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Designing SOCs with Configured Cores by Steve Leibson

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Chapter 4. Basic Processor Configurability

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.

—Andy Warhol

Processor configuration is a new concept to most SOC designers. For decades, the industry has worked with fixed-ISA (instruction-set architecture) processors and the idea that processors can be tailored to specific tasks is rather novel. Tensilica has developed a processor-configuration design flow that allows SOC developers to enhance the 32-bit Xtensa processor’s ISA (instructions, register files, and registers) so that the processor executes a specific algorithm or set of algorithms faster. This approach results in a processor that executes the target task in fewer cycles. Reducing the required number ...

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