Beyond Semiconductor and CAST have jointly announced BA20 32-bit embedded processor core with PipelineZero Architecture (zero-stage execution pipeline), that rivals with ARM Cortex A4 in terms of performance per MHz, while using about the same silicon area as an ARM Cortex M0+. which could be critical for applications such as wearables, sensors, and wireless communication, that may require both a small footprint and high performance efficiency.
The company’s PipelineZero micro-archirtecture can execute one instruction per cycle, hence saving energy by doing more in less time, and by operating at lower clock rates.
Key features listed for BA20 IP core:
- PipelineZero architecture for high performance efficiency with tiny silicon footprint
- 3.04 DMIPs/MHz (vs ARM Cortex M4: 1.25 DMIPS/MHz)
- 3.41 Coremarks/MHz (vs ARM Cortex M4: 3.40 CoreMarks/MHz)
- 2µW/MHz (vs ARM Cortex M0+: 3µW/MHz)
- 10K gates (0.01mm2) in 9-track 40G (vs 0.009mm2 for ARM Cortex M0+)
- BA2 ISA Extreme Code Density for less instruction fetching energy usage
- Interconnect – 32-bit wide AMBA AXI4-lite bus
- Advanced 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
- Optional Processor Units
- Programmable Vectored Interrupt Controller Unit
- Memory Protection Unit
- Timer Unit
- Debug Unit
- MDB support
- Trace port support
- ROM Patching Unit
- IEEE-754 compliant Floating Point Unit
- Hardware Multiplier/Divider
- Peripherals include GPIO, UART, Real-Time Clock, Timers, I2C, and SPI
- Memory controllers, interconnects, and more
BA20 Processor IP Core, and peripherals IP are available now in RTL source code (Verilog) or FPGA netlists, and BeyondStudio Eclipse-based IDE for Windows or Linux can be used for software development. The company can also provide reference design boards with JTAG and serial debug/trace for both CPU and system, but no details have been provided about these hardware platforms.
As with all Beyond Semi processor Core, BA20 is royalty-free, and only a one-time license needs to be purchased. Further details can be found on Beyond Semi BA20 PilelineZero Embedded Processor page.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.