Barry Upshaw

AMCC 405EX versus CF V4e

Discussion created by Barry Upshaw on Jan 25, 2008
Latest reply on Jan 28, 2008 by Maclain Lobdell
Some feedback for any Freescale tech. marketing guys - to stimulate some thought/discussion:
Electronic Products just announced the AMCC 405EX processor (667MHz PPC405 core, with GigaE, USB2.0, DDR2, PCIe channel(s), Security engine) as one of their 2007 products of the year.
I looked seriously at using this part for a new design we're working on (it's still in the sampling stage, much like the new v4e parts).  I chose the MCF54455 instead, mainly due to better support (at least my perception) on the debugging tools and user group fronts.  HOWEVER, note that the AMCC part is actually priced VERY competatively relative the the MCF5445x family.  OK, the MCF54450 is much cheaper (sub $10), and AMCC's pricing varies greatly with speed and features.  Still AMCC is at 90nm with these parts NOW (versus 130nm for the "new" CF family).
I try to remain processor "agnostic" (Linux sure helps with that) - going with the easiest/cheapest solution at the moment.  In my view the newest v4e core family parts are about 20-30% over-priced, given the rest of the market (particularly AMCC).  Clearly the 405 core parts are going to outperform a CF, as things stand now.  CF has the edge (thus my choice) relative to its embedded peripherals for my application (but if you need GigaE or PCIe...).
Freescale needs to drop their prices AND get working on the v5 core (I'd like to see 90nm, 400-600MHz, and FIX the stupid Crossbar unit - memory to peripheral transfers are TOO SLOW) to stay competative in this market.  Take a look at what TI is doing with DaVinci (integrated 280MHz ARM9 + 'C64x DSP) for $20-$30, Marvell with Intels SA architecture (>800MHz for <$20), Samsung (ARM9 again, lots of nice peripherals), etc., etc.  Freescale needs to figure out if the CF line is going to be a "low-cost, low-performance microcontroller" line, or a "high-performance" embedded microprocessor line.  Right now, they seem to be trying to straddle BOTH.
So...  Freescale ASIC designers:  Get moving and give us a roadmap to higher performance SOON that will better serve embedded Linux users.  Either that, or reduce the price (by 50%) on your PPC lineup so we can switch to that!