MIPS Develops Multi-Threaded, 64-Bit Low-Power Microprocessor Technology

MIPS Prodigy to Enable Multi-Core, Multi-Threaded 64-Bit Microprocessors

by Anton Shilov
03/28/2011 | 09:24 AM

MIPS Technologies, a designer of microprocessor technologies for various low-power devices, on Monday unveiled its plans to develop processor core that combines a 64-bit processor architecture with simultaneous multi-threading (SMT) technology. The core, the first in a family of cores code named "Prodigy", will be officially launched later in 2011.


"With our forthcoming core, our customers can now quickly and easily develop MIPS64 solutions at a fraction of the cost and time it would take to develop a 64-bit core themselves. We are pleased to offer this solution, for which we are seeing increasing demand. Our customers can leverage not only the advanced 64-bit Prodigy IP core, but they will also benefit from the surrounding infrastructure and broad, mature ecosystem that are already in place for the MIPS64 architecture as well as multiprocessing and multi-threading on MIPS," said Art Swift, vice president of marketing and business development at MIPS Technologies.

By offering the combination of a 64-bit architecture, SMT technology and coherent multiprocessing in an off-the-shelf IP core, MIPS is providing the mass market with a fast path to performance, efficiency and scalability for advanced networking, storage, mobile and digital consumer designs, the company indicated.

MIPS Technologies has a long history in 64-bit processing. The company has licensed its MIPS64 architecture to numerous licensees for a range of markets including advanced networking, storage and servers, where applications can benefit from the larger address space and increased data processing capability of a 64-bit architecture. MIPS Technologies also has an extensive history in multi-threading technology. Multiple MIPS licensees have reported significant increases in performance as well as overall system efficiency with MIPS-based multi-threaded processors. SMT technology promises even higher gains in performance and efficiency through the ability to execute multiple instructions from multiple threads every clock cycle.

The Prodigy core family will offer seamless code compatibility and an elegant upward migration path between the MIPS32 and MIPS64 architectures. This continues the tradition that started with the introduction in 1991 of the MIPS R4000 microprocessor, the world's first 64-bit microprocessor, which established complete binary compatibility between all 32-bit and 64-bit MIPS implementations.

"As applications become more complicated and require more memory, there is a basic limitation of accessing memory with 32-bit addresses. That limit is becoming a barrier. Ultimately it will be necessary for many embedded applications to move to 64-bit architectures because of the practically unlimited address space they allow. The time is right for MIPS to introduce this product to the market, because the next generation of advanced communications and networking products will need this headroom," said Joseph Byrne, an analyst at The Linley Group.