Digital Equipment Corp has announced the latest version of its StrongARM chip for mobile computing and communications products, and signed up 20 design wins, including one from new customer Northern Telecom Ltd. The 133MHz and 200MHz StrongARM SA 1100, like its predecessor the SA 110, is built on the core architecture from Cambridge, UK-based Advanced RISC Machines Ltd, and is compliant with version 4 of the ARM architecture. Unlike the SA 110, and other ARM chips on the market, the SA 1100 includes a set of integrated peripherals, including a memory controller that supports SRAM, DRAM, Flash and ROM memory as well as single or dual PCMCIA cards, a display controller, 28 general purpose I/O and six serial interfaces, and timer and system functions. The chip also comes with large caches, which makes it suitable for running Java applications, says DEC, and an integrated high-speed multiplier with digital signal processor functions which could be used to support speech and handwriting recognition applications. The chip is also the first embedded processor to emulate a v.34+ modem in software, claims DEC. The levels of integration, not yet duplicated by other licensees of the ARM processor except at speeds below 40MHz, are intended to make it cheaper for systems manufacturers to produce completed systems. The power/performance ratio is said to be in the region of 1000 MIPS per watt, with the part typically consuming some 250 milliwatts of power, and supporting power-conserving idle and sleep modes. It runs a range of operating systems including Microsoft Corp’s CE, Newton Inc’s Newton OS, Psion Plc’s Epoc32, Lucent Technology Inc’s Inferno, Sun Microsystems Inc’s JavaOS and a number of others. Northern Telecom intends to use the part for a cellular touch-screen network telephone, delivering services and applications through Java. The other design wins were not revealed. DEC achieved its first silicon a month ago, samples are available now, and DEC expects volume deliveries to begin by the first quarter of next year. Prices start at $29 for the 133MHz version and $39 for the 200MHz version, in quantities of 10,000. DEC will continue to produce and enhance the SA 110.
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