February 8th, 2009 ~ by admin

Processor of the day: Stretch S6100 and S6106

Last week we talked about Software Configurable Processors, and how they bridge the gap between general purpose CPU’s and FPGA’s. Yesterday a pair of them came in the mail.

Stretch S6000 & S6106

Stretch S6000 & S6106

The S6100 is Stretch’s flagship product at this point (4 data ports full AIM interface and PCIe running at 345MHz).  The S6106 is the low power device (2 data ports no AIM and no PCIe, clocked at 167MHz).  This particular S6106 is an Engineering Sample.  They are both based on the Xtensa VLIW core. (pic after the break)

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CPU of the Day

February 3rd, 2009 ~ by admin

Software Configurable Processors – The Stretch S6000 Line

When designing a system, the best performance is often reached by using an ASIC, you can customize it to your design and tweak it for maximum performance.  This, however, adds costly development time, and little flexiblility.  You could use a general purpose processor; this saves dev time, and cost, but at the expense of performance.  What if you could have both? Off the shelf processor technology, AND customizable speed.

You can. This is what Software Configurable Processors are designed for. In simple terms they are a standard CPU core, wrapped in a FPGA.  This way istructions for the processort can be configured for maximun speed.  If you have a function in your code that is repetitive, it can be reduced to a single instruction for the processor.


One of the leaders in Software Configurable Processors is called Stretch. Their S6000 line of processors use a Tensilica Xtensa core (a VLIW RISC design), wrapped in a custom FPGA. In this way the RISC core can be programmaed on the fly, providing much faster performance then a normal processor, or DSP.