Freescale reboots QorIQ range with 12-core AMP

Embedded chip specialist Freescale has announced the first entry in a new range of QorIQ AMP processors, the T4240, which offers some impressive specifications.

Based around the Power architecture, rather than the more common ARM architecture, the QorIQ AMP T4240 is a beast of a chip: featuring 12 physical processing cores running at speeds of up to 2GHz, the device includes a virtualised threading implementation much like Intel's HyperThreading to run up to 24 threads simultaneously.

Each processing core is a full general-purpose 64-bit Power-based e6500 built on a 28nm process, which can be clocked at up to 2.5GHz and that has been enhanced with an updated AltiVec vector processing unit. Freescale has coupled this powerful technology with some hardware acceleration engines for encryption and decryption, pattern matching, compression and decompression - with up to 20Gb/s of performance, the company claims - along with regex acceleration and 128-bit SIMD data prefetching.

The new AMP series also packs some of the technologies developed for its QorIQ predecessors, including the clever CoreNet interconnect fabric, a cache-coherent memory hierarchy, hardware virtualisation extensions, and a smart on-chip debugging system for keeping code clean.

Sadly, Freescale's chip won't be making its way into a smartphone near you any time soon. Instead, the AMP series is designed to provide a high-performance core for networking equipment which can scale up to meet the demands of modern data communication systems.

"Exploding IP traffic rates and the proliferation of smarter, bandwidth-hungry consumer devices are dramatically increasing demands on next-generation networks," Freescale's Lisu Su pointed out. "Our new QorIQ AMP series delivers the next wave of innovation for networking OEMs through leveraging Freescale's R&D strength, wealth of IP, and signature intelligent integration."

The flagship T4240 will be joined at a later date by a six-core control plane processor running at 2.5GHz and a lower-end eight-core data plane processor running at 1.6GHz and drawing less than 10W of power.

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