Provides Lower Power, Dependability, and High-Speed Network Communication in Embedded Applications
24 Feb 2011
Renesas Electronics' prototype of the newly developed communicator chip
TOKYO, Japan, February 24, 2011 — Renesas Electronics Corporation (TSE: 6723), a premier provider of advanced semiconductor solutions, today announced that the company and the University of Tsukuba have jointly developed a prototype of a communication SoC (system-on-chip), the “communicator chip”, that incorporates a four-lane, four-port PCI Express interface (Note 1) and a multicore processor with eight CPUs for use in high-speed network communications. With the industry-leading fast data transfer speed of 80 gigabits per second (Gbps), a fine-grained power control in response to a change in bandwidth of transfer data, and fault tolerance in networks, the newly developed communicator chip provides the low power, high performance and high dependability required in embedded systems.
The communicator chip has been developed through the DEOS Project (Dependable Embedded Operating Systems for Practical Use) of the Japan Science and Technology Agency's (JST) CREST (Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology) program. The communicator chip is positioned as the hardware platform for the “Computational Platforms for Low Power, Dependable Parallel Systems” research project led by Professor Mitsuhisa Sato, University of Tsukuba, and is expected to be adopted in many dependable high-end embedded systems. This platform performs fine-grained control of both power consumption and performance, such as controlling the communication speed and changing the number of communication links according to the required communication bandwidth. This platform also improves system dependability by detecting link faults and using a different link to continue communicating.
The communicator chip includes a four-lane, four-port Rev 2.0 PCI Express interface (Note 2) developed by the DEOS project, and achieves dependable communication at 80 Gbps. It also has eight CPU cores as control processors and provides increased network reliability and system flexibility.
Background for the development of the communicator chip:
In response to the growing demands for improved performance and dependability in embedded systems, parallel processing systems are now being widely adopted, and high-performance and high-reliability networks are now indispensable in these systems. Furthermore, even lower power consumption is desired in these applications at the systems level. To respond to these needs, Renesas Electronics and the University of Tsukuba have developed this communicator chip for high-speed networks that includes both a PCI Express interface and a multicore processor including eight cores.
In developing the new communicator chip, Renesas Electronics and the University of Tsukuba focused on PCI Express, a standard device connection bus in the PC area, and applied technology that makes it possible to not only connect peripheral devices but also can be used as a network that connects computing nodes. As a result, compared to conventional interconnection networks, the communicator chip achieves high performance equivalent to that of InfiniBand (Note 3) with power consumption significantly lower than that of Ethernet systems. In addition, if a lane that forms a link fails, this new approach allows the remaining lanes to compensate, thereby allowing the communicator chip to form dependable networks appropriate to a wide range of systems.
Key features of the communicator chip:
- (1) The PCI Express interface and multicore processor achieves up to 80 Gbps at approximately 3.2 watts (W)
The communicator chip includes a four-lane, four-port Rev2.0 PCI Express interface, and four Renesas Electronics RX CPU cores as well as four M32R CPU cores to form a multicore processor architecture. The chip operates at clock frequencies up to 400 megahertz (MHz), and achieves a data transfer speed of 80 Gbps with a power consumption of approximately 3.2 W.
The communicator chip operates as a communication link on a network. It provides automatic transfer functions, and, compared to earlier approaches in which a CPU performed the transfer processing, can increase transfer processing speeds by approximately 20 percent. Furthermore, the multicore processor contributes to low power consumption. It supports fine-grained adjustment of its operations, including monitoring the amount of data being transferred and dynamically switching the PCI Express interface transfer rate and number of lanes in software.
- (2) Improved reliability
Utilizing its multicore processing capability, the communicator chip performs high-speed transfer control and fault tolerance. It monitors the network, and in case a fault occurs, modifies the transfer route appropriately and switches out the device that caused the fault. The combination of these technologies can provide the high reliability required by networks in the embedded application area.
Renesas Electronics and the University of Tsukuba presented and also demonstrated the results of this research on February 20, 2011, at the International Solid State Circuits Conference 2011 (ISSCC 2011), held in San Francisco, U.S. In the demonstration, a PCI Express card with this communications chip was installed in a personal computer and used for actual communication.
The newly-developed communicator chip makes it possible to implement high-speed communication between standard personal computers equipped with a PCI Express interface, and also implements, flexibly and with high reliability, a variety of communication functions in each application system by using the integrated CPUs.
(Note 1) PCI Express:
An industry-standard I/O technology.
(PCI-SIG web site: http://www.pcisig.com/home)
The PCI Express IP included in this communications chip was certified compliant with revision 2.0 at PCI-SIG Compliance Workshop #62, held by the standards body from September 8 to 12, 2008.
(Note 3) InfiniBand:
An industry-standard specification that determines the I/O used in interconnected servers and other communications infrastructure. (InfiniBand® Trade Association (IBTA) web site: http://www.infinibandta.org)
PCI-SIG and PCI Express are trademarks or registered trademark of PCI-SIG. InfiniBand is trademark and service mark of the InfiniBand Trade Association. Other product and service names used in this press release are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.
About Renesas Electronics Corporation
Renesas Electronics Corporation (TSE: 6723) delivers trusted embedded design innovation with complete semiconductor solutions that enable billions of connected, intelligent devices to enhance the way people work and live. A global leader in microcontrollers, analog, power, and SoC products, Renesas provides comprehensive solutions for a broad range of automotive, industrial, home electronics, office automation, and information communication technology applications that help shape a limitless future. Learn more at renesas.com.
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