SandCraft Expands SR71000 Microprocessor Family

7/1/2002 - SandCraft, Inc., a leader in the design of high-performance MIPS® processors, today announced the SR71040A, a MIPS64 600Mhz, superscalar embedded microprocessor, that represents the highest value in terms of performance to the dollar available in the MIPS64 architecture today. The SR71040A complements SandCraft’s flagship SR71010A, the industry’s highest performance production released MIPS64 CPU, by adding a lower cost option to the SR71000 family of processors. The SR71040A utilizes the same CPU pipeline as the SR71010A, but with smaller caches and in a lower pin-count package.

The SR71040A provides an upgrade path for users of the R4000 and R5000-class processors in low to mid range embedded systems, and also enables SandCraft to address more value oriented applications, including enterprise LANs, Storage Area Network systems, security processing systems, remote aggregation systems such as DSLAMs and wireless head ends, and office automation products (laser printers and multifunction peripherals).

“We are very pleased to expand our SR71000 Family to now cover the value end of the application spectrum with the SR71040A, in addition to the performance end of the application spectrum, which we are covering with the SR71010A” said Paul Vroomen, president and CEO of SandCraft. “These products enable SandCraft to address a wider range of performance sensitive and cost sensitive applications, while enabling our customers to leverage their existing investment in MIPS software.”

The SR71000 family takes advantage of the proven MIPS 64 bit Sysad bus, but boosts its performance by operating up to 133MHz, resulting in a 1 GByte/s bus bandwidth. The Sysad bus enables the SR71000 family CPUs to interface to many existing and yet-to-be-released customer ASICs designed for the MIPS architecture, extending the productive life of those devices and leveraging the considerable investment by customers in such proprietary technology. Preserving this Sysad bus also enables the SR71000 CPUs to interface to industry standard system controller devices, such as the Marvell® DiscoveryTM family of system controllers.

At the performance end of the spectrum, the SR71010A and the Marvell Discovery controller, the MV64340, results in a powerful CPU-complex solution that combines the industry’s highest performance production released MIPS64 CPU with the industry's highest performance, most integrated system controller.

At the value end of the spectrum, the SR71040A, when combined with the Marvell Discovery controllers, such as the MV64341 or the MV64342 provides a CPU-complex that combines the industry’s highest value embedded MIPS64 CPU with the most advanced system controller technology, but at a lower cost.

“Marvell's industry standard Discovery system controllers enable the highest performing embedded CPU systems across a broad application range," said Gary Smerdon, Marvell's Vice President of Marketing for the Communications Business Group. "By pairing the Discovery devices with Sandcraft's SR71000 family of microprocessors, system designers have the right mix of features, at the right price points, to build high value / high performance systems, right now."

About the SR71040A
SandCraft has carefully crafted the SR71040A to achieve the maximum speed and efficiency demanded by high performance embedded applications, while simultaneously optimizing the device for lower cost. This MIPS64-class processor can issue and execute up to six instructions per clock cycle, into a pipeline that uses out-of-order issue and dispatch, and in-order retirement. Its highly efficient, two-way superscalar architecture incorporates dual instruction fetch, dual dispatch and dual commit, to maintain a maximum throughput of two instructions per cycle.

The processor has a nine-stage superscalar pipeline for high clock frequency, with a pipeline-bypass architecture optimized for minimizing instruction-independent stalls. Its sophisticated, dynamic branch prediction capability sustains performance with 97 percent accuracy, by keeping the pipeline fully utilized and minimizing branch mispredictions. The implementation methodology of the CPU allows it to be rapidly migrated to more advanced processes and therefore higher clock frequencies, without necessitating changes to the pipeline architecture. This ensures that a customer's investment in developing with this architecture will be protected as process technology advances since the processor speed will scale well beyond 1GHz.

The SR71040A optimizes system performance and reduces system cost with integrated on-chip memory, including 16 KB each of primary instruction and primary data cache and 128 KB of unified secondary cache. The 2-way set associative primary caches and 4-way set associative secondary caches ensure rapid access to critical data and instructions. The processors also support cache line locking and prefetching for improved performance.

The SR71040A is supported by a full set of third party development tools, including an optimizing C Compiler from RedHat, as well as linkers, loaders, compilers, and libraries. A number of proprietary and commercially available real time operating systems are supported on the SR71040A, including VxWorks, from WindRiver, Inc., and Embedded Linux from Red Hat, Inc. A development platform for the SR71040A is also available to qualified customers.

Pricing and Availability
Prototype samples of the SR71040A-600 are available now to qualified customers. Production shipments are planned to commence in Q4 2002. The SR71040A-600 is priced at $50.00 in quantities of 10KU. The device is manufactured on a high performance 0.15um copper process at UMC, Taiwan, and utilizes a 256pin TBGA package.

About SandCraft Inc.
SandCraft, founded in June 1996, develops and markets advanced superscalar microprocessors for high-performance networking equipment, office automation and high end consumer applications, based on the MIPS Instruction Set Architecture. The company’s first products are primarily targeted for use in communications applications such as control plane processing in core and edge switches and routers, high end enterprise LAN switches and routers, storage area networks (SAN) and remote access systems such as DSL aggregators and wireless head-ends. Office automation applications such as color, black and white laser printers and raster image processing also utilize processors of this class.

"Engines for the Digital Age" is a trademark of SandCraft, Inc. “MIPS32” and “MIPS64” are trademarks of MIPS Technologies Inc. All other trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners and are hereby acknowledged.

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