MIPS: I7200 multi-threaded processor for advanced LTE/5G and networking IC designs

MIPS announced the I7200 multi-threaded multi-core processor, a new high performance licensable IP core in their midrange 32-bit product lineup. Class-leading efficiency is essential to power sensitive applications such as the high bandwidth modem subsystems in Advanced LTE Pro and upcoming 5G smartphone SoCs, as well as networking ICs, and other applications. The I7200 delivers 50% higher performance in less than 20% area increase than the previous generation from MIPS.

Part of the MIPS 32-bit I-Class family of processor cores, the I7200 is built on MIPS’ multi-threading technology, which delivers not only these higher levels of performance efficiently, but is a key mechanism supporting very low latency response to high priority events in real-time embedded systems. These characteristics, in combination with the following deterministic features available in the I7200, make it the ideal processor for embedded applications requiring both high performance and fast response to real-time events:

  •  Simultaneous multi-threading with thread prioritization and zero cycle context switching
  •  Configurable memory management – options for full TLB-based MMU or simpler, deterministic 32 region memory protection unit
  • Tightly coupled, fast-access, deterministic ScratchPad RAMs (SPRAMs, up to 1 MB each) for instructions, data for each core, or unified implementations

Complementing the focus for use in embedded real-time systems, the I7200 is the first MIPS core to use the nanoMIPS ISA, which delivers industry-leading small code size. nanoMIPS is a variable instruction length ISA consisting of 16/32/48-bit instructions and numerous other optimizations that complement goals of delivering performance in smallest code size. Using an equivalent compiler and compile flags the code size is up to 10% smaller than alternative cores competing in similar applications. This reduces the overall memory footprint for a system, but is essential for high performance communications and real-time embedded systems, as it maximizes the amount of code that can be fit into the fastest, local RAM arrays for low latency, deterministic execution of high priority events and interrupts.

The production released version of the IP core is available immediately for licensing, and the I7200 is gaining widespread support among MIPS partners and customers.


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