Electronic Design
1 GHz Multicore Micro Enables 720p Video

1 GHz Multicore Micro Enables 720p Video

Texas Instruments' DaVinci DM37x video processor architecture (Fig. 1) combines Arm's 1 GHz Cortex-A8 with an 800MHz C64x+ DSP. This hardware can tackle 720p HD video chores for delivering media-rich applications. It provides almost twice the performance across the board compared to Texas Instruments' OMAP3530 device while cutting power consumption by almost 40%.

The Cortex-A8 includes Arm's TrustZone support plus a pair of 32 Kbyte L1 caches and a 256 Kbyte L2 cache. There is 64 Kbytes of SRAM and a 32 Kbyte ROM. The SDRAM memory controller and NAND/NOR flash interface access off-chip memory. The DM3730 and DM3725 also includes an imaging and video accelerator (IVA), the PowerVR SGX 3D graphics processor (DM3730 only) in addition to an range of peripherals such as USB 2.0 host/OTG support and a SD/MMC interface. There is also a hardware-based camera capture port, four UARTs, three I2C interfaces, and four SPI interfaces. It also supports TI's SmartReflex multi-level and multi-parameter power management.

The 800MHz C64x+ DSP includes hardware video acceleration for HD 720p video decoding and encoding off-loading the Cortex-A8. Development tools include audio and video codecs. The DSP can handle 2D and 3D processing such as filtering and edge-detection algorithms.

The DM37x processors are software compatible with the OMAP35x generation of processors. They are also pin-compatible with Texas Instruments' Sitara AM37x devices allowing for an easy product migration.

Developers can turn to Texas Instrument's TMDXEVM3730 EVM that also includes a TI Bluetooth WiFi module. The SDK for the EVM includes Linux kernel 2.6.32 board support package. There is also the new BeagleBoard-xM, a follow on to the popular OMAP-based BeagleBoard (see "Open Source Bites Board"). The BeagleBoard-xM (Fig. 2) is a 3.25- by 3.25-in board that adds 512 Mbytes of DDR RAM and a 4 port 10/100 Ethernet hub. It has a microSD card slot filled with a 4 Gbyte microSD flash card. The board exposes (Fig. 3) all the peripheral interfaces including USB and the camera port.

Pricing for the DM3730 starts at $25.60. The TMDXEVM3730 is available for $1,495. The BeagleBoard-xM is available for $179 from Digi-Key.

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