You know ARM, MIPS, and maybe PPC processor cores, but have you ever heard about Beyond Semiconductor RISC architecture? I hadn’t, until I read an article on EETimes.
Beyond Semiconductor, a company founded in 2005, and based in Ljubljana, Slovenia, has apparently released its own embedded cores for a while including BA12, BA14 and BA22 which are respectively equivalent to ARM9, Cortex A9 and ARM11 in terms of performance. They count big names such as STMicro, Lattice Semi and Ericsson among their licensees. More recently, the company announced its first application processor called BA25, that equivalent to Cortex A8/A7 architecture with 1.7 DMIPS/MHz, and is clocked up to 800 MHz on 65nm LP. Beyond BA25 32-bit processor designed for systems running applications on general-purpose operating systems such as Linux and Android, and targets applications such as set-top boxes and media players, Image and video processing systems, and wireless, battery-powered, or ultra-low-cost devices.
Here are the key features of BA25 core:
- 32-bit CPU
- Seven-Stage Pipeline
- Out-of Order Completion
- Sophisticated Branch Prediction
- Optional Floating Point Unit
- 1.7 DMIPS/MHz
- 2.0 Coremarks/MHz
- 800+ MHz on TSMC 65nm LP
- Power Management
- Dynamic clock gating and power shut-off of unused units
- Software- and hardware-controlled clock frequency
- Wake-up on tick timer or external interrupt
- Memory Access
- Separate Instruction and Data Caches and MMU – AXI4 data & instruction buses (32-, 64- or 128-bit) with 4 GBytes direct addressable space on each bus
- Tightly coupled Quick Memory (QMEM) interface for fast and deterministic access to code and/or data
- Two-Level Cache and MMU
- L0 cache running at core frequency and L1 cache running at half the core frequency
- 1–16 Kbytes L0 caches, up to four-way set associative
- 32–512 Kbytes L1 caches, up to four-way set associative
- L0 MMU with up to 32 four-way associative entries
- L1 MMU with up to 2048 four-way associative entries
- Optional Integrated Peripherals
- Vectored Interrupt Controller
- Microcontroller peripherals such as GPIO, UART, Real-Time Clock, Timers, I2C, and SPI
- Memory controllers, interconnect IP, and more
BA25 is royalty-free, and you only pay once for the license. This 32-bit processor core is binary-compatible previous BA processors, and uses BA2 instruction set. The company provides a complete SDK with a C/C++ tool chain, an Eclipse IDE (BeyondStudio), an architectural simulator, as well as ported C libraries, RTOSs, and OSes. They also have eval kits for previous generations on their website, but nothing for BA25 yet.
You can find more information on Beyond Semi BA25 page.