Superscalar embedded processors?

Hi all,

Until now, I thought that superscalar processor design is only of interest for the desktop computer. However, since more and more transistors can be packed on the same die, I am wondering if there are now already the first superscalar processors available for the embedded market? Or are they not suitable because of the power they consume?


Reply to
Richard Flach
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Have been for a while now. The Toshiba MeP with IVC2, for example, can run up to 3 different insns per cycle, and the MN10300 has some dual-opcode encodings for two insns per cycle. IIRC many TI DSP chips run multiple insns per cycle also.

The Wikipedia page on Superscalar notes that there was a superscalar i960 variant back in 1990.

Reply to
DJ Delorie

Far from first, some have been around for many years. The power architecture (used to be known as PPC) from Freescale offers a huge variety of choices and sizes, I believe AMCC make and develop what used to be the embedded line of PPC processors IBM used to make. I guess even Microchip are there now with their PIC32, it has a MIPS core which probably is that as well (but I am not quite sure, never investigated it really).


------------------------------------------------------ Dimiter Popoff Transgalactic Instruments

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From CPUs that I have worked with I'd like to add the NEC Vr5500 CPU and the new ARM Cortex-A8 to the list..

Cheers, Nils

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As early as Motorola 68030, fwir...



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PIC32 uses a single-issue architecture. Who knows if Microchip is going superscalar later with, say, a PIC64 ? :-D


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I can't see any reason why a switch to superscalar would be related to a switch to 64 bits.

One issue with superscalar for embedded use is that it tends to make timings less predictable, although I'm not sure how relevant this is on a 32-bit system.

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I can't see any naming coherence with Microchip's products, except PIC32. PIC10F : 12 bits per instruction PIC12F : 12 OR 14 bits (depending on... never mind.) PIC16 : 14-bit instruction words PIC30, PIC33 : WTF ? Who knows what their marketing department will invent next time ?

However I have to show respect to their technical team who seems to have done a lot of good initial choices, starting with a MIPS core instead of yet-another-ARM-implementation. But I can't say if these good ideas turned into a good implementation, I had bought the kit but never found the time to use it and the manuals and software are... huh... disproportionaly big. Hence my further investments in YASEP.

Depends. LIW-based architectures are pretty predictable. Some DSP architectures today fit this description. And yes, predictability is not always a goal if raw performance is the target. I've seen at least 1 DSP family play that game... but I have no idea if it has had any success because I don't see it mentioned since its release.


PS : OT but

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The Embedded version of the National Semiconductor NS32764, the "Swordfish", was IIRC available even before that (1989).

This was more or less a symmetric superscalar architecture, while the i960 had extra paths for subsets of instruction like branches.

It was also internally overclocked from 25 MHz to 50 MHz.

Best Regards Ulf Samuelsson

Reply to
Ulf Samuelsson

For embedded application you can choose MCUs with on-chip flash or MPUs with large external Flash/RAM space.

Renesas offers their SH2A Superscalar cores in both variants (720x and 726x parts). This is an MMU-less core that can run 2 instructions per cycle. When using an FPU it can do even more!

A good example is the 7216:

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(There's even a dual-core variant available that gives 4 instructions per cycle.)

The SH4A is the MPU version with MMU that uses external memory. It runs Linux and WinCE. It is also available in a dual-core.

A good example is the 7764:

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