Electronic Design

North + South = West?

Life is full of funny scenarios, like the two situations where north + south = west. In Silicon Valley, 680 South becomes 280 North, even though you're really headed west. And second, Cypress Semiconductor's West Bridge product line integrates the functionality of traditional North and South bridges.

Of course, the first West Bridge product is named after an actual Bay Area bridge—the Antioch. But unlike its real-world counterpart, Cypress' bridge can never be overloaded with traffic.

Rather, it combines a memory controller hub (northbridge) and I/O controller hub (southbridge) that targets USB devices and keeps the traffic flowing smoothly between the USB, memory, and host processor (see the figure). To "police" the data, Antioch uses what Cypress calls the simultaneous link to independent multimedia (SLIM) architecture.

Cypress developed Antioch because of the excruciating wait in downloading MP3s to cell phones via USB. Currently, downloading 100 MP3s of average size takes an hour. Cyrpess decided that a target of less than five minutes would be much more acceptable. Also, Antioch lets users receive phone calls right in the middle of all that downloading.

The high-speed USB support includes an integrated transceiver that's USB 2.0 compliant at 480 Mbits/s over 16 configurable endpoints. The mass storage interface support includes the latest removable (SDIO/MMC+) and embedded (NAND flash/harddisk drive) devices. Full NAND flash management (error correction code, wear-leveling, and bad block management) also is included.

Antioch provides special cell-phone support features, such as 26- and 19.2-MHz clock inputs and a low-power, 1.8-V core. It comes in a small footprint (6- by 6-mm, 0.5-mm pitch fine-pitch ball-grid array).

The Antioch devices are currently sampling with full production sometime this quarter. Antioch costs less than $4 in 500,000unit quantities.

Cypress Semiconductor

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