TI Delivers First Low-Cost DSP Starter Kit With Power Management Tools

11/19/2002 - Offering customers a low-cost solution to get started quickly on their designs, Texas Instruments unveiled its digital signal processor (DSP) starter kit (DSK) for customers using the low-power, high-performance TMS320C55xTM DSPs. The DSK ships with new power management tools that allow designers to confidently tune their systems to maximize efficient power consumption in applications ranging from portable Internet appliances to high-speed wireless communications.

Developers can invest as little as $395 for a product that bundles together extendable USB plug-and-play hardware, a full-featured DSK Code Composer StudioTM (CCStudio) tools suite and power management tools. Included in the power management tools are a software-based power analyzer and a power-scaling library that allows engineers to evaluate system power and alter it at the beginning of the development process rather than at the end. These tools will allow customers to design for longer talk times and less expensive batteries in portable products, ultimately lowering product cost. TI is giving customers the tools they need to build handheld products that have features consumers care about when purchasing portable products.

The new TMS320C5510 DSK features the C5510 DSP, a 200 Mega Hertz (MHz) device that delivers up to 400 million instructions per second (MIPS) and is designed for products that require an optimized combination of power, performance and area. The C5510 DSP, in full production today, is based on the industry´s lowest power TMS320C5000TM DSP platform and is ideal for applications such as digital audio players, electronic books, voice recognition, GPS receivers, fingerprint/pattern recognition, wireless modems, headsets and biometrics.

Power analysis tools allow customers visibility into their low-power designs
The C5510 DSK, which was jointly developed by TI and third party Spectrum Digital, is a low-cost development platform designed to speed power-efficient applications to market. Offered for the first time by a DSP vendor, the power analyzer and power-scaling library are included in the CCStudio development platform that ships with the DSK. In the past, developers based most of their power management decisions on historical data or through trial and error and were unable to measure their power until they were validating their final products. Now that customers are able to do this earlier in the design process with the introduction of these new power management products, they can identify potential power issues and make smarter power management decisions at the early stages of the design flow, ultimately saving them time and cost.

With the power analyzer, customers can visually measure and analyze their power at a core or system level and accurately measure their power budget, resulting in improved performance, extended battery life and lower overall system cost. With standard lab equipment including an oscilloscope and probe, designers can measure and analyze power consumption via both a tubular and graphical view. Developers can use the power analyzer for power profiling functions to take the guesswork out of power consumption, making it possible to quickly visualize power "hot spots." The power analyzer also allows them to gather information on peripheral usage indicating whether or not a peripheral was used during execution of a function and make smart power management decisions based on the information. For instance, if a peripheral is not used for a specific event, the user may choose to power it down for that time, or reduce power to that area. This could result in a significant power reduction in the overall application for that time period and allow for additional algorithm bandwidth or greater performance.

Meanwhile, the power-scaling library target software, included in CCStudio, dynamically scales the CPU frequency and core voltage at run time to ensure an optimal frequency/voltage combination exists. Supplied with the power-scaling library is a separate configuration library that allows the power-scaling library to be ported to custom hardware as well as configuration library source files, enabling the developer to use this tool in their final end application. Combined, these tools give designers an unmatched global view of a system and enable more efficient power tuning.

"The C5510 DSK is a great platform at a great price, and TI has done a good job in bundling the tools I need to get started on my C5510 design,” said Peter Miller, president, Miller Engineering Services, Inc. “With the new C5510 DSK and the power management tools, we were able to visualize our systems´ power consumption at the beginning of the design process and make smart power decisions earlier in the process saving us time and cutting our overall costs tremendously."

Complete, robust DSP starter kit allows developers to get started quickly
The C5510 DSK also features performance-enhancing additions such as USB emulation and true plug-and-play functionality, giving both new and experienced DSP designers a quick and easy way to get started in their development process. The RTDXTM data link helps detect, diagnose and correct DSK communications issues, download and step through code more quickly and get a higher throughput.

Other board features include:

The DSK also comes complete with a full-featured DSK version of Code Composer Studio development tools, which runs on Windows 98, 2000 and XP. CCStudio enables developers to seamlessly manage projects of any complexity. Developers can also take advantage of the target software components offered from TI including the more than 600 third-party algorithms and the eXpressDSPTM Reference Frameworks which allow designers to eliminate many of the initial low-level design decisions. This gives the developer more time to focus on the code that truly differentiates their products. The design-ready reference frameworks can be downloaded from TI´s Web site www.dspvillage.ti.com/rframeworks and are getting-started solutions for designers in the early stages of application development, featuring easy-to-use source code that is common to many applications.

Unmatched Support Gets You Started Today
Designers using the C5510 DSK can also get started today by accessing TI´s support network, which is the industry’s most comprehensive. Designers who are new to DSP can access TI´s “Getting Started” Web site to help them quickly and easily begin their real-time signal processing design. One-day workshops will also be offered starting January 2003 in locations around the world to give designers hands-on experience using the new C5510 DSK. Spectrum Digital is available to provide customers with a broad range of development hardware, software and consulting services.

Pricing and Availability
The new C5510 DSK is available today for $395 through TI distributors, the TI e-Store and directly from Spectrum Digital. The power analyzer and power-scaling library come free with the DSK and are available to all CCStudio v2.12 registered users with a current software subscription via a live update through update advisor.

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