NEC unveils new VR processor for embedded apps

NEC Corp. has announced the latest member of its VR5000 series of RISC (reduced instruction set computer) microprocessors for use in consumer electronics and networking equipment.

The VR5500 processor is a 64-bit chip that delivers a performance of 603 MIPS (million instructions per second), a big improvement on the VR5000 and VR5432 processors, the two current members of the chip family, which have performance of 278 MIPS and 316 MIPS, respectively. The VR5500 has an internal clock speed of 300MHz against the 200MHz and 167MHz respective speeds of the current chips.

NEC hopes the performance increase will help it win new customers among manufacturers of digital consumer, network processing and network storage devices -- applications which require large amounts of data to be processed very quickly.

For the future, NEC said the architecture of the VR5500 chip allows scalability up to 800MHz. The next version of the chip is likely to be a 400MHz version with unified L2 cache integrated on the chip and targeted at use in network routers and switches and imaging and storage applications. For these applications, future versions of the processor will also integrate a DRAM controller, PCI-X bridge and 10/100 base dual-mode Ethernet media access controller (MAC).

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