Puts Supercomputing in the Palm of your Hand ....
DIGITAL TARGETS SUPERCHARGED StrongARM CHIP
....Enables Better Handwriting Recognition and True Speech
AT CONSUMER ELECTRONICS MARKET
Recognition for PDAs, Sizzling 3D Games, Interactive Home
Shopping, Fast Web Terminals....
MAYNARD, Mass., February 5, 1996 -- Digital Equipment
Corporation today introduced the much anticipated SA-110
StrongARM microprocessor, the first processor to combine the
performance of a supercomputer with power dissipation low
enough to run on AA batteries, and pricing which is geared
toward mass-market, consumer electronics products.
"The StrongARM microprocessor family is one of the
cornerstones of our merchant vendor strategy," said Ed
Caldwell, vice president, Digital Semiconductor, a business
of Digital Equipment Corporation. "We see tremendous
opportunity to deploy this technology across many mass-
market application areas." According to industry analysts,
the potential microprocessor volume for the StrongARM target
markets -- personal digital assistants (PDAs), electronic
organizers, set-top boxes, and video games -- will exceed 29
billion units by 1999.
The SA-110 microprocessor is the first member of the
StrongARM family resulting from the architecture license
agreement between Digital and Advanced RISC Machines Ltd.
(ARM), developer of the ARM 32-bit RISC architecture.
"Combining ARM's low-power architecture with Digital's high-
performance processor design expertise and CMOS process
leadership has created a new paradigm for embedded consumer
electronics products -- supercomputer class performance on
AA batteries," said Robin Saxby, president and CEO,
Advanced RISC Machines Ltd.
Industry watchers see a bright future for the StrongARM
technology. According to Jim Turley, senior analyst,
Microprocessor Report, "The SA-110 StrongARM processor is a
technical tour de force and a milestone for both Digital
Semiconductor and the ARM architecture. It offers a nearly
unbeatable combination of performance, price and power
Tim Bajarin, president, Creative Strategies
International commented, "The design of the SA-110 StrongARM
chip has clearly involved PDA developers, smart phone
manufacturers, set-top box suppliers, and even companies
exploring the internet computer. This type of foresight
heralds a new wave of mobile products which meet consumers'
The huge market potential for an instant access, low-
cost product to 'surf the net' has grabbed the attention of
both the computer and consumer electronics industries. The
SA-110 StrongARM chip is well-positioned to make this
concept a reality.
According to Andy Laursen, vice president of Network
Computing at Oracle Corporation, "The explosive consumer
demand for inexpensive, high-performance internet access
will fuel the need for a low-cost web terminal. StrongARM
represents the kind of technology that will put this product
within reach of the mass consumer market."
PDAs AND ORGANIZERS
The SA-110 StrongARM processor will greatly enhance the
functionality of next generation PDAs and electronic
organizers. "Apple's Newton team and the StrongARM design
team have worked closely together during the past eighteen
months," said Michael Culbert, system architect, Apple
Computer, Inc. "We are very excited about this new
technology and its potential to carry the next generation of
Newton PDAs to a new level. Our customers and licensees
will be delighted by the new applications and human
interface capabilities this chip can enable."
In addition, application developers targeting mobile
workers are porting key applications to the StrongARM
platform. Papyrus Associates Inc., a leader in handwriting
recognition software has endorsed the StrongARM technology.
"The excellent computational capabilities will enable us to
offer improved handwriting recognition software," said Bill
Kania, president, Papyrus Associates Inc. "Thanks to a
mature compiler environment, our software was easily ported
Dragon Systems, Inc., the industry leader in speech
recognition technology, is also enthusiastic about the
StrongARM technology. "The performance delivered by the
SA-110 will enable Dragon Systems to provide advanced speech
recognition capabilities for handheld portable products,"
said Stephen Breit, manager of special projects, Dragon
SET-TOP BOXES AND VIDEO GAMES
Second generation set-top boxes will drive the movement
to real interactive TV and hyper-realistic 3D video games in
the $200-$400 range. "Interactive set-top boxes are a
demanding product to build -- you need twice the performance
of a desktop PC at one third the cost," said Malcolm Bird,
chief executive, Online Media, Ltd., a leading supplier of
set-top box technology and products. "While the performance
of these StrongARM processors is impressive, what sold us on
this technology is the price points at which the performance
is delivered. This technology will help make interactive TV
INDUSTRY LEADING MIPS/WATT AND MIPS/DOLLAR
The SA-110, available in 100 MHz, 160 MHz, and 200 MHz
internal clock speeds, has set new industry benchmarks in
terms of both power- and cost-efficiency, as well as overall
The 100 MHz part operating at 1.65 volts, delivers 115
Dhrystone 2.1 MIPS while dissipating less than 300 mW of
power. The 160 MHz version delivers 185 Dhrystone 2.1 MIPS
at only 450 mW of power dissipation, giving a
performance/power ratio (MIPS-per-watt) of over 400. This
makes it the most power-efficient processor available today.
The 200 MHz part operates at 2.0 volts and performs 230
Dhrystone 2.1 MIPS while still running on under a watt of
power. This device, priced at under $50, achieves the
industry's best performance/price ratio at almost 5 MIPS/$
(MIPS-per-dollar). Pricing for the 100 MHz part is less
than $29 in 10k unit quantities, while the 160 MHz part is
available for $49 in the same quantities.
Cost reduction is a primary focus for the SA-110
product. All three versions are packaged in a low-cost,
small footprint, plastic package (144-pin plastic TQFP).
The SA-110 can accommodate 3.3 volt input/output levels,
allowing system designers to utilize off-the-shelf 3.3 volt
memories and other commodity components.
The SA-110 is produced on eight-inch wafers on a 0.35
micron CMOS process at Digital's state-of-the-art Fab 6
facility in Hudson, Mass. Samples are available now, with
production scheduled to begin in the spring. Software
development tools (compilers, assemblers, debuggers),
operating systems, and applications are available through
Digital and other third party companies supporting the ARM
- ends -
Note to Editors:
Digital Semiconductor, a Digital Equipment Corporation business
headquartered in Hudson, Massachusetts, designs, manufactures and markets
industry-leading semiconductor products including Alpha microprocessors and
PCI chips for networking, bridging, and graphics/multimedia, as well as
low-power StrongARM microprocessors under license from Advanced RISC
Machines Ltd. Mitsubishi Electric Company is a second source for Alpha
microprocessors. World Wide Web site:
Digital Equipment Corporation is the world's leader in open client/server
solutions from personal computing to integrated worldwide information
systems. Digital's scaleable Alpha platforms, storage, networking,
software and services, together with industry-focused solutions from
business partners, help organizations compete and win in today's global
Advanced RISC Machines Ltd (ARM)
ARM designs, licenses and markets high-performance, low-cost, low-power
consumption 32-bit RISC processors, peripherals and development tools for
embedded control, consumer multi-media, DSP and portable applications. ARM
also provides consulting and training. ARM licenses its technology to
semiconductor partner companies, who focus on manufacturing, applications
and marketing. The versatility of ARM's cores, together with the
unparalleled breadth of the partnership's expertise ensures that ARM-based
solutions are available to meet almost every customer's processor needs.
The ARM semiconductor partners are: Asahi Kasei Microsystems, Atmel/ES2,
Cirrus Logic, Digital Semiconductor, GEC Plessey Semiconductors, LG
Semicon, NEC, Oki, Samsung, Sharp, Symbios Logic, Texas Instruments and
VLSI Technology. Together they make ARM the world volume embedded RISC
To learn more about Advanced RISC Machines and its partners, you can now
access ARM through the World Wide Web at
Digital, Digital Semiconductor, and the Digital logo are trademarks of
Digital Equipment Corporation. ARM is a registered trademark and StrongARM
is a trademark of Advanced RISC Machines Ltd. Apple and Newton are
registered trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc.
"This is truly an impressive feat. With its power-efficient
design, the SA-110 could create a real volume opportunity
and propel Digital Semiconductor into the wireless market."
Andrew Seybold, Editor-in-Chief
Andrew Seybold's Outlook on Communications & Computing
"With the outstanding performance delivered by Digital
Semiconductor's SA-110 StrongARM chip, a device which
browses text and enables people to perform financial
transactions on the Internet is extremely viable."
Kimball Brown, Vice President
Mobile Computing Service
"Digital Semiconductor has clearly done its homework to
apply next generation silicon solutions to high volume and
cost sensitive applications based on their SA-1 core. The
SA-110 chip along with the robust suite of development
software libraries and tools will speed development of new
"The arrival of the first StrongARM microprocessor from
Digital Semiconductor signals a true paradigm shift in the
usability of embedded mobile devices. The SA-110 will be
the first processor to enable developers of smart handheld
devices and organizers to truly deliver the response time
and applications users desire within the power restrictions
of these devices."
The Information Architects
"Digital Semiconductor's SA-110, the first implementation of
the StrongARM architecture, combines the low cost and power
dissipation for which ARM is renowned with high-end embedded
processor performance. It's an attractive candidate for
demanding mobile and interactive digital media
Consultant and Editor of
Inside the New Computer Industry
The above is a Press release from ARM Limited.