Renesas Technology America, Inc. recently launched the SH77721 SoC (System-on-Chip) device. It’s the first product in the new SH-NaviJ series, a new SuperH® processor that is tailored for low-end through middle-range car information terminals, especially small portable navigation units and dashboard-mounted car navigation systems. By integrating advanced functionality in a single chip and offering an excellent cost performance ratio, the new SoC device enables system manufacturers to migrate desirable capabilities downward into mainstream products that sell at lower prices. SH77721 (R8A77721D03BGV) is priced at $47.
SH77721 SoC Features
- High-performance design
The SH77721 achieves high performance in several ways. It uses a fast (333MHz, 599 MIPS, 2.3 GFLOPS) 32-bit superscalar SH-4A CPU core with cache and a floating point unit (FPU). The chip’s architecture and bus structure are designed to maximize processing efficiency. Also, the on-chip peripheral functions have been specially selected and fine-tuned for the application.
- 2D/3D graphics processor
The advanced graphics processor of the SH77721 has the 3D and 2D drawing capabilities needed to create recognizable objects in maps and distinctive icons in the Graphical User Interface (GUI). Screen displays can be achieved that are virtually equivalent to those of high-end systems. Besides implementing 2D drawing functions such as bold-line drawing and anti-aliasing, the graphics processor has 3D capabilities such as triangle 3D drawing and texture mapping. These capabilities allow the creation of high-quality images that aid user comprehension. Renesas Technology also offers a high-performance 2D and 3D graphics library that enables developers to extract maximum performance of the graphics processor. This 3D graphics library has an industry standard interface and user-friendly API (Application Programming Interface) that makes it easy to utilize the rendering functions supported by the graphics processor. Moreover, the 2D graphics library follows the specification that is GDI-Sub compliant with Microsoft’s Windows® Automotive 5.0 Service Pack 2.
- Other necessary peripheral functions
Many more functions for navigation applications are incorporated into the SoC. They include a USB v2.0 High Speed host/function interface, SD card host interface, GPS baseband processing module, FM multiplex decoder, and CAN in-vehicle LAN interface. These peripherals help reduce the total number of components in car navigation system designs. To decrease chip size, the device has fewer channels for the sound interface, DMAC and SCIF. Reliability in automotive environments is enhanced by extended temperature-range operation: -40°C to +85°C.
- Software scalability and support
The SH77721 inherits the basic architecture and bus structure, CPU, graphics processor, and IP of the devices in the SH-Navi series. Software written for devices with SH-4 CPUs can either be used as is or repurposed with modifications to shorten application development time.
- Ability to function with less external memory
The SH77721 SoC device can perform its processing using only one DDR2 (Double Data Rate 2) SDRAM chip (a DDR333 type), instead of the four external DDR1 (Double Data Rate 1) memory chips required by the SH7770 SH-Navi device, thus enabling obvious reductions in system costs. Besides a 16-bit DDR2 (Double Data Rate 2) memory interface, the new processor has a 32-bit extension bus for connections to external flash memory or SRAM, if needed. Its unified memory architecture enables memory to be shared by various function modules, helping to minimize the number of external memory chips needed, if any.
- Smaller package
The design change from a 64-bit DDR1 interface to a 16-bit DDR2 memory interface is one of the factors enabling the SH77721 to use a 440-pin BGA package (23mm × 23mm). This package is more than 50-percent smaller than the SH7770′s 520-pin (33mm × 33mm) BGA, saving circuit board space.
- System development tools
Among the extensive set of hardware and software tools available for the SH77721 SoC processor are the E10A-USB emulator and the High-performance Embedded Workshop integrated development environment with C compiler and project management capabilities. These products, along with a newly developed reference platform and the SoC’s on-chip debugging capability (which allows real-time debugging at the full 333MHz operating frequency), combine to aid efficient system development. The reference platform includes application-oriented peripheral circuits and provides a user-system actual-device verification environment. It can serve as a software development tool for application software, and readily accommodates the addition of custom user functions.