TI E2E Community
Scaling Down Through Multicore
Scaling “down” through multicore is an idea that is garnering attention, primarily because people turn to multicore devices to solve a problem that requires high performance. Being able to create a scaled down, lower cost, lower power and potentially portable version of a larger system is usually an afterthought for complex applications. Yet, noticeable savings in power and system cost can be powerful drivers towards a scaled down system that can enable new applications and extend existing markets. Whether its scaling down a ground based radar to a wall mount system or a rack based test set-up to a more portable implementation, the benefits in accelerated time to market and development cost savings can be remarkable. There are important considerations when trying to scale down using a multicore system which need to be evaluated upfront as part of the component, system and architecture selection. At component level, footprint compatibility and software reuse help to mitigate development cost and time to market concerns. However, the trade-offs of having to correctly size memory, performance, internal infrastructure and external bandwidth can be a deterrent in this endeavor. It helps when there is a pin compatible family of products like our TMS320C6678/4/2/1 devices that does not require one to compromise on available bandwidth, memory or robustness of chip infrastructure.
Board-level implications are also important when scaling down. Having the right topology and stitching together the various components to allow for scaling down (and potentially up) can require careful choices such as those with regards to system interconnect. For example, a peer-to-peer fabric like RapidIO can make it easier to scale an embedded multi-node system.
So the question for the developer community is, whether scaling down with multicore helps create competitive sustainable products, or is it another band-aid solution until the right device comes along, at which point all previous investments get jettisoned?
Hi Sandeep, this is a very interesting question indeed. I put a little thought into it by venturing out of my comfort zone as an apps engineer. I think it essentially boils down to whether or not a broad product line helps the bottomline. On the question of whether scaling our products makes us more competitive, a broad product portfolio could have the potential to preempt competition in a wider array of applications and establish a market share advantage early on. Not sacrificing on key features such as the ones you mentioned for the C6678 family (bandwidth, performance etc) along with software re-usability can help as well in extending our lead in our core markets as well as breaking into new ones with differing power/performance requirements. An intent to broaden market penetration will be accompanied by demos and workshops in key target areas (medical technology might be one).
On the question of sustainability, we need to continue to have a strong roadmap that ensures we stay ahead of competition so that a scaled portfolio does not end up being a band-aid solution.
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