by Anton Shilov
10/14/2013 | 11:00 PM
Imagination Technologies, a leading developer of graphics and general-purpose processing technologies, has announced the first MIPS Series5 ‘Warrior P-class’ CPU, representing a major step forward in feature set for high-performance MIPS CPU IP cores. The new MIPS P5600 core delivers industry-leading 32-bit performance together with class-leading low power characteristics in a silicon footprint up to 30% smaller than comparable CPU cores.
Building on this first important milestone in the new MIPS Series 5 era, the MIPS ‘Warrior’ family of CPUs will expand over the next 12 months to comprise a compelling portfolio of 64-bit and 32-bit variants, each delivering best-in-class performance, and benefiting from the unrivalled MIPS architecture that enables seamless migration from 32-bit to 64-bit solutions, according to Imagination.
With the P5600, Imagination is offering a compelling CPU suitable for a broad range of products targeting a balance of high-performance processing with small silicon area and excellent low power credentials. The P5600 supports multicore configurations of up to six cores per cluster with high-performance cache coherency, hardware virtualization, 128-bit SIMD, plus significant microarchitecture optimizations for maximizing SoC system performance. The P5600 is ideal for SoCs targeting next-generation mobile phones and tablets, connected consumer products such as set-top boxes, DTVs and multiroom multi-channel audio systems, home and office networking and micro-servers.
“We are proud to announce this first MIPS ‘Warrior P-class’ CPU. This is about much more than the arrival of yet another CPU IP core. This is the start of something much bigger – the rollout of a comprehensive family of next-generation CPUs that will change the CPU IP landscape forever. As we continue to roll out MIPS Series5 products to address the applications spectrum from entry-level to the high-end, we will provide levels of performance, efficiency and functionality that surpass other offerings in the market. Many more Warriors are coming,” Tony King-Smith, executive vice president of marketing at Imagination.
The P5600 cores are the first MIPS CPU IP cores to include highly-optimized hardware virtualization as defined in the MIPS r5 architecture announced December 2012. The industry already uses virtualization technology extensively in applications for servers, automotive and other products requiring the use of multiple secure and isolated operating systems. Imagination is taking this concept to the next level, leveraging virtualization as the foundation for a growing number of applications demanding robustness, support for multiple security contexts and more. Starting with the P5600, MIPS Series5 cores embrace hardware virtualization from the entry level to the high end, with simple, flexible and complete virtualization across the MIPS Series5 range.
In a fully connected world with modern media delivery requirements, security needs have outgrown traditional methodologies. The P5600 core is optimized to support multiple security contexts, leveraging technology from Imagination and ecosystem partners for mobile, connected consumer, IoT and other segments. The platform scales to support secure content delivery, secure payments, identity protection and more across multiple applications and content sources.
The P5600 is the first MIPS CPU core to feature full 128-bit SIMD support, delivering the highest performance for a wide range of tasks that can exploit the efficiencies of SIMD execution in data-parallel applications such as audio codecs, image processing, DSP, low-level simple 2D graphics and other media-rich applications. The SIMD engine used in the P5600 supports a wide variety of data types from 8-bit integer up to native double precision floating point operations.
The MIPS SIMD architecture adheres to true RISC philosophy, starting with thirty-two 128-bit architectural registers. Instructions were defined to be easily supported within high-level languages such as C or OpenCL for fast and simple development of new code, as well as leverage of existing code. The hardware-efficient, compiler-friendly implementation of the SIMD in the P5600 is perfectly aligned with the industry’s shift toward code portability using JITs and other forms of dynamic compilers.
With the P5600, Imagination has also implemented a range of performance enhancing features compared to earlier generations of MIPS cores, including widened datapaths and buses, increased L2 cache prefetching, enhanced load/store bonding, and optimizations for JIT and browser applications.
In addition, the P5600 incorporates Enhanced Virtual Address (EVA) and Extended Physical Address (XPA) features that enable scalability to future generations of products. EVA enhances the effective use of the virtual memory space in the P5600, allowing both user and kernel space to access more than 3GB of space each without the need for HIGHMEM support in Linux. XPA extends the physical addressing capabilities of the P5600 up to 1 Terabyte. In combination with hardware virtualization, EVA and XPA extend the usability of the P5600 well beyond other 32-bit CPUs.
The MIPS architecture enables binary compatibility across the range of Series5 Warrior CPUs, delivering superior performance and efficiency from entry-level/microcontroller CPUs up to high-end performance-driven networking systems. MIPS Series5 cores share a common datapath for execution of all 32-bit and 64-bit code, ensuring that 32-bit binaries for any ‘Warrior’ CPU will run without change on any 64-bit ‘Warrior’ CPU. MIPS Series5 64-bit CPUs do not need any separate datapaths to run legacy 32-bit applications, eliminating wasted silicon area and power when migrating to 64-bit.
The P5600 will be available for licensing this quarter. When MIPS IP cores are combined with Imagination’s broad portfolio of other IP cores including PowerVR graphics and video, Ensigma radio communications, FlowCloud IP and more, Imagination’s customers have a complete solution for their connected SoCs.