The first Clockless Processor available for Real-Time Chip designs

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February 9, 2006 ARM and Handshake Solutions, have announced the new ARM996HS processor using Handshake Solutions' unique clockless IC design technology. The compact, clockless ARM996HS processor is an ideal solution for automotive, medical and deeply embedded control applications because of its extremely low power consumption and low Electro Magnetic Interference (EMI). The ARM996HS processor is the industry's first licensable clockless processor and directly addresses the needs of design engineers for technology optimized for robust and real-time chip designs.

The ARM996HS processor utilizes Handshake Solutions' technology, a production-proven methodology for implementing self-timed circuitry which has been used in hundreds of millions of chips for smart cards, advanced pagers, in-vehicle network transceivers, and cordless handsets. By leveraging this low EME technology, the ARM996HS processor can address the market need for very low EMI to reduce packaging and shielding costs. Additionally, the processor can be used in applications that require low current consumption and an extended battery life while maintaining real-time application responsiveness and a small footprint.

"ARM has established itself as the leading vendor of low-power embedded processor cores," said Tom Halfhill, senior analyst for In-Stat's Microprocessor Report. "Anything that further slices the power consumption of ARM processors by a significant amount will strengthen the company's leadership position and fend off competition. In addition, significantly reducing EMI will make ARM processors even more compelling for mobile communications devices and CAN (Control Area Network) devices in automobiles, aircraft, and industrial equipment."

By removing the clock and associated architecture of standard ICs, clockless designs offer significant reductions in power consumption and EMI enabling designers to squeeze more functionality into limited power budgets. Handshake Solutions offers an extremely disciplined design methodology that delivers the unique benefits of clockless design within a commercially available design environment. The methodology is supported by easy-to-use and thoroughly field-tested tools, design services, and standard IP blocks from Handshake Solutions

"Handshake Solutions has collaborated with ARM to provide the design community with a new type of low-power processor with very low EMI," said Wouter Van Roost, chief executive officer, Handshake Solutions. "Applying Handshake Technology to the industry-leading ARM architecture will extend the range of end products that can benefit from running on an ARM processor."

"ARM is committed to providing low-power processor solutions and has extended this dedication by also addressing lower EMI through our partnership with Handshake Solutions," said John Cornish, VP of Marketing, Processor Division, ARM. "Now we can provide our Partners with the first commercially-available clockless processor that is very reliable over a wide range of conditions, maintaining real-time responsiveness while also extending battery life for applications in automotive, medical and deeply embedded consumer devices."

"As long-time users of Handshake Technology, we recognize its potential to become a key ingredient for automotive microcontrollers, addressing important automotive requirements such as robustness, low power and low EMI," said Harry Inia, general manager, Business Line Automotive, and vice president, Philips Semiconductors.

The new ARM996HS processor is optimized for use in both synchronous (clocked) and asynchronous (clockless) system-on-chip designs, enabling easy integration by ARM semiconductor Partners. Engineers can easily design in the new processor using standard cell libraries such as the ARM Metro family for low power, and their existing EDA tools, for lower costs and shorter design cycles. The key benefits of the processor include low EMI, reducing the probability of interfering with sensitive circuitry; low current peaks, enabling easier integration with analog components; and low power consumption, reducing system power requirements. Because clockless processors consume zero dynamic power when there is no activity, they can significantly extend battery life.

ARM has long recognized the potential of clockless IC design and has supported the Amulet project led by Professor Steve Furber at Manchester University. Availability, Physical IP and Software Tools Support

The ARM996HS processor is immediately available for licensing from ARM. The ARM Metro standard cell library is available for low-power implementations along with the ARM Advantage library for high-performance implementations. The ARM996HS processor will be supported by the ARM RealView DEVELOP family of tools, a complete solution including the powerful RealView Development Suite, and high-performance RealView ICE and RealView Trace capture units. Licensees can also design their own additional, self-timed logic by licensing the Handshake Technology tools directly from Handshake Solutions.

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