The introduction of multimedia functionality demands a similar leap in processing capabilities and, according to Mark Singer, the company's vice president corporate marketing, NeoMagic's MiMagic 6 application processor represents just that.
Singer suggested that the type of applications that are part of the next generation vision --- picture and video messaging, gaming, video conferencing and continuous speech recognition --- "require serious amounts of processing power on a low power budget."
He further explained, "Functions such as taking high quality MPEG4 pictures with more advanced light handling capabilities require in the region of 650 mips and that is far beyond the capabilities of traditional processors. For continuous speech recognition, 1000 mips are needed. MiMagic 6 has the potential to deliver 1200 mips"
The jump in functionality comes via MiMagic 6's multimedia engine, based on a proprietary technology called Associative Processing Array (APA). This enables it to execute more than one billion operations per second at a processor clock rate of only 100MHz. This equates to an order of magnitude more processing than competitive solutions at the same clock rate, meaning that more advanced multimedia functions can be run and existing functions can be supported with less power.
The APA core employs programmable parallel programming which is particular well suited to multimedia tasks as they tend to include high amounts of data with a high level of concurrency. Singer explained, "For example, with image processing tasks information on brightness etc can be taken from other dots. Most processors handle images one dot at a time, MiMagic 6 handles 100 dots in the processor at the same time, thereby delivering greater efficiency...It has the ability to run at half speed and still save power and increase the processing capability."
Singer claimed that, "The multimedia functions can advance more quickly if the multimedia processor develops separately from the baseband." However, that does not mean that NeoMagic underestimates the need for integrating the processor into a more complete solution. "We have assumed that integration is a big factor and have worked with partners to do this." These include the likes of Analog Devices and Infineon, while NeoMagic's own middleware was used to integrate MiMagic5 with Microsoft and Symbian OSs, and the same will happen for MiMagic6.
As for the cost, Singer was adamant stating, "APA technology is more efficient in its use of the silicon area, therefore there is no need for MiMagic6 to be any more expensive than applications processors from competitors. It will absolutely not be more expensive."