02 May 2018

MIPS I7200 processor core delivers on performance and efficiency

MIPS, provider of the MIPS processor architecture and IP cores for licensing, has announced the I7200 multi-threaded multi-core processor, a new high performance licensable IP core in their midrange 32-bit product lineup.

Efficiency is essential to power sensitive applications such as the high bandwidth modem subsystems in Advanced LTE Pro and upcoming 5G smartphone SoCs, as well as networking ICs, and other applications. The I7200 delivers 50% higher performance in less than 20% area increase than the previous generation from MIPS.

“MIPS CPUs are widely used in a range of LTE applications for mobile broadband,” said David Lau, MIPS’ Vice President of Engineering. “The performance gains across the board on the new I7200 deliver a leap forward in support of the transition to 5G systems, while providing a range of configurable features that enable the CPU core to be optimized for a specific application. For communications processing in LTE modems, where small size and power consumption are at a premium, and latency and deterministic responsiveness are critical to system performance, the I7200 can be tuned to optimize the characteristics for real-time embedded processing.”

Part of the MIPS 32-bit I-Class family of processor cores, the I7200 is built on MIPS’ multi-threading technology, which delivers not only these higher levels of performance efficiently, but is a key mechanism supporting very low latency response to high priority events in real-time embedded systems. These characteristics, in combination with the following deterministic features available in the I7200, make it the ideal processor for embedded applications requiring both high performance and fast response to real-time events:

  • Simultaneous multi-threading with thread prioritization and zero cycle context switching

  • Configurable memory management – options for full TLB-based MMU or simpler, deterministic 32 region memory protection unit (MPU)

  • Tightly coupled, fast-access, deterministic ScratchPad RAMs (SPRAMs, up to 1 MB each) for instructions, data for each core, or unified implementations

"MIPS CPUs, with their powerful multi-threading capability, offer a combination of efficiency and high throughput for LTE modems that contributes significantly to system performance.” said Dr. Kevin Jou, SVP and CTO, MediaTek. "The development of the I7200 was a worldwide effort led by the MIPS Shanghai design team, and the processor promises to provide key advantages for LTE Advanced/5G features including higher computing performance and faster real-time responsiveness where multiple latency-sensitive tasks are handled simultaneously.”

Complementing the focus for use in embedded real-time systems, the I7200 is the first MIPS core to use the nanoMIPS ISA, which delivers small code size. nanoMIPS is a variable instruction length ISA consisting of 16/32/48-bit instructions and numerous other optimizations that complement goals of delivering performance in smallest code size. Using an equivalent compiler and compile flags the code size is up to 10% smaller than alternative cores competing in similar applications. This reduces the overall memory footprint for a system, but is essential for high performance communications and real-time embedded systems, as it maximizes the amount of code that can be fit into the fastest, local RAM arrays for low latency, deterministic execution of high priority events and interrupts.

The production released version of the IP core is available immediately for licensing, and the I7200 is gaining widespread support among MIPS partners and customers.

“As a long-time partner of MIPS, we believe that the I7200 is a significant milestone that will help propel the company to the forefront of core solutions in the embedded systems marketplace,” said Roisen O’Keeffe, Business Development Director at Ashling Microsystems Ltd. “Through our collaboration on customer programs we’ve come to appreciate the company’s market insight and technology leadership. We look forward to supporting development around the I7200.”

“The I7200 promises to be a highly efficient processor for communications, networking, and other applications that require both high performance and fast response to real-time events” said William Lamie, CEO at Express Logic. “We look forward to expanding our long-time support for MIPS CPUs with our Industrial Grade X-Ware IoT Platform (Powered by the ThreadX RTOS) to include the new I7200 core.”

Rupert Baines, CEO of UltraSoC commented, "UltraSoC is delighted to be partnering with MIPS and supporting the I7200, its new mid-ranged CPU core.” Baines continued, “Adding UltraSoC's embedded analytics to the powerful, scalable and flexible MIPS core will enable designers to not only develop complex and powerful embedded systems but to provide them with the tools and insight to monitor the operation of the entire system."

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