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Configurable processor breaks 1 GHz mark

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Toshiba claims to have developed the first configurable microprocessor capable of 1 GHz clock speed. The device is dubbed the MeP-h1 and is based on the company’s “Media embedded Processor” (MeP) architecture for digital consumer and other high end SoCs. The company says designers gain the flexibility to customise processors at the design stage, including the ability to change configurations and add custom instructions to satisfy application requirements.

The processor features small chip size, low power consumption and high-speed processing. It is based on a 32-bit RISC architecture, which suits digital media products requiring processing of large volume of image and audio data, such as digital TVs and DVD recorders.

While the market for digital equipment supporting images, audio and comms is growing fast, the required performance and type of data processing demanded differs by application. Moreover, the overall volume of handled data is rapidly increasing. As a result, there is growing demand for customisable yet high-performance embedded processors, such as the MeP-h1.

The performance of the core is boosted by increasing the number of instruction execution pipeline stages to nine, compared to five in the company’s previous processor core. The core suits design of high-performance customised processors by integration of a reorder buffer circuit that manages and shortens waiting cycles for user extension instructions. The device is fabricated using 65 nm technology.

The details of the processor and its technology were announced at HOT CHIPS17, the international processor conference hosted by Stanford University in August.

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