MIPS speeds broadband set-top boxes

The chip designer states its aim to power next-generation consumer electronics

MIPS Technologies has given high-tech set-top boxes a boost with a new 64bit microprocessor design called MIPS64 5Kf, announced at the Embedded Processor Forum in San Jose, California this week. The 5Kf claims to be the industry's only synthesisable 64bit core with an integrated floating point unit (FPU), which speeds processing throughput.

The FPU, along with other optimisations, makes the core especially suited to video devices such as set-top boxes. In fact the design has already been licensed by Texas Instruments and Atmel, which plans to use it in set-top boxes with broadband Internet capabilities.

"A 64bit processor is a necessity when it comes to handling the demands of next-generation set-top boxes, which combine often disparate features such as high processing power and low power consumption, and right now, only MIPS Technologies is meeting that demand," said Tassos Markas, director of multimedia at Atmel, in a statement.

A recent study from Gartner Dataquest showed that the chip design business is expanding rapidly, although MIPS' market share dropped to 13.3 percent in 2000, down from 17.2 percent in 1999.

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