ARM Announces AXI System Components For High-Performance System-On-Chip Designs

07 June 2004

CAMBRIDGE, UK - June 7, 2004 - ARM [(LSE:ARM); (Nasdaq:ARMHY)], announced today, at the 41st Design Automation Conference (DAC) in San Diego, the launch of three new products to support ARM11™ family-class processors that use the AMBA™  AXI interface specification. These new AXI System Components consist of the L220 AXI Level-2 Cache Controller, the PL300 AXI Configurable Interconnect and the PL340 AXI SDRAM Controller, ideal for implementations in consumer and wireless devices, amongst others. These components are offered as PrimeCell® peripherals, the ARM® library of re-usable soft IP macrocells, which enable the rapid assembly of system-on-chip (SoC) designs.  Together, the ARM AXI System Components form an optimized, flexible link from the processor to external memory and underscore ARM's commitment to providing an ecosystem of system IP and EDA tool vendor support for all ARM processors. 

Together, these pre-verified, configurable AXI System Components will enable designers to quickly develop a highly integrated, complete AXI backplane for ARM11 family-class processor-based SoCs.  The AXI System Components provide a data-efficient, highly-optimized link from the processor, through the cache and memory controllers, to external memory.  This maximizes the performance of ARM11 family-class processors even when used with low cost, slow external memory. As CPU to off-chip memory communication is becoming a major performance bottleneck, design engineers will recognize this as a valuable development.

"In general, the features of AXI technology, such as data bursting, provide a big performance benefit to more advanced, ARM core-based embedded systems. With the addition of these AXI System Components, especially the Level-2 Cache Controller, designers will realize another huge boost in performance for ARM11 family-based processors," said Markus Levy, president, EEMBC. "Using an MPEG4 decode benchmark, similar to the one recently released by EEMBC, ARM was able to demonstrate a 74 percent performance improvement using only a 128k Level-2 cache."

"Ongoing consumer demand for increased performance in such applications as mobile multimedia and digital TV has led to more complex systems and the need for dramatic in-system performance gains," said John Cornish, director of Product Marketing, ARM.  "We have solved this issue with the AXI System Components, which unleash the full benefits of high-frequency processors by optimizing memory system performance."

AXI System Components
L220 PrimeCell AXI Level-2 Cache Controller
The L220 PrimeCell AXI Level-2 Cache Controller typically increases system performance by between 50 percent to over 100 percent, by storing recently-used data in high-speed on chip memory. It decreases overall system power consumption by reducing the number of power-hungry external memory accesses, and can enable the use of a less costly memory system.

PL300 PrimeCell AXI Configurable Interconnect
The PL300 PrimeCell AXI Configurable Interconnect provides a multi-layer topology that guarantees the necessary bandwidth and low latency for all connected IP blocks.  The interconnect has a throughput of 1.6GBytes per master at 200MHz and no limitation on the number of masters used.  It comes with an XML machine-readable specification that enables easy integration into SPIRIT standard-based EDA tools and drives the configuration of the AXI Configurable Interconnect to the specific requirements of the AXI backplane.

PL340 PrimeCell AXI SDRAM Controller
The PL340 PrimeCell AXI SDRAM Controller is the first memory controller to exploit the performance of the AXI backplane and provides up to 1GByte/s of bandwidth with 32-bit DDR SDRAM.  It supports a wide range of memory types including Mobile-DDR, DDR, Mobile SDR and SDR memories. With its configurable architecture, it is possible to select the optimum balance of cost, size and performance to meet system requirements.

The three new products, the L220 AXI Level-2 Cache Controller, the PL300 AXI Configurable Interconnect, and the PL340 AXI SDRAM Controller, offer additional benefits to consumers, OEMs and ARM Silicon Partners.  For example, through support of the AMBA AXI interface standard, consumers will not only benefit from longer battery life due to support for the ARM Intelligent Energy Manager (IEM) technology, but also from higher data throughput,  which enables software to run faster on end-user equipment.  OEMs will reduce costs due to the ability to use less costly off-chip memories.  Semiconductor manufacturers will have lower costs through a royalty-free business model for the AXI System Components and fast and reliable design-in.  This is achieved through compatibility with the SPIRIT approach and the availability of EDA tools that support SPIRIT.

Multiprocessing Support
As well as supporting the ARM1156T2-S™ processor and the ARM1176JZ-S™ processor, the AXI System Components support the full performance demands that the new ARM MPCore™ multiprocessor can place on a memory sub-system. Using the L220 Cache Controller reduces external memory bandwidth requirements such that a low-cost memory system can be used, such as 32-bit DDR SDRAM while maintaining high system performance.

All three of the AXI System Components also support the SPIRIT's XML machine readable specification for easy integration, and for use with tools such as Mentor's Platform Express and Synopsys' CoreAssembler.

AMBA 3.0 AXI Specification
The AMBA 3.0 AXI specification was developed, with technical contribution and review by over 30 participating companies, to address performance issues by providing a high-performance, high-bandwidth interconnect whilst simplifying design at high frequency.  It also provides support for related ARM technologies, such as IEM for voltage and frequency scaling and TrustZone™ secure technology for such system security applications such as digital rights management.

Pricing and Availability
The AXI System Components are available for licensing on a royalty-free basis.  The AMBA AXI interface specification is also royalty-free and can be downloaded by anyone from the ARM website at: http://www.arm.com/products/solutions/axi_spec.html

The AXI System Components are available for licensing from ARM now.

About ARM
ARM designs the technology that lies at the heart of advanced digital products, from wireless, networking and consumer entertainment solutions to imaging, automotive, security and storage devices. ARM's 16/32-bit RISC microprocessors, data engines, peripherals, software and tools, combined with the company's broad Partner community, provide a total system solution that offers a fast, reliable path to market for leading electronics companies. More information on ARM is available at http://www.arm.com.


ARM, ARM Powered and PrimeCell are registered trademarks of ARM Limited. AMBA, ARM11, ARM1156T2-S, ARM1176JZ-S, MPCore and TrustZone are trademarks of ARM Limited. All other brands or product names are the property of their respective holders. "ARM" is used to represent ARM Holdings plc (LSE: ARM and Nasdaq: ARMHY); its operating company ARM Limited; and the regional subsidiaries ARM INC.; ARM KK; ARM Korea Ltd.; ARM Taiwan; ARM France SAS; ARM Consulting (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.; and ARM Belgium N.V.

Supporting Quotes For AXI System Components
"Providing an optimized link from the CPU to memory is an important step in maximizing system performance in complex SoC designs.  Cadence, as one of the 35 industry-leading companies that collaborated in the creation of the AMBA AXI interface specification, welcomes the availability of AXI PrimeCell system components," said Mitch Weaver, vice president and general manager Systems and Functional Verification Division, Cadence. "The combination of the Cadence Incisive electronic system-level verification platform and the AXI PrimeCell system components will enable chip designers to create high-performance, energy-efficient ARM Powered® ASICs more easily and cost-effectively."

"As the leading provider of standards-based IP, Synopsys is working with ARM to deliver AMBA AXI verification IP in support of the new AMBA AXI protocol specification. Synopsys is committed to delivering industry-leading, high quality IP that enables our customers to design and verify innovative, cost-effective SoCs, ASICs and FPGAs. Collaborating with ARM on this standard helps Synopsys provide designers creating AMBA technology-based SoCs a high-quality, low risk design solution," said Guri Stark, vice president of Marketing, Synopsys Solutions Group.

"Verisity and ARM have partnered for many years to provide outstanding design and verification solutions to enable our mutual customers using ARM processors and the AMBA bus protocol to meet their time-to-market and product quality demands," said Pete Heller, Senior Product Line manager at Verisity Design. "We are building on the success of more than 120 customers verifying over 350 designs with the AMBA AHB e Verification Component (eVC) to deliver support for the newest member of the AMBA family, AXI technology.  The AXI technology-based  eVC, together with Verisity's full Verification Process Automation solution, now provides superior ability to verify AXI technology-based SoCs."

Press Contacts
Michelle Spencer
ARM Corporate Communications
Email: michelle.spencer@arm.com
Phone: +44 1628 427780

Nandita Geerdink
Text 100 for ARM
Email: nanditag@text100.com
Phone: 415.593.8457


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