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Cadence Cuts ConnX Costs

July 26, 2022

Author: Joseph Byrne

Acknowledging that bigger isn’t always better, Cadence introduced two ConnX DSP cores that require less power and area than its B10 and B20 while preserving compatibility. The new 110 and 120 achieve this reduction by narrowing the SIMD engines and shortening the pipeline. The new cores are available for general licensing, and products using them should appear early next year.

Like the B10 and B20, the new, littler DSPs target radar, lidar, and 5G communications, and they can serve in other applications that need vector processing. Depending on their performance requirements, customers can choose, for example, the 120 for an IoT radio and the B20 for a high-speed 5G modem. Practically excluding it from 4G and 5G basebands, the 110 lacks the optional forward-error-correction (FEC) engine of the other three. Cadence offers additional DSPs for audio, vision, and AI processing based on its Tensilica Xtensa core.

Another way to view the 110 and 120 is as successors to the popular ConnX BBE16EP and BBE32EP, bringing new features and performance enhancements to these cost-optimized vector DSPs. For example, adding packed 8-bit support and doubling the number of 16-bit MAC units and single-precision FMA units nearly doubles throughput on some kernels. Reciprocal and reciprocal-square-root accelerators boost the throughput of those operations fivefold. Excluding the additional MAC and FMA units, which are optional, the 110 and 120 are similar to the BBE16EP and BBE32EP in power and area.

Subscribers can view the full article in the Microprocessor Report.

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