ARM-based 3G modem design
saves on silicon area
Wireless applications processors that integrate the TTPCom CBEmacro 3G modem occupy less silicon area than current market-leading solutions
TTPCom and ARM have revealed the results of comparative analyses which reveal that wireless applications processors that integrate the TTPCom CBEmacro 3G modem occupy less silicon area than current market-leading solutions, and benefit from the significantly greater efficiency and performance of the ARM1156T2-S processor subsystem to produce industry-leading power, performance and area (PPA).
As a result, the CBEmacro modem architecture will reduce silicon cost and improve battery life of dual mode WCDMA/Edge and tri-mode HSDPA/Edge baseband modems thereby giving silicon partners a competitive advantage.
As OEMs and ODMs seek to deliver cost-effective, high-end functionality for mid-tier and entry level dual and trimode mode handsets in 2007, the semiconductor industry is looking for ways to deliver additional modem functionality at a lower price.
The CBEmacro modem design combines TTPCom's intelligent architecture with the ARM1156T2-S processor and amba fabric technology to enable licensees to deliver the industry's most compact and performance optimised dual-mode Edge/WCDMA or tri-mode Edge/HSDPA (Cat 6, 8 and 10) baseband silicon.
System integration of a modem with a multimedia applications processor is eased by the use of the latest Amba 3 AXI high-performance system components and the ability to share major subsystems such as embedded trace functionality and further reduce overall silicon area.
This will enable semiconductor companies to offer a modem with market-leading PPA and increase their addressable market by an order of magnitude.
'Footprint, power, and cost are key to gaining handset market share, where the baseband and applications processor duties have become paramount in today's handset designs', stated Peter DiPaolo, Communications Technology Manager at Semiconductor Insights (SI).
'SI has performed more than 40 technical analyses on leading-Edge baseband and applications processor chips within the past year, including coverage of all of the major vendors'.
'Bringing together our analytical expertise and TTPCom's technical excellence, TTPCom was able to demonstrate that the CBEmacro 3G is a world class Edge/ WCDMA modem design in both technical specification and die area'.
'When designing the CBEmacro 3G platform, we set out not only to provide our customers with competitive advantage through dual mode WEdge and HSDPA functionality, but to enable them to compete directly with the world's leading players on die size, performance and power consumption', said Julian Hildersley, Managing Director of TTPCom's Silicon Business Unit.
'Bill of material (BoM) costs are crucial in today's competitive handset market where as little as 50 cents can make or break a deal'.
'Consequently every millimetre of die area saved improves the economics of the deal'.
A comparative analysis, in which the CBEmacro modem (Edge/WCDMA) replaced the modem functionality in a state-of-the-art wireless applications processor demonstrated TTPCom's design leadership.
In a like for like comparison on a 90nm process, the CBEmacro 3G design provides for both higher technical specification and smaller die size than the current market leader.
This size advantage translates into cost benefits and higher yields while enabling TTPCom's customers to deliver an integrated baseband/applications processor loaded with key mass market peripherals.
'TTPCom's CBEmacro modem combines their expertise in cellular modem with the latest ARM Thumb-2 technology-enabled processor, Amba 3 AXI interconnect, PrimeCell memory controllers and peripherals, CoreSight debug system and RealView tools which has resulted in an innovative solution for semiconductor manufacturers', said Rob Coombs, Global Director of Mobile Solutions, ARM.
'Semiconductor Partners with advanced applications processors can now easily integrate a licensable cellular modem with market-leading PPA for the global cellular market'.
'The CBEmacro modem's extensive use of the latest ARM system components has contributed to the cost effectiveness of this system solution'.
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