Andes Custom Extension™ (ACE) Enables Andes Processors to Provide Acceleration for Specific Applications


【Taiwan HsinChu】 Andes Technology, the first dedicated vendor of innovative 32-bit CPU IPs and associated SoC platforms in Asia, announces its brand new SoC development solution, the Andes Custom Extension™ (ACE) framework, and the first supporting AndesCore™ processor, the EN801. With the easy-to-use ACE language, customers can create instructions specific to their applications and optimize the performance and power consumption in a much shorter timeframe. The programmability allows more performance efficiency on a chip and provides protection for proprietary software IPs through custom instructions. The ACE framework can be used from DSP acceleration and high-volume data processing to emerging applications whose features and specifications are still evolving such as IoT, wearable devices, smart sensor devices, medical devices, storages, packet processing, intelligent household appliances, touch panels, wireless charging, fingerprint identification, SSD and encryption security chips.

Supported by the ACE framework, the EN801 is the first extensible AndesCore™. Designers can create application-specific instructions to meet the most stringent product requirements with high performance efficiency. The resulting programmable acceleration allows a single chip to offer more functionalities than those relying on hardwired engines. Here are a couple examples,

  • A MADD operation with two 16×16 bit multiplication added to 32 bits has 8 times speedup.
  • A FIR filter with 64 bits of precision achieves 17 times speedup.
  • A 32-bit CRC32 operation delivers over 90 times speedup. 

Under the ACE framework are the ACE language and COPILOT tool (Custom-OPtimized Instruction deveLOpment Tools™) to simplify the instruction design process. Based on ACE descriptions, COPILOT generates the corresponding extended RTL, verification environment and relevant extension modules to be used with Andes standard development tools, simulator and AndesCore RTL. For SoC developers who need programmability and efficiency, ACE directly addresses their needs. As ACE gives the extensibility for developers to add application-specific instructions, it also offers post-silicon programmability to modify or extend functionalities. This facilitates the re-engineering of products without the trouble of starting a new SoC design process for different product positioning – which is a compelling advantage over SoCs with excessive hardwired functions. 

Dr. Charlie Su, Chief Technical Officer and Senior VP of R&D at Andes, states, “The launch of the ACE framework responds to our customers’ increasing demands for extensible processors after they encounter all sorts of problems during SoC development. They are not satisfied with traditional extensible processors using complicated tools restricted to high-end applications and the early-stage baseline CPU cores in these processors. Some existing extensible processors don’t even come with any baseline CPU core, forcing customers to develop one themselves. Foreseeing the trend of new generation extensible processors with the rise of intelligent devices, Andes introduces the EN801 which is supported by the ACE framework and inherits high efficiency, low power consumption and compact code size from the highly-optimized AndesCore N801. The extensible processor EN801 allows SoC developers to incorporate functionalities and increase flexibility for SoC optimization. Through the ACE language and COPILOT, SoC developers can define their own instructions with ease and simplify the design process of extending RTL and simulator, thereby facilitating the instruction creation while avoiding tedious and error-prone design work. In an era of ever-changing applications and product requirements, Andes is ready to take on more performance and power consumption challenges with the ACE framework.”