its scalable performance let developers differentiate their products with features that will be most appealing to consumers.

To minimise bill-of-materials (BOM) cost, development time, and board size, options for integrated system peripherals on the Blackfin ADSP-BF52x include High Speed USB On-The-Go (OTG) , 10/100 Ethernet, host DMA port, NAND flash controller, up to 48 general-purpose I/O (GPIO) ports, and more. Additionally, ADSP-BF527C/BF525C/BF522C versions feature an embedded, low-power stereo audio codec for use in space-constrained applications such as PMPs and IP phones.

This newest branch on the Blackfin family tree offers the performance associated with high-end media players at the cost structure of MP3 player chipsets. The performance, power, and price advantages of the Blackfin BF52x family expand designs to enable a rich feature set, said Jerry McGuire, vice president, General Purpose DSP, Analog Devices, Inc. And as portable media devices become more networked and communicate peer-to-peer, our Lockbox Secure Technology helps developers implement a range of security measures for different usage models.

The Blackfin ADSP-BF52x uses internal voltage regulator and process improvements to enhance the Dynamic Power Management capabilities of Blackfin, which scale power consumption on-chip to match the MIPS necessary for the function being executed at the time.

The range of the BF52x family provides developers a spectrum of choice to match the MIPS capacity, power consumption, and price point suited to their particular applications. With the USB port option, the BF52x media processor is geared to portable applications such as premium audio players. Versions with fewer system peripherals are optimized for use as media co-processors that allow designs to be augmented with additional functionality; for example, enabling video processing to be added to an audio media player. With its power-efficient signal processing and the availability of peripherals that enable glueless connectivity to Ethernet and Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g modules, the new Blackfin BF52x family provides capabilities well-targeted for battery-powered VoIP phones and IP-connected cameras.

The BF52x family incorporates Lockbox Secure Technology, a combination of hardware and software mechanisms that provide the means for developers to implement security measures that range from safeguarding secrets such as OEMs’ intellectual property, to verifying the identity of devices and users for protected e-commerce and social networking, to digital rights management (DRM) content protection.

More specifically, Lockbox Secure Technology provides one-time programmable (OTP) memory and a secure processing mode (Blackfin Secure Mode) to enable these capabilities. Its public, non-secure, user-programmable area of OTP memory is suited for storing public keys to authenticate the system in a manner that is controllable and configurable by the developer. A private, secure, user-programmable area of OTP memory lets developers program their own private device assets such as private keys, and maintain the confidentiality and integrity of those assets. Furthermore, using Secure Mode on Blackfin allows systems to be implemented in which only authenticated, trusted code is allowed to execute on the processor within a secure processing environment.

We are pleased to work with Analog Devices to create designs based on their new Blackfin processor family and our Wi-Fi semiconductor solutions. As a result, we can now provide product developers with a comprehensive low-power and small form-factor solution specifically designed for power-sensitive embedded products such as media players, handsets, and other consumer devices, said Jayant Somani, director of Wireless Marketing for Conexant Systems, Inc., a Newport Beach, Calif. company that supplies semiconductor solutions for broadband communications and the digital home.

ADI continues to be at the forefront of media player innovation, and we were pleased with their overall approach to heightened performance and security, said Darrell Blegen, director of Glanceable Devices at Microsoft. We are pleased that ADI promotes the use of the .NET Micro Framework and our overall glanceable user interface.

RadioScape has selected the Blackfin family of processors as one of its latest technology platforms because it provides outstanding performance yet keeps power consumption low to maximize battery life, explained John Hall, CEO of RadioScape plc., the London-based developer of end-to-end digital audio and video broadcasting solutions. It will enable us to create a whole new generation of innovative products for digital radio and mobile TV.

In deploying new services and content, we are looking to Blackfin because we are very pleased with the performance, value, and support, said Stuart Cox, VP Advanced Development at XM Satellite Radio. These newest additions further strengthen the Blackfin family for leading-edge audio and video applications.

The ADSP-52x family will range from the ADSP-BF527 at 600MHz for $14.50, to the 300MHz version of the ADSP-BF522L for $5.50. All prices are based on 10,000-unit quantities.

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