ARC embeds Sonic technology

21st February 2013

Configurable processor designer ARC has embedded the audio technology it acquired with Sonic Focus into a design for media phones and phones with mobile TV.

The technology, originally developed for the PC and laptop market, provides significantly higher quality audio, allowing equipment designers to improve the quality of the audio or use smaller or cheaper components with the same audio quality.

ARC has added customised instructions and a new dual 32bit MAC  execution blocks to its ARC600 processor core to run the algorithms more efficiently, creating the AS211SFX block that can be integrated alongside the existing video decoder core. The algorithm has also been tweaked to match the ARC architecture, so the new implementation is 47 per cent faster than previously, with 28 per cent coming from the algorithm optimisation and 19 per cent form the hardware acceleration. The speed up allows the system designer to tradeoff clock speed and power consumption.

The new audio core measures 0.343sq mm includes standard cell logic and cache memory in a 56nm low power process and consumes just over 9mW. The AV401 video core occupies 2.07sq mm and consumes 58mW. ARC sees these being used together in a single chip, including the RF receiver, for mobile TV. Existing ARC customer Abalis Semiconductor, part of the Swiss Kudelski group, already integrating the RF receiver for this application.

To help system developers, ARC has also developed a media framework with API software interfaces to the video and audio cores. This is designed to provide a 'pre-verified' environment for OEMs, although the IP is still supplied as a tool providing RTL output to be integrated into anSoC design.

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