Forums

Switch from ADSP-218X to Blackfin?

Started by kansas_ray February 17, 2004
We have been using the 218X parts (quite satisfactorily) but are considering
tooling up for the Blackfin. This is a big step for us because it involves
shelling out $4300 for an emulator and VisualDSP++ software.

Hardware-wise the 218X family still services our needs and price-wise still
competes with the Blackfin parts. Of course the distributors and reps say
now is the time to move.

Any thoughts or opinions?

Regards,
Ray




"kansas_ray" <kansas_ray@hotmail.com> wrote in
news:pJwYb.618$AT4.352@newssvr22.news.prodigy.com: 

> We have been using the 218X parts (quite satisfactorily) but are > considering tooling up for the Blackfin. This is a big step for us > because it involves shelling out $4300 for an emulator and VisualDSP++ > software. > > Hardware-wise the 218X family still services our needs and price-wise > still competes with the Blackfin parts. Of course the distributors and > reps say now is the time to move. > > Any thoughts or opinions? > > Regards, > Ray
Its really a bigger step than $4300. The Blackfin is a significant departure from the 218x. This means that there is also learning time to consider. I would start by analyzing what you are trying to accomplish in both the short and the long run. What kind of applications are you trying to solve? Here are some questions: 1. Do you need significantly more speed? 2. Do you need less power consumption? 3. Do you need greater precision? Certainly the Blackfin will replace the 218x and 219x for many 16 bit embedded applications. We have a long history with 218x and 219x DSPs, but most of our work is moving to the new ADSP-21262 Sharc. The 32 bit precision and floating point features are generally more significant to us than the features of the Blackfin. I think it is easier to move from 218x to Sharc than 218x to Blackfin. We plan to use the Blackfin primarily for applications where low power consumption is very important. The Blackfin is not going away and it will certainly replace the 218x and 219x families. You can start using it now or in a year. If you need an easier bridge to greater performance and time to market is a factor, you might consider a ADSP-219x DSP. It is very easy to move a 218x project to a 219x target, especially if you already are using VDSP since you already have most of the tools and you know the language. -- Al Clark Danville Signal Processing, Inc. -------------------------------------------------------------------- Purveyors of Fine DSP Hardware and other Cool Stuff Available at http://www.danvillesignal.com

kansas_ray wrote:
> We have been using the 218X parts (quite satisfactorily) but are considering > tooling up for the Blackfin. This is a big step for us because it involves > shelling out $4300 for an emulator and VisualDSP++ software. > > Hardware-wise the 218X family still services our needs and price-wise still > competes with the Blackfin parts. Of course the distributors and reps say > now is the time to move. > > Any thoughts or opinions?
You could just buy the Blackfin EZ-Kit. They are very inexpensive and come with development software (it only works with the kit). You could then see how easy or difficult the change will be. Leon -- Leon Heller, G1HSM Email: aqzf13@dsl.pipex.com My low-cost Philips LPC210x ARM development system: http://www.geocities.com/leon_heller/lpc2104.html
"Leon Heller" <aqzf13@dsl.pipex.com> wrote in message
news:40333615$0$17076$cc9e4d1f@news.dial.pipex.com...
> > > kansas_ray wrote: > > We have been using the 218X parts (quite satisfactorily) but are
considering
> > tooling up for the Blackfin. This is a big step for us because it
involves
> > shelling out $4300 for an emulator and VisualDSP++ software. > > > > Hardware-wise the 218X family still services our needs and price-wise
still
> > competes with the Blackfin parts. Of course the distributors and reps
say
> > now is the time to move. > > > > Any thoughts or opinions? > > > You could just buy the Blackfin EZ-Kit. They are very inexpensive and > come with development software (it only works with the kit). You could > then see how easy or difficult the change will be. > > Leon > --
Thanks for your input. We did purchase the EZ-Kit for $99 and like it. My software partner claims the assembly language of the Blackfin is much more complicated than the 218X but with its superior speed, we may never have to code that way again. Regards, Ray
"Al Clark" <dsp@danvillesignal.com> wrote in message
news:Xns9492BBA356454aclarkdanvillesignal@66.133.130.30...
> > Its really a bigger step than $4300. The Blackfin is a significant > departure from the 218x. This means that there is also learning time to > consider. > > I would start by analyzing what you are trying to accomplish in both the > short and the long run. What kind of applications are you trying to > solve? > > Here are some questions: > > 1. Do you need significantly more speed? > 2. Do you need less power consumption? > 3. Do you need greater precision? > > Certainly the Blackfin will replace the 218x and 219x for many 16 bit > embedded applications. We have a long history with 218x and 219x DSPs, > but most of our work is moving to the new ADSP-21262 Sharc. The 32 bit > precision and floating point features are generally more significant to > us than the features of the Blackfin. I think it is easier to move from > 218x to Sharc than 218x to Blackfin. We plan to use the Blackfin > primarily for applications where low power consumption is very important. > > The Blackfin is not going away and it will certainly replace the 218x and > 219x families. You can start using it now or in a year. If you need an > easier bridge to greater performance and time to market is a factor, you > might consider a ADSP-219x DSP. It is very easy to move a 218x project to > a 219x target, especially if you already are using VDSP since you already > have most of the tools and you know the language. > -- > Al Clark > Danville Signal Processing, Inc.
Thanks, Al, for your insightful reply. The answer to all three questions is no, but the faster speed would make life easier on some of our current projects and might be a necessity in the near future. We have looked at the 219X and 2199X (motor control variants) but the rep and disti both preach Blackfin. We have not even considered the Sharc. What are its claims to fame? Isn't it in a different ballpark cost-wise? The variants of the Blackfin and 218X that we've looked at or used are around $10 (qty 1). I don't think there is a definitive right or wrong answer here. I'm just looking for experienced opinions so I can sound smarter when making my case. Regards, Ray

kansas_ray wrote:

> "Leon Heller" <aqzf13@dsl.pipex.com> wrote in message > news:40333615$0$17076$cc9e4d1f@news.dial.pipex.com... > >> >>kansas_ray wrote: >> >>>We have been using the 218X parts (quite satisfactorily) but are > > considering > >>>tooling up for the Blackfin. This is a big step for us because it > > involves > >>>shelling out $4300 for an emulator and VisualDSP++ software. >>> >>>Hardware-wise the 218X family still services our needs and price-wise > > still > >>>competes with the Blackfin parts. Of course the distributors and reps > > say > >>>now is the time to move. >>> >>>Any thoughts or opinions? >> >> >>You could just buy the Blackfin EZ-Kit. They are very inexpensive and >>come with development software (it only works with the kit). You could >>then see how easy or difficult the change will be. >> >>Leon >>-- > > > Thanks for your input. We did purchase the EZ-Kit for $99 and like it. My > software partner claims the assembly language of the Blackfin is much more > complicated than the 218X but with its superior speed, we may never have to > code that way again.
Where I used to work I developed a large application with some floating-point routines using the 2187. They subsequently ported it to the 2191. They now need even more performance and are thinking of using a TI floating point DSP. I think they could use the Blackfin and have plenty of performance in hand, lower cost and lower power consumption. The core algorithm could be parallelised using the two ALUs. Leon -- Leon Heller, G1HSM Email: aqzf13@dsl.pipex.com My low-cost Philips LPC210x ARM development system: http://www.geocities.com/leon_heller/lpc2104.html
"Leon Heller" <aqzf13@dsl.pipex.com> wrote in message
news:4033918c$0$6842$cc9e4d1f@news.dial.pipex.com...
> > > Where I used to work I developed a large application with some > floating-point routines using the 2187. They subsequently ported it to > the 2191. They now need even more performance and are thinking of using > a TI floating point DSP. I think they could use the Blackfin and have > plenty of performance in hand, lower cost and lower power consumption. > The core algorithm could be parallelised using the two ALUs. > > Leon
This looks like an easy choice. They will have to buy the new tools, though. Sort of the same boat I'm in. We looked at TI and the tools looked to be the same price. Since we were already in bed with AD...etc...etc... Regards, Ray
"kansas_ray" <kansas_ray@hotmail.com> wrote in
news:2BLYb.745$kX.397@newssvr22.news.prodigy.com: 

> > "Al Clark" <dsp@danvillesignal.com> wrote in message > news:Xns9492BBA356454aclarkdanvillesignal@66.133.130.30... >> >> Its really a bigger step than $4300. The Blackfin is a significant >> departure from the 218x. This means that there is also learning time >> to consider. >> >> I would start by analyzing what you are trying to accomplish in both >> the short and the long run. What kind of applications are you trying >> to solve? >> >> Here are some questions: >> >> 1. Do you need significantly more speed? >> 2. Do you need less power consumption? >> 3. Do you need greater precision? >> >> Certainly the Blackfin will replace the 218x and 219x for many 16 bit >> embedded applications. We have a long history with 218x and 219x >> DSPs, but most of our work is moving to the new ADSP-21262 Sharc. The >> 32 bit precision and floating point features are generally more >> significant to us than the features of the Blackfin. I think it is >> easier to move from 218x to Sharc than 218x to Blackfin. We plan to >> use the Blackfin primarily for applications where low power >> consumption is very important. >> >> The Blackfin is not going away and it will certainly replace the 218x >> and 219x families. You can start using it now or in a year. If you >> need an easier bridge to greater performance and time to market is a >> factor, you might consider a ADSP-219x DSP. It is very easy to move a >> 218x project to a 219x target, especially if you already are using >> VDSP since you already have most of the tools and you know the >> language. -- >> Al Clark >> Danville Signal Processing, Inc. > > Thanks, Al, for your insightful reply. > > The answer to all three questions is no, but the faster speed would > make life easier on some of our current projects and might be a > necessity in the near future. We have looked at the 219X and 2199X > (motor control variants) but the rep and disti both preach Blackfin.
The 219x is really a next generation 218x. There is a serious DMA bug in the 0.x silicon. This was corrected in the 219x, but I don't think the 2199x has been fixed. We held up our dspstak 2191sx board for almost a year until we could use Rev 1.x silicon. ADI is certainly preaching Blackfin and it is going to completely replace the 218x and 219x. If you are clearly in the 16 bit precision space, then the Blackfin is probably the right choice.
> > We have not even considered the Sharc. What are its claims to fame? > Isn't it in a different ballpark cost-wise? The variants of the > Blackfin and 218X that we've looked at or used are around $10 (qty 1).
Low cost Sharcs are in the $20 - $30 dollar area in small quantities. The Blackfin is much cheaper. The advantages of the Sharc are precision and floating point capability. If you are building products in small quantities, then the chip price is probably not as important as development time. I think that you can learn the Sharc faster and that code is easier to write on the Sharc. This is particularly true if you have functions that are easier to write in floating point format (FFTs & RMS detectors are examples). IIR filters are also easier to implement due to the increased precision of the coefficients. BTW, the Sharc is also a 32 bit fixed point DSP as well, so you are not giving up any advantages to fixed point DSPs.
> I don't think there is a definitive right or wrong answer here.
You're right. We currently support 218x, 219x, Sharc and will almost certainly be using Blackfin this year as well. -- Al Clark Danville Signal Processing, Inc. -------------------------------------------------------------------- Purveyors of Fine DSP Hardware and other Cool Stuff Available at http://www.danvillesignal.com
"Al Clark" <dsp@danvillesignal.com> wrote in message
news:Xns94938572CDE34aclarkdanvillesignal@66.133.130.30...
> "kansas_ray" <kansas_ray@hotmail.com> wrote in > news:2BLYb.745$kX.397@newssvr22.news.prodigy.com: > > > > > Thanks, Al, for your insightful reply. > > > > The answer to all three questions is no, but the faster speed would > > make life easier on some of our current projects and might be a > > necessity in the near future. We have looked at the 219X and 2199X > > (motor control variants) but the rep and disti both preach Blackfin. > > The 219x is really a next generation 218x. There is a serious DMA bug in > the 0.x silicon. This was corrected in the 219x, but I don't think the > 2199x has been fixed. We held up our dspstak 2191sx board for almost a > year until we could use Rev 1.x silicon. > > ADI is certainly preaching Blackfin and it is going to completely replace > the 218x and 219x. If you are clearly in the 16 bit precision space, then > the Blackfin is probably the right choice. > > > > > We have not even considered the Sharc. What are its claims to fame? > > Isn't it in a different ballpark cost-wise? The variants of the > > Blackfin and 218X that we've looked at or used are around $10 (qty 1). > > Low cost Sharcs are in the $20 - $30 dollar area in small quantities. The > Blackfin is much cheaper. > > The advantages of the Sharc are precision and floating point capability. > If you are building products in small quantities, then the chip price is > probably not as important as development time. I think that you can learn > the Sharc faster and that code is easier to write on the Sharc. This is > particularly true if you have functions that are easier to write in > floating point format (FFTs & RMS detectors are examples). IIR filters > are also easier to implement due to the increased precision of the > coefficients. BTW, the Sharc is also a 32 bit fixed point DSP as well, so > you are not giving up any advantages to fixed point DSPs.
Also, keep in mind that in general the Blackfins run at a significantly higher clock rate than the SHARCs. If you don't need the 32-bit precision or floating point of the SHARC, you end up paying the price both in increased cost and slower clock speed. On the other hand, if you have to do a lot of double-precision work with a 16-bit part, the 32-bit part will almost assuredly end up being faster despite the slower clock rate.
"kansas_ray" <kansas_ray@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:%pLYb.743$g21.155@newssvr22.news.prodigy.com...
> >snip< > Thanks for your input. We did purchase the EZ-Kit for $99 and like
it. My
> software partner claims the assembly language of the Blackfin is
much more
> complicated than the 218X but with its superior speed, we may never
have to
> code that way again. > > Regards, > Ray > >
ADI say that the speed difference between assembler and a HLL on the Blackfin is around 3:1. Regards Ian