The MIPS R4300i microprocessor will play an important role in MIPS' comprehensive solution for interactive media computing as well as applications such as set-top boxes, video entertainment systems, arcade games, x-terminals, networks and laser printers. Featuring NEC's 0.35-micron (drawn) process technology, the 100 MHz MIPS R4300i processor will mark NEC's aggressive launch into the high-end embedded market, bringing Intel Pentium-class performance to embedded applications for a fraction of the price.
"The MIPS R4300i microprocessor will be the critical building block for interactive digital media devices in the home," said Tom Whiteside, president of MIPS Technologies. "The MIPS R4300i puts high performance in a small, low-cost package, and its advanced design will enable cutting edge digital consumer products destined for the second half of this decade and into the twenty-first century."
"The MIPS R4300i processor offers exceptional performance and advanced features at a very low cost due to our advanced 0.35-micron process technology," said Ichiro Fujitaka, vice president, NEC Electronics. "Now we can offer 64-bit performance at a price less than most 32-bit processors."
Advanced Features and Optimizations for Interactive Media Applications
The MIPS R4300i is a 64-bit processor with 64-bit registers, data paths and buffers to ensure high-speed data movement within the chip. The 64-bit paths are particularly important for operations such as bit-stream decoding and matrix manipulation, core features in video and graphics processing. Furthering its real-time interactive capabilities, the MIPS R4300i processor features an improved arithmetic logic unit (ALU) with faster multiply functions which are central to media manipulation and data compression/decompression.
The MIPS R4300i has a high-performance memory management unit (MMU) with a 32 double-entry translation lookaside buffer (TLB) to enable full functionality of future complex media library software for advanced interactive environments. The five-stage pipelined processor also includes a 4-deep write buffer to speed media processing. Large on-chip caches (16 kilobytes instruction and 8 kilobytes data) provide higher performance for interactive applications by reducing the need for frequent memory access. The R4300i boasts performance of 60 SPECint92 and 45 SPECfp92 and 125 Dhrystone MIPS, but its true measure of performance is its superior ability to run media applications with true interactivity.
Cost Reduced, High Performance
To keep the cost low, the MIPS R4300i uses state-of-the-art architectural techniques combined with 0.35 micron process technology to keep to a small 45 mm2 die size. A unique unified architecture, which overlaps integer and floating point blocks into a single unit, further reduces cost and size. A high-throughput 32-bit external bus greatly reduces the number of necessary pins, and low power consumption enables the use of inexpensive plastic packaging. The MIPS R4300i is packaged in a 120-pin PQFP. The lower pin count also reduces the cost and complexity of systems in which it will be used.
Built-in Power Management
The MIPS R4300i features two power-saving modes. In the first, the processor enters into a standby mode where its clock speed and power consumption fall to one-quarter the full power mode (0.45 watts). During longer periods of inactivity, the processor provides a sleep mode where it can "power down" to zero clock speed and power consumption. When reactivated, the processor's "instant on" capability brings it to its previous executing state quickly. The R4300i dissipates just 1.8 watts typically at 100 MHz and operates on 3.3 volts.<
Pricing and Availability
NEC Electronics Inc., a subsidiary of NEC Corporation, will offer the VR4300 as part of its VR Series product line to North American customers. The product will also be offered by NEC in Europe, Japan and the Far East. Samples are expected to be available in May 1995 and priced at approximately $50 each. Quantities of 100,000 are expected to be priced at approximately $35 each. Mass production is slated for calendar Q3 1995.
NEC's VR Series
NEC licenses MIPS RISC technology from MIPS Technologies. Using this technology, NEC manufacturers the VR Series line of high-performance microprocessors.
The VR4000, VR4100, VR4200, VR4300, VR4400 today comprise NEC's 64-bit RISC offering. The company will also offer the VR10000, the world's fastest microprocessor announced to date, for use in high-end personal computers, workstations and multiprocessor systems.
NEC Corporation (NIPNY) and its affiliates worldwide are a $35 billion global leader whose 148,000 employees are dedicated to the development, manufacture and marketing of leading-edge computer, communications and semiconductor products and services.
NEC Electronics, Inc., headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., is an affiliate of NEC Corporation. The company manufactures and markets an extensive line of electronic products including ASICs, microprocessors and microcontrollers, digital signal processors (DSPs), memories and components. The company operates a 676,000 square-foot manufacturing facility in Roseville, Calif.
About MIPS Technologies
MIPS Technologies, Inc. designs and supplies the world's most advanced RISC microprocessor technology. The company tests, certifies and licenses its processor technology to its semiconductor partners, which provide processors for the computer system, consumer and embedded control markets. MIPS microprocessors power systems from a number of computer industry leaders. MIPS RISC architecture components are available from Integrated Device Technology, Inc., LSI Logic Corporation, NEC Corporation, NKK Corporation, Siemens AG, Toshiba Corporation and Philips. MIPS Technologies, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Silicon Graphics, Inc. and is headquartered in Mountain View, Calif.
MIPS and R4000 are registered trademarks and R4300i is a trademark of MIPS Technologies, Inc. VRSeries is a trademark of NEC Electronics Inc. VR4300, VR4000, VR4100, VR4200, VR4400 and VR10000 are trademarks of NEC Corporation.