Cambridge Consultants recently announced the XAP5 processor core. The XAP5 offers wireless and sensor chip designers an advanced level of 16-bit processing performance combined with low energy consumption and efficient use of low cost memory, making it ideally suited for cost-sensitive high-volume products. XAP5 combines the economy of a 16-bit data word with a 24-bit address space for large programs up to 16 Mbytes, which suits devices designed for data-centric communications applications in markets such as consumer, industrial, and retail.
The XAP5 processor core is delivered as a soft IP core in Verilog RTL (Register Transfer Level), thus putting the licensee’s ASIC engineers in full control of semiconductor process selection, synthesis and layout. Technical features of the processor include very high code density that minimises the size and cost of program memory, high performance (68 Dhrystone MIPS when clocking at 100 MHz on a 0.13 micron CMOS process) and a small footprint of 18k gates, or around one-tenth of a square millimetre of 0.13 micron silicon.
The processor also features protected software operating modes that partition user and privileged code for secure, high-availability applications. The processor hardware is supplemented by software and development tools architecture, including a GNU C compiler and assembler, which support a sophisticated programming environment. For example, the XAP5 supports in-place execution of programs that can be located anywhere in memory without the need for linking or copying them to different locations. This means programs can be easily distributed and will start up faster. It also offers a robust update of programs stored in Flash without the risk of losing the system part-way through the update process.
Typical applications for a XAP5 processor core include ZigBee and Bluetooth wireless networks, energy metering, sensor networks, tagging and transactions using RFID or NFC, location systems such as GPS and any other embedded ASIC application that requires a robust and capable software environment. XAP5′s design is particularly suited to applications such as these with programs stored in non-volatile memory, for example; Flash memory that is either embedded in the chip or in a SiP (System in Package).
More info: Cambridge Consultants XAP Processors